Name/TitleBell from Hedeby/Haithabu, Haithabhu/Hedeby Viking Museum
About this objectThis bell was discovered in 1978 in the waters of the Viking-period harbour outside Haithabu (Hedeby), now in Germany but previously part of Denmark. The bell is dated to the 10th century when this area became a bishopric. 9th-century written sources confirm the use of bells in Christianity in Scandinavia. For example,The Life of St Ansgar [EXH7] notes that, on his visit in 855/856, the Danish king Haarik (r. 854–870) 'even allowed that a bell must ring by the church, a custom which the heathens (Vikings) considered illegal.'
Early churches were wooden and not strong enough to support a bell and so it would have been placed in a separate tower outside the church. It was probably made locally as there is evidence of bronze casting here.
Date Made10th century
Subject and Association KeywordsLiving in Belief
Medium and MaterialsBronze
Credit LineHedeby/Haithabu Viking Museum
Object numberEXH58: Hedeby Bell