Kryda told The Viking Herald that he used LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology to spot the burial mound – allegedly located in Wiejkowo, Poland – from space. The technology measures distance by pointing a laser at a target and then analyzing the reflected light.
King Harald "Bluetooth" Gormsson is well known for uniting Denmark and Norway in 958 and for his dead tooth, which earned him the nickname Bluetooth due to its dark blue/grey color.
Most sources point to Bluetooth dying in 986 in the mythical Viking stronghold of Jomsborg. Still, his last resting place has eluded researchers for centuries.
By using satellite technology, Kryda says he was able to locate the grave and identify the royal burial mound in Poland.
Finding builds on previous research
The discovery is also aligned with previous research in the area, released in 2022, which also speculated that Bluetooth's body ended up in Poland.
This find also aligns with a previous discovery from the site. Roughly eight years ago, Swedish archaeologist Sven Rosborn uncovered a gold disc (today known as the "Curmsun" disc) in the same area as Bluetooth's alleged burial mound.
Rosborn claimed that the artifact was a grave gift because it was initially found with skeletal remains under a church.
However, the artifact and skeleton have an interesting history. They were first found in 1841 but were subsequently left in the crypt until a Polish army major stole them during World War II in 1945.
In 2014, the major's great-granddaughter found the disc in Sweden and brought it to school to ask her history teacher some questions about the artifact. The disc quickly became national news in both Sweden and Poland.
The golden piece has a Latin engraving on it, which references the Viking King Harald Bluetooth. Source: Tomasz Sielski / The Curmsun Disc / Wikimedia
Where is Bluetooth's burial mound located?
Kryda identifies the possible location of Bluetooth's burial mound to be beneath the Roman Catholic Church of Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Wiejkowo.
The satellite images that Kryda shared with The Viking Herald show a circular formation beneath the layers of dirt that could be the final resting place of the famous Viking king.
"When Swedish archeologist Sven Rosborn made his discovery of the Curmsun Disc in Sweden in 2014 and pointed out that it was found in a crypt of the church in Wiejkowo, Poland, for me, the astonishing thing was that, according to his description, Harald's burial chamber is situated 4-5 meters underneath the current Wiejkowo Church building. So, if this church was really dedicated to him, why were his grave and all the grave gifts hidden deep down in a crypt?
"I thought that perhaps Bluetooth didn't want to be buried in a church. Danish chronicler Svend Aggesen (born around 1140) explains that Harald renounced Christianity in his last days in Jumme/Wolin: In his exile, his son Svend (nicknamed Forkbeard) was taken as a king in his place. He assumed the belief in the Holy Trinity, as the father during his exile, with a sincere heart.
"I know of several churches in Scandinavia built on top of pre-Christian burial mounds (for example, the Forsby Church in Västergötland, Sweden, or another church in Sweden in Suntak) – so I decided to check if that was the case in Wiejkowo. At that time, my inspiration was the University of Alabama Sarah Parcak's discovery (using Earth observation imagery) of the Point Rosee Viking settlement in Newfoundland.
Kryda identifies the possible location of Bluetooth's burial mound to be beneath the Roman Catholic Church of Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Wiejkowo, Poland. Photo: Marek Kryda
"My choice as a research tool was LIDAR, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, which is a remote sensing system that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure various ranges (variable distances) to the Earth. These light pulses - combined with other data recorded by the airborne system - can generate precise, three-dimensional information about the shape of the Earth and its surface characteristics. And collected during this research, hundreds of images for me left no doubt - this church IS built on top of a big barrow, which is an artificial formation higher than the area around it.
"Then I combined my research results with the results of Sven Rosborn, and I realized that we can talk about the discovery of the long-lost burial of Harald Bluetooth. Although almost all the valuable items, according to Rosborn, were lost in the last 180 years, we still have the Curmsun Disc (which survived because it was dark brown). The simple fact that the Curmsun Disc did not look like it was made of gold may have saved it from being melted down. And the Curmsun Disc is like a name tag for this site; the Church officials placed this disc in the crypt to mark the dead Bluetooth as a future Saint of the Church," Kryda told The Viking Herald, explaining the connection between his research and the work of Rosborn.
"Sarah Parcak, who has used satellite imagery to detect possible remains of a Norse/Viking presence at Point Rosee, Newfoundland, is right when saying: 'Any discovery in remote sensing rests on hundreds of hours of deep, deep study. Before looking at satellite imagery of a cemetery or a pyramid field, you have to already understand why something should be there,'" Kryda added.
Kryda now plans to use Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) technology to analyze the site.
Burial traditions in Scandinavia
"For ages, Danes remembered the heathen ceremonial funeral of king Harald at Jomsborg Fortress in Pomerania (today's town of Wolin). In 1643, king Christian IV ordered the painting 'The funeral of the heathen king Harald Bluetooth' by the Dutch painter Clas Moeijaert as a part of the series about major events of Danish history that decorated Kronborg King's Castle.
"Throughout Scandinavia, there are many remaining pagan tumuli in honor of Viking kings and chieftains, in addition to runestones and other memorials. There was a widespread belief that Odin could call the dead out of the earth, or set himself beside the burial mounds, whence he was called the ghost-sovereign and lord of the mounds. The largest of the mounds (often containing ancestor graves) were used by the rulers not only during religious ceremonies but also to serve courts and establish the law. Some of the most notable of them are located at the Borre mound cemetery, in Norway, at Birka in Sweden and Lindholm Høje, and Jelling in Denmark.
"A prominent tradition is also that of the ship burial, where the deceased was laid in a boat, or a stone ship, and given grave offerings in accordance with his earthly status and profession, sometimes including sacrificed slaves. Afterward, piles of stone and soil were usually laid on top of the remains in order to create a tumulus. Additional practices included sacrifice or cremation, but the most common was to bury the departed with goods that denoted their social status," Kryda noted.
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