When archaeologists entered a layer that previously was a lake in Viking times, they found a mass of iron lumps. When they examined the lumps, they found a bronze lump with a dragon. The little dragon was normally placed on a dragon needle, but the needle for this item was missing. It turned out that the dragon fit in the mould that was found at Birka in 1870, and which forms the dragon that has become Birka’s signature mark.

A symbol of the Viking Age

“This dragon head has become a symbol of the Viking Age”, says Lena Holmquist, lecturer at the Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies at Stockholm University, and one of the project leaders for the excavations at Birka.

“For many years, there has been an ongoing debate as to where the dragon head was made. With the discovery, we hope to show that it was produced here in Birka”, she continues.

The excavations at Birka are now completed for this year, but will continue next year, during which the excavation area will be increased.

Read more about this year's excavations at Birka in the Facebook group Birkas Black Earth Harbour 2015.