Did archaeologists find the legendary Viking city of Jomsborg?

Does this evidence truly unveil a "medieval New York" of the past? Archaeologist uncovers signs of "Jomesburg," a Viking city, on a Baltic isle. Ancient fortress remains found; skepticism endures.

  (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

An archaeologist asserts the discovery of ancient fortress remains on a Baltic Sea Polish island as evidence for the existence of the Jomsborg Viking city. Long considered a myth, these findings challenge the prevalent skepticism.

The debate over a potentially vanished 10th-century Viking city's existence and location has been reignited by an observation tower on a Baltic Sea Polish island. Much of Viking history lies buried, both literally and metaphorically. Yet, a seemingly simple construction endeavor for a public park observation tower on Wolin Island has yielded unexpected artifacts. These artifacts potentially indicate a 10th-century city's presence, according to the discoverer.

As Polish islands unveil artifacts hinting at a 10th-century city's existence, Viking researchers are thrilled. The enigmatic city of Jomsborg may finally find a place in history.

"It's thrilling," says Wojciech Filippowiak, an archaeologist from the Polish Academy of Sciences involved in the project. "It might solve a 500-year-old mystery: Where is Jomesburg?" he told The New York Times.

Jomsborg was referenced in ancient Viking texts 

Jomsburg, a significant facet of Viking history, first surfaced in 12th-century texts. Nevertheless, its precise location remains unknown. This uncertainty led some to view Jomesborg as a collection of tales—a mythical city combining a fortress and a bustling trade hub.

If substantiated, Jomsborg would have functioned as a trading post for Vikings, Germans, and Slavs—groups with historical ties to the region. Karolina Kokura, director of the Volyn History Museum, likens it to "the New York of the Middle Ages on the Baltic Sea."

This comparison stands if Jomsborg existed beyond references in ancient Viking writings. Those texts depict a lively settlement with a substantial populace, a military stronghold, and a harbor for replenishing Viking ships. 

Should Filippowiak's discoveries indeed be remnants of the original fortress, they would be more than fortuitous. Island-wide excavations, including the park, have been conducted in pursuit of Viking history, yet they yielded no conclusive results. Unearthing such a pivotal historical element could herald a wealth of new research.

Moreover, it could kindle heightened public interest. The enduring allure of Viking civilization could potentially boost tourism in the area, should this ancient Viking enclave be confirmed.

"Vikings are captivating and garner immense attention," notes Eva Grybovska, Mayor of Wolin, speaking to the New York Times. "Every corner here holds history."

This is why she's confident that exhibiting Viking artifacts in a Baltic Sea island's public park might carve a new path for attracting visitors—assuming, of course, that everything proves genuine.