MSS Lunch Lecture Felix Rösch, 'Arena of the Northern European Trade - The Schleswig Waterfront'

21-03-2019 from 12:00 to 13:00
Ghent, Rozier building, 1st floor, room 1.3. (Rozier 44)
Stefan Meysman
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Pirenne Lunch Lecture by medieval archaeologist Dr. Felix Rösch (Göttingen), Thursday 21 March 2019

The Henri Pirenne Institute has the pleasure of hosting Dr. Felix Rösch (Göttingen University) for a MSS Lunch Lecture Thursday 21 March 2019.

Dr. Rösch is an experienced maritime and waterfront archaeologist who did his PhD thesis (2015) on the high medieval port system of the city of Schleswig by the Baltic sea. Much of his work also has a strong 'Digital Humanities' component, as he has for example made GIS-integrated 3D visualisations of northern European harbour, market and city development.


The town of Schleswig is located at the inner end of the Schlei fjord, where the smallest part of the Jutland peninsula between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea is situated. Due to this favorable topographical situation, large amounts of the goods have been transferred via this spot for over a half millennium. The extensive interaction goes back to the early Viking-Age, when the emporium of Hedeby was established. During the course of 11th century Schleswig takes over. The transition process and the foundation of Schleswig have recently moved into the focus of new investigations. The analysis of almost 9000 wooden features resulted in an image of a complex and rapidly developing waterfront in the transition from Late Viking Age to the High Middle Ages. Within a time span of just 25 years, large areas were systematically occupied. Starting out with a plot layout and a street infrastructure, the building activities quickly reached out into the Schlei fjord where large dams were erected in alignment to the plots. On those structures properties with buildings, pens, wells etc were developed as well as a large public marketplace. While the major initiative behind these actions must be traced back to the Danish kings, different actors who were engaged in the long-distance trade individually undertook most measures at the waterfront.

Compared to other medieval ports in Northern Europe this development was of an outstanding intensity and rapidness. The Schleswig waterfront is most notably to be understood against the background of the emerging professional merchant seafaring that accompanies with increasing amounts of cargo, larger trading vessels and the consolidation of trade networks. Thereby the research on the Schleswig waterfront provide detailed information on the specific infrastructure of a high-medieval town whose economic power relied to large amounts on its far-ranging connections.

 Please note that this lecture will not take place at the usual venue. We look forward to seeing you in room 1.3 on the 1st floor of the Rozier building.