You are here: The Curmsun Disc»»Conclusions


Scania and Jomsborg are mentioned on the Curmsun Disc and ought to be part of the Danish kingdom during the production of the Curmsun Disc if we consider the Curmsun Disc as contemporary with the 10th century.

Norway is not mentioned on the Curmsun Disc and was probably not part of the Danish kingdom when the Curmsun Disc was created.

Harald Bluetooth´s conquest of Scania and loss of Norway

Otto I died in 973. After this, Harald went to war with his son Otto II. In 974, battles took place at the Danish border with Germany. The battles are documented in both Nordic and German sources. Haakon Jarl of Norway came to Harald’s aid and played a crucial role in the battle against the Germans. Sture Bolin: Danmark och Tyskland under Harald
Gormsson. Scania. Historical research journal. 1931. After the battles, Haakon sailed home with his large fleet, and on his way home, he sailed through the Sound, burning both sides of the strait. If Skåne and Zealand were both under Harald Bluetooth’s rule at this time, this aggressive act would have been strange to say the least. This indicates therefore that these areas did not yet belong to Harold at this time.

Harald built the so-called “ring fortresses”; circular fortifications in the form of dykes and palisades, and inside them, strictly symmetrically-constructed barrack areas. Traces of these fortresses can found in large numbers around Denmark.

Map over the so called “ring-fortresses”
Casiopeia, Wikipedia

The biggest is situated by Limfjorden in northern Jutland. The magnitude is such that this has to have been a site for Harald’s war fleet; probably the fleet he had at his disposal when he conquered the whole or parts of Norway.

One of these ring fortresses is located near Slagelse in West Zealand.

Trelleborg near Slagelse, Denmark

Timber found shows that work was carried out on this fortification in 978. It was therefore most likely built during the latter half of the 970s. Frank Birkebæk puts the construction date as late as 980.13 As the fortresses had only been standing for a very short time, one can dare to assume that they were Harald’s garrison forts in his conquered territories. The conquest of Eastern Denmark would not have occurred until after the war in 974, and after the ensuing peace with the Germans. (Sven Rosborn: Vikingarna. Den skånska historien. Malmö 2004. Academia.edu 2004)

In Skåne, two Viking ring fortress have been excavated, one in the town of Trelleborg and the other at Borgeby, north-west of Lund. It is likely that there was also a ring fortress in Helsingborg and one in the town of Lund (Sven Rosborn: Vikingarna. Den skånska historien. Malmö 2004. Academia.edu 2004). In 2009, Professor Klavs Randsborg and the author performed a small excavation on the Lilla Hammar isthmus in south-west Skåne. The beginnings of quarter ring dyke were documented out on the Lilla Hammar isthmus, next to the more than three hundred-metre long underwater stone barrier, which is found here out in the bay of Foteviken. The construction of this ring dyke was apparently brought to a halt; only the construction of the north-eastern quarter between the two probable ports has been started.

The stone barrier in Foteviken was added during two periods. The younger period has been dated from a sunken ship dendrodated to 1023. It is therefore reasonable to assume that the barrier was built in the mid-1000s. However, this construction phase was preceded by a simple wood and stone barrier. Unfortunately, only one dendrochronological analysis has been performed on the wood from this barrier, an analysis which indicates the 980s. One possible scenario is that, out here at the entrance to Foteviken, the construction of a ring fortress and a wooden barrier were commenced, but that this work was stopped. When the work on the stone barrier was later resumed, the idea of a building a ring fortress was abandoned completely. The reason for stopping construction may have had something to do with Harald’s death. Sven Rosborn, Vikingatiden på Lilla Hammars näs, Vellinge kommun. Academia.edu 2010 and Sven Rosborn, Rapport över utgrävning i Lilla Hammars bygata, Stora Hammars socken år 2014. Länsstyrelsen i Skåne. Acamedia.edu 2014.

Taking all this information into consideration, it suggests that Harald ruled Skåne towards the end of his life, which the Curmsun Disc says. Norway, on the other hand, is not mentioned on the Curmsun Disc. Below is a map which shows Harald’s kingdom in red and his vassals and allies in yellow, as set forth in Heimskringla, Knytlinga Saga, and other medieval Scandinavian sources.

Map over Harald´s kingdom according to Heimskringla etc.
Briangotts, Wikipedia

When Harald made himself king over parts of Norway, at least in the Viken area, i.e. Oslo Fjord, he helped Haakon Jarl in his fight for a position of power in Norway. The two formed an alliance. Haakon came to Harald’s help with a strong army in 974. If one is to believe later sources, hostility later developed between them. Towards the end of his life, Harald lost his rulership of Norway. Thus, we have passed Harald Bluetooth´s baptism and second marriage when he conquered Scania and lost Norway but still we have his death to consider.

If one is to believe Adam of Bremen, the only existing source, the king died in Jumne. However, he could not be buried in the city as this was a meeting place for long distance traders with different religious beliefs, but the Christians did not actively practice their religion there. Adam described Jumne as it was during his time, i.e. almost a century after Harald’s death:

“It is certainly the greatest of all the communities that Europe holds, and it is inhabited by Slavs, together with other peoples, Greeks and barbarians. Saxons have also been granted permission to settle there on equal terms, as long as they refrain from talking about the fact that they are Christians while they are there” (Adam of Bremen, second book, chapter 22).

If conditions were similar at the time of Harald’s arrival in Jumne in c. 986, there would not have been a church in the city. However, as the king was a Christian, it was necessary to bury him in a church, such as the wooden church in Wiejkowo, just outside the city. According to Christian faith, the funeral should take place not too long after the time of death. In this case, it cannot be ruled out that the gold plate was made to show who is in the grave.

Such inscription plates are found in graves from time to time, but not in gold. For example, in Bishop Lederich’s grave in Bremen Cathedral from 845, there was a lead plate engraved with informational text. Likewise, a similar plate was found in Bishop Unni’s grave from 936 in the  same church. In Valdemar the Great’s grave from 1182, there was a similar plaque (Sven Rosborn, A unique object from Harald Bluetooth´s time?, Pilemedia, Malmö 2014).


If the Curmsun Disc was a burial gift it explains the lack in the craftsmanship but the lack of skills could also be explained if missionaries around Jomsborg and Wiejkowo around year 1100 gathered gold and hired someone who was not an actual goldsmith to make a symbolic ornament of a canonized Harald Bluetooth. It could further explain the unusual alloy with an equal mix of silver and copper in the Curmsun Disc.

The abovementioned conclusions regarding a memorial plate around 986 and a symbolic ornament around 1100 are both between the plausible dating interval from year 968 up and until year 1125. Before 968 Oldenburg was not a civitas/bishopric (CIV ALDIN) and after 1125 Jomsborg became an own bishopric and should after this year also be named CIV JVMN. This interval prerequisite that the letter “J” in JVMN is actually the letter “I”.