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Danes in Dorestad

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The Danish role in the decay of Dorestad

Dorestad, one of the most important trading towns of Northwestern Europe in the viking period, was situated in the central river area of the Frisian coast lands. This place, in the present day town of Wijk bij Duurstede in the central part of The Netherlands, was excavated mainly in the past 30 years. In the ninth century Dorestad was occupied by Danish rulers, although intermittently, for almost half a century. Although archaeological excavations were carried out on a large scale evidence for their presence could not be obtained, but can be deduced from the written records as will be explained below.
The presence of the Danish rulers in Dorestad was introduced by a series of viking raids on the trading town, initiated by Lothair I. This Carolingian king, who was in conflict with his father Louis the Pious, had intrigued with the Danish political exile Haraldr 'junior' and incited him to plunder the Frisian coast lands. In the process Dorestad was struck several times. Afterwards Lothair granted the place to this Dane and his brother Hrśrekr to consolidate his military position against the other Carolingian kings.
Hrśrekr was able to protect the emporium (staple market) from most raids, at first with the help of his Danish followers, but gradually also with forces he locally recruited. Unfortunately for Hrśrekr his position in Dorestad was not of much use to him because the trading town was already declining. The importance of the long distance trade had declined ever since regional trade increased. Moreover the growing power of the local elite made it difficult for the Frankish kings to hold control over Dorestad. An attempt to reduce that power by granting property in the Dorestad area to the Church of Utrecht was not very successful. Due to this development Emperor Louis the Pious lost interest in Dorestad. The minting stopped and constructions in the harbour were no longer extended. The economical decline sustained when Dorestad was appointed to the Middle Kingdom of Lothair I. The trading town became less attractive for those merchants that stayed behind. They rather moved to places outside the territory that was ruled by the Danes, like Deventer and Tiel, both rising merchant towns just outside Frisia.
The key position of Hrśrekr at the Treaty of Meerssen in 870 was the cause that his territory - and therefore also Dorestad - was appointed to the kingdom of Charles the Bald. That is why the trading town became politically isolated from the hinterland in the Rhine-Meuse area and was doomed to decline. Hrśrekr now only held the West Frisian coastal area with the declining trading town of Dorestad. The few merchants that stayed behind were persuaded by Louis the German with special privileges to move to Tiel and Deventer.

Wijk bij Duurstede 2005 The Mazijk in the old town of Wijk bij Duurstede
A general view on Dorestad
In the beginning of the seventh century the trading town of Dorestad was established at the base of the walls of a former Roman fortress on the banks of the rivers Rhine and Lek. Goods from the Meuse-Rhine area and from the North Sea region were traded here. From the beginning the town was at the mercy of the fighting Franks and Frisians, contesting each other on this place, until the Franks permanently occupied the central river area. The Austrasian authorities, and later on especially the Carolingians, supported the staple market among others by giving the merchants and artisans special privileges. Dorestad prospered and soon expanded to the north into a new quarter along the left bank of the River Rhine. The two parts of Dorestad: the Merovingian 'Upper Town' (in Dutch 'Bovenstad') with its fortress and the Carolingian 'Lower Town' (in Dutch: 'Benedenstad') were connected with each other by a road along the Rhine, comparable with the London Strand. This road, the 'backbone' of the town, still can be recognized nowadays in the course of the Hoogstraat, Markt and Volderstraat. The continuation to the south was intersected by the construction of the castle 'Duurstede' in the fifteenth century.
The 'Lower Town' was organized like a Frisian Einstraßenanlage, including a huge harbour front with many causeways in the river. And to the west, on 'The Heul' quarter, a mainly agrarian settlement was situated behind the harbour quarter. The length of the inhabited area was about 3000 meters, so the town was fairly huge for the period.
Only the Carolingian 'Lower Town' was examined in detail by archaeologists. The harbour area, called 'Noorderwaard' and 'De Heul' quarter could be studied before building activities of the expanding town of Wijk bij Duurstede covered the remains of Dorestad. Along the main road, probably paved with wood, many causeways of earth and wood extended into the river. They were elongated as the river meandered in eastern direction, away from the harbour front. On the land site of the main road fairly narrow parcels with some rows of wooden, rather small buildings, matched with the causeways laying in front of these parcels (1). The southern part of the 'Lower Town', called 'The Engk' was almost completely eroded by a meander of the River Rhine, now moving to the west. Only a rather small area, just outside the settlement, where many graves were discovered, could be investigated.
The 'Upper Town', nowadays situated on the opposite bank of the river, was never excavated. The only evidence for early occupation on this side comes from phosphate research of the soil and from several objects that were discovered while dredging for clay for the local brick industry. Apart from Carolingian objects, most findings, like pieces of tuff, can be related to a former Roman fortress, mentioned as castrum in an anonymous historical compilation on the history of the Franks, known as 'the continuator of Fredegarius' (2). Here the Frisians and the Franks gave battle at the end of the seventh century. The fortress was eroded and washed into the river in the Carolingian period. Tuff blocks from the fortress and its buildings were used by the Dorestad population for building activities, and were found scattered around the place.
In the 'Upper Town' we can presume the stronghold of the count, the administrative centre of the representative of the king. Most trading activities must have occurred here in the first period of Frankish occupation and Frisian reconquering in the seventh century. In many places, like Mainz, Worms, Cologne and Straatsburg a small strip of land between the water and the city wall (mostly still dating from the Roman period) was used as a trading quarter. Something alike we can expect at the base of the castrum at Dorestad. A part of the 'Upper Town' was granted by the Frankish king to the Church of Utrecht, that started to exploit the banks of the River Lek.
On 'De Heul' a Carolingian settlement with rather an agricultural character was found situated behind the harbour quarter. According to the findings of many domestic products we also can assume here some industrial activities (4). Next to this agricultural quarter the remains of a building were found, on a large grave field among Christian inhumation graves, that could be interpreted as a church (5). Possibly we are dealing with the 'Lower Church', the counterpart of the Upkirika, as the 'Upper Church' in the 'Upper Town' was called.
No ditches or walls were found around the 'Lower Town' of Dorestad. Other trading towns also lack such defenses. Later - mostly in the tenth century - defenses were erected like the wall around the trading town of Haithabu. Or the merchants moved their trade within the walls of a nearby situated - mostly Roman - stronghold, like in London.
Northwest of the agricultural settlement at 'De Geer' a structure of Carolingian ditches was discovered, enclosing a large area. Because of the large dimensions of the ditches the place possibly had a defensive function. The special objects - like a large gilded brooch - also point at a curtis, a distinguished dwelling-place or farmstead of a nobleman, situated on the highest point in the environment. In the thirteenth century a fortified farmstead was built on the same place. Habitation on 'De Geer' ended simultaneously with most of that in the 'Lower Town'. Thus a connection between both settlements at close distance from each other can be expected. Did the stronghold at 'De Geer' serve as a refuge for the population of Dorestad, like the Hochburg near Haithabu and the Hammaburg near the trading centre of Hamburg? Bishop Rimbert also mentioned in his account on the missionary Anskar a refuge at Birka in Sweden where the inhabitants and merchants sought refuge during an attack (6).
In a poem of the English clergyman Alcuin, written at the end of the eighth century, the trading town is spelled as 'Dorstata', consequently in the plural form (7). This also points at the division of Dorestad in an 'Upper Town' and a 'Lower Town'. In the 'Upper Town' we find the 'Upper Church' and downstream in the 'Lower Town' the 'Nederhof', the 'Lower Farmstead', which was situated at the present-day Volderstraat.

This text is a shortened reproduction of a paper (in Dutch) with the same title in Jaarboek Oud-Utrecht (2005), 5-40.
Hinc tua vela leva, fugiens Dorstada relinque:
Non tibi forte niger Hrotberct parat hospita tecta,
Nec amat ecce tuum carmen mercator avarus.

Hoist your sails, flee and leave behind the (towns of) Dorestad:
You do not have the fortune of a hospitable roof offered by Black Hrotberct,
Neither the greedy merchant loves your poem.
The social political structure
Like other trading places Dorestad became a toy in the political arena. Especially the political developments in the Frankish empire played a determining role in the rise and fall of the place. The importance of the Rhine-Meuse delta increased with the rise of the Eastern kingdom Austrasia at the beginning of the seventh century. Especially the castrum, controlled by Frisians and ideally situated on the bifurcation of the Rivers Rhine and Lek, must have been the nodal point of the trade between the Austrasian hinterland and the North Sea area. It must have been a meeting-point of various traders and that is why Austrasian noblemen wanted to control the place. They gave Dorestad the momentum to develop: coins were minted and there must have been a representative of the king for collecting toll and harbour fee (called ripaticum). With the flourishing of Dorestad the centre of gravity moved to the 'Lower Town'. For there probably was hardly place for expansion along the banks of the 'Upper Town' any more. Besides the castrum and the neighbouring trading quarter was attacked by erosion of the river. Already in a charter from 777 the Upper Church was positioned from the point of view of this 'Lower Town' (8).
As more trading towns arose the character of the trade started to change. More and more consumer goods were traded instead of the traditional luxury goods. Also regional trade strongly developed at the cost of long distance trading, which was traditionally controlled by the central authorities. Ship loadings of goods arrived and had to be stored, besides all the ships had to be moored. The ship-crew needed an accommodation, awaiting for a new freight or favourable weather conditions. So it is understandable that in the eighth century the harbour works grew rapidly (9). At last local noblemen got hold of the trade and at the same time the Frankish kings lost control. They reacted by granting large parts of the town to the nearby situated Church of Utrecht. As a result the power was now undesirably divided between the religious centre of Utrecht and the secular centre of Dorestad. Several Frankish kings confirmed the rights of the Church of Utrecht, necessary against the pressure of the local nobility and the Church of Cologne.
Around 830 the harbour constructions were hardly extended any more. It seems that Louis the Pious was less interested in Dorestad. Despite several viking raids on the town between 834 and 839 he did not take much measures concerning Dorestad and rather reorganized the coastal defenses in general. With the divisions of the empire in 839 and 843 Dorestad became part of the Middle Kingdom of Lothair I, so in a political sense the connection with the Austrasian lands between the Rivers Meuse and Rhine was sustained. But Lothair and his offshoot were less able to assert their independence between the rising powers of Western and Eastern Francia. The economical decline of Dorestad can be archaeologically observed, in a way reflecting the diminishing power of Lothair and his son (10).
When the Franks finally conquered the castrum of Dorestad and its surroundings, it fell to the royal domain. Soon Pippin of Herstal granted the Church of Utrecht one tenth of the revenues of this domain. Later it appeared that this privilege was changed into all the revenues of a defined trading zone (11).
In this zone we probably can expect the newly built church of the bishop of Utrecht, the 'Lower Church' upon 'De Heul'. During the eighth century the Church of Utrecht expanded its interests considerately as the Frankish rulers granted the bishop the Upkirika, the 'Upper Church' with accessories. This church, dedicated to Saint Martin, probably was founded by the Frankish king as soon as the Franks conquered Dorestad upon the Frisians at the beginning of the eighth century. Also the surrounding territory and the ripaticum, the above mentioned rights on the banks of the River Lek, belonged to the church (12). So the church of Utrecht possessed two different area's of goods: an area that can be recognized as a trading zone and the 'Upper Church' with surroundings.
Somewhere during the ninth century the 'Upper Church' was eroded, like the castrum, and was washed into the Rhine. The church probably was rebuilt a couple of hundred meters to the south as the church, of course dedicated to Saint Martin. This church was included in the list of goods of the Church of Utrecht from the early tenth century, in the villa of Rijswijk (13).
In 1019 Heribert, archbishop of Cologne, granted the curtis Wijk to the Abbey of Deutz (14). This farmstead with accessories was given to him by Emperor Otto III around 1000. In this curtis we can recognize the Nederhof at the present Volderstraat (15). The Abbey of Deutz also acquired the church and villa in Wijk through the archbishop. Finally the abbey possessed almost all royal goods that did not belong to the Church of Utrecht. Probably the archbishop had successfully claimed old rights from the Church of Cologne dating from the time of the Austrasian mayors of the palace. These goods were concentrated in the area of the late Medieval town of Wijk bij Duurstede.
The Church of Utrecht possessed goods chiefly in the area near the Steenstraat, on 'De Heul' and in the Noorderwaard (the former harbour area), as the fiscal goods were concentrated in the area of the late Medieval town. The curtis of the royal domain was literally the centre of this town. These possessions did not change much since the beginning of the Frankish occupation. Even the disappearance of the 'Upper Town' into the river seems not to have changed much. But the double game with the Frankish kings and the Church of Utrecht on one side and the local elite with the Church of Cologne on the other side resulted in a fragmented trading town that was hard to rule.
Rijswijk 2004
Abandoned river channel of the Rhine near 'De Roodvoet' brick-factory in the Rijswijkse Buitenpolder, about the supposed place of the castrum, the church of Rijswijk is visible on the background
Danes at Dorestad
The first Norsemen in Dorestad were traders. Although they constructed excellent ships their share in the marine long distance trade was modest. Traders and carriers in the Northern seas were mostly Frisians. So we do not hear much about these Danish traders. The first time we come across Danes in Dorestad is when the place is raided in 834 (16). We must not have an excessive idea of the viking raids on Dorestad. After a raid business went on as usual. Habitation in the area of the Kromme Rijn (NW of Dorestad) did not change much in the period of the supposed excessive raiding. Minting did continue on a large scale in the 830's and 840's, the period in with most frequent viking raids occurred (17). Besides it is ironic to establish the fact that Dorestad profited from the wealth that was robbed all over Europe and shipped to the north, but returned by trade. After 863 Dorestad was not mentioned anymore, anyway not in the texts that were written by clergymen. But archaeological research makes clear that at least a part of the place continued to function.
In the period that Danish rulers played a political role, we can recognize three phases. In the first phase the Frankish rulers had to grant the Danish brothers Haraldr 'junior' and Hrśrekr, nephews of Klakk-Haraldr, a former king of Denmark and now an exile in Francia, Dorestad after a series of assaults in the 830's. In the second phase Hrśrekr reconquered the area that was taken from him in the 840's. In the third phase Dorestad as well as its Danish ruler fell between two stools after the division of 870. Dorestad went down, the merchants moved to places like Tiel and Deventer, and shortly after we do not hear anything from Hrśrekr anymore.

Museum Dorestad 2005

Badorf narrow-mouthed pitcher with lines of rouletting, type W II, Carolingian period, found at Dorestad, 'Hoogstraat'

Museum Dorestad 2005

Touchstone, probably Carolingian, found at Dorestad, 'Hoogstraat'

The first phase: The Carolingian struggle for power

The background of the first series of viking assaults on Dorestad had a political character. These attacks were carried out by Haraldr 'junior', encouraged by the Frankish ruler Lothair I. In 833 the latter had revolted against his father Emperor Louis the Pious. He had found sufficient supporters to depose his father from the throne. But the next year Louis regained power and deprived Lothair of his dominions, including Frisia (18). The revolting son was expelled to Italy for 6 years, together with his supporters. In this period Lothair intrigued as much as possible and he managed to agitate Haraldr 'junior' in damaging the interests of Louis. The Frisian coast lands were plundered almost every year between 834 and 839, in the period that Louis and Lothair had a conflict. The emperor warned Lothair in vain. Only a couple of counts were punished for their negligence in chasing the pirates (19). Haraldr 'junior' probably was left behind at the Carolingian court in 826 after the county of Riustringen in East Frisia was granted to his uncle Klakk-Haraldr. Therefore he must have been well-known to Lothair.
It seems that in the 830's the trading town of Dorestad only was assaulted once, and that was in 834. After that year Dorestad is only mentioned without further indication in different sources. The emporium itself was attacked again only after 12 years. Possibly it was not rebuilt after 834 and further raids were aimed at the administrative centre, the stronghold in the 'Upper Town'. The emperor reacted 'furious' after the second attack in 835, presumably because the main royal interests were damaged for the first time that year. In 839 father and son reconciled with each other and Lothair regained his dominions. More or less for his services, but also to his own interest Lothair granted Dorestad to Haraldr 'junior' and his brother Hrśrekr (20), for the Carolingian kings started to lose control of Dorestad, as we saw before. The Carolingian rulers Charlemagne and Louis the Pious tried to restrict the power of the local elite by granting the Church of Utrecht with large parts of the town. But Lothair sought the aid of the members of the clan of Klakk-Haraldr to hold control of the trading town. Later on Lothair also granted 'Walcheren and neighbouring places' (the estuary of the River Scheldt) to Haraldr 'junior' (21).

The second phase: The claim of Hrśrekr
Ever since 840 Frisia was not raided any more. The pirates now aimed for England and the West Frankish kingdom of Charles the Bald. After the three sons of Louis the Pious concluded a treaty of friendship, they did not need their Danish supporters any more. The urge to take defensive measurements had diminished after the viking attacks had come to an end. Now the presence of Danish rulers in the mouth of the Rivers Wezer, Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt was an undesirable situation for Lothair. In or shortly after 844 Haraldr 'junior' and Hrśrekr fell into disgrace. Hrśrekr was falsely accused and arrested but escaped to the kingdom of Louis the German. Haraldr 'junior' perished, probably while he was arrested. Hrśrekr established himself in Saxonia near the Danish borders as fidelis (faithful man) of the East Frankish king. Here he gathered 'quite a large gang of Danes' and started to attack the northern coasts of the kingdom of Lothair (22). Possibly we are dealing with the same gang, that under the leadership of Ragnarr harassed the Seine region in the early 840's. Charles the Bald granted Ragnarr goods in Flanders but like Haraldr 'junior' and Hrśrekr he also fell into disgrace. In 846 the vicus Dorestad and two other villae (settlements) were plundered (23). Apparently we are dealing with a large attack, because all three centres of the conglomerate Dorestad were raided. It seems that the next year the raiders were not aiming for Dorestad but sailed upstream to the vicus Meginhardi. The chronicler Gerward suggested that they operated from Dorestad. Another chronicler Prudentius indeed reported the Danish occupation of Dorestad that same year (24). So it seems that Hrśrekr already held the town before Lothair assigned it to him.
Museum Dorestad 2005

Carolingian relief-band amphora type W IA, found at Dorestad, 'Hoogstraat'

Museum Dorestad 2005 Iron boat-hook with curved hook and nail-hole, found at Dorestad, 'Hoogstraat' It appears that the defense was locally organized. In 845 the raiders were defeated by 'Frisians' (25). The king did not take any precautions, as far as we know. In 850 Hrśrekr destroyed places in Frisia and the Betuwe and finally captured Dorestad with an extensive Danish army, provoked by the false accusations of Lothair (26). At last the king had to admit and Hrśrekr regained the strategic trade centre that was unjustly taken from him. The conflict between the king and his vassal came to an end. This second series of raids appeared to be as well politically inspired as the raids in the 830's. Hrśrekr settled in Dorestad en regained his territories on condition that he should defend the Frisian coast lands against viking attacks. Furthermore he had the obligation to collect taxes for the king. In 839 Hrśrekr only held the vicus Dorestad in iure beneficii (as a fief), but now he got Dorestad without further indication as the core of his territory, defined as 'Dorestad and other counties'.
Although the written sources hardly give an account on the Danish rulers, we are better documented in Frisia than in other places like Normandy, where Hrólfr (Rollo) received property from the king and local noblemen were obliged to be loyal to him. Hrólfr was a political exile, like Hrśrekr. However the assignment of the area downstream of the River Seine to the Norsemen can only indirectly be deduced from one charter that was drawn up later and from the unreliable and non-contemporaneous chronicle of Dudo of Saint-Quentin.
Hrśrekr could not hold his following for long, for it is not very likely that many Danish adventurers stayed long in the Frisian coast lands. Commanders like Hrśrekr had to commit their men with the perspective of fame and prestige goods. But these men had to spend their days without action and would rather join the drifting sodalitates, as Hincmar called the viking gangs in 861 (27). With his shrinking following Hrśrekr had to seek for local forces. So the revenues of the trade centre Dorestad must have been important to him. But with his appearance coining came to an end. It apparently must have been too profitable for the king.
Hrśrekr probably wandered about different fulcrums in Frisia and must have left the administration in Dorestad to a notaris (deputy), although he must have had an abode in Dorestad. But Scandinavian rules were not accustomed to live in a vicus. They rather established themselves in a sal, a big hall outside the town. Such a hall was found for instance outside the trading town Skiringssal on the border of the Oslo fjord in Norway. This settlement was named after the sal. In the ninth century the castrum on the bifurcation of the Rivers Rhine and Lek must have been eroded in a way that it no longer was of any use to the local ruler. Perhaps the big building on De Geer was the sal that was used by the Danes, but no prove has been found to confirm this possibility.
Despite the turbulent period - the Frankish coasts were permanently harassed - Hrśrekr was able to beat off most pirate raids, for only one raid on West Frisia was mentioned. Although Dorestad more or less was secured from lootings because of the Danish presence, it is not likely the inhabitants were very glad with these rulers. For a long time they were remembered by the less gentle way they acted collecting taxes (28). The housing of their following - a colourful company of exiles and outlaws - will not have made them very popular. The legal right of tax freedom, given to the merchants in the area of the Church of Utrecht, must have been disregarded by the rulers. A military ship duty called Koggedienst, probably enforced on the population by Hrśrekr, will only have been accepted with grumble, especially when the Frisian merchants had to use their own ships. The merchants must have constituted an important part of the Dorestad population. Still in 863 'many Frisian merchants' were mentioned (29). Therefore it is quite possible that during the rule of Hrśrekr they started to move their trading activities to other places like Tiel and Deventer. These places were situated outside the Frisian territory of the Danish rulers. This tendency continued after the Treaty of Meerssen in 870 as is stated below. So the presence of the Danish defenders in Dorestad must have strangely enough triggered the downfall of the town.
After the death of the Danish king Hárekr, as the relations between the Franks and the Danes got worse, Hrśrekr was stationed in the North of Saxony to defend the borders of the empire (30). But soon it appears that Lothair needed his vassal more in Frisia. For a gang of vikings abused the absence of Hrśrekr to raid Dorestad and the surrounding area (31). So Hrśrekr had to return, but the attackers managed to plunder Dorestad and a villa, called 'not modest', where the Frisians in vain tried to take refuge. Possibly Hrśrekr urged the pirates to move to another place, because afterwards they sailed to Cologne, but on their way at Neuss they were surrounded by Frankish troops. Here Hrśrekr mediated between the two opponents and on his advice the pirates agreed to retreat (32).

Third phase: The downfall of Dorestad
After the death of King Lothair II in 869 Charles the Bald tried to annex Lotharingia. The East Frankish king Louis the German succeeded in blocking the appointment of a confidant of Charles on the episcopal chair of Utrecht. With Hrśrekr he was more successful, for he concluded an agreement with the Dane at Nijmegen (33). Possibly he already had promised him the Frisian coast lands, because at the Treaty of Meerssen the original territory of Hrśrekr stayed intact and was added to the West Frankish kingdom. Even if we presume that the new frontier between the kingdoms was mainly established along the River Meuse, as we take the Treaty to the letter, than Charles actually would still have dominated West Frisia with the presence of Hrśrekr all the same.
Dorestad was not mentioned in the Treaty any more. Charles showed little interest in the place and rather benefited a trading place like Quentovic, favourably situated between the English Channel and the West Frankish hinterland. Dorestad, already declining, was now cut off politically from the Austrasian markets and was condemned to disappear. Possibly also a large flood in 870 played a final role (34). The East Frankish monarchs moved their support and influence to Tiel and Deventer, places within their kingdom. The special privileges of the merchants in Dorestad also moved to these places (35).
The resemblance between Tiel and Dorestad, at a distance of only 10 km from each other, is striking. In both places we find a harbour along an older distributary of the river; on the bifurcation was a stronghold for the benefit of the fisc; and both harbours were situated along a main street, called 'Hoogstraat'. Behind the trading zone a more agricultural area with farms could be found where the church was (and in Tiel still is) situated (36). It appears that the merchants from Dorestad must have moved to Tiel. An ecclesiastical chronicler from the early eleventh century wrote about, as he mentioned them, these crude, unreliable, godless, adulterous people, without discipline, who rather held collective orgies. Especially the aberrant customs of the merchants of Tiel were noticed. He probably meant the Frisian traders, originating from Dorestad, because they punished according to their own laws, with the approval of the emperor (37). His observation of orgies on feast days and the loose sexual moral remind us of Nordic customs as we know them from Icelandic saga's and Arab testimonies. Therefore it seems that there must have been a Danish element in the population of the merchants in Tiel. In this context the discovery in Tiel of coins from the tenth century with the inscripion IOIIISTATAS (degenerated: Dorestad) is remarkable (38). Although Tiel must have been attacked as well, the place recovered and flourished with royal support. When the trade was moved from Dorestad to Tiel it was a loss for Hrśrekr and must have excited him to start negotiations with Louis the German in 873. The Betuwe and Teisterbant (with Tiel) in the central Dutch river area once belonged to his territory, but he must have lost these regions after the Treaty of Meerssen. The meeting with Louis was held in an atmosphere of distrust. Nevertheless the king accepted him as his vassal, probably in Frisian territory on the eastern side of the River Vlie (39). After that we do not hear anything about Hrśrekr any more. The power base of Guđröđr, the successor of Hrśrekr, was situated in Kennemerland along the sea shore. Dorestad was not mentioned any more afterwards.
As the East Frankish king got hold of Lotharingia as a whole the church of Utrecht effectively recovered power. The bishop encouraged the town of Utrecht to come into bloom, at the same time the trading town of 'the greedy merchant' was neglected. The trading function of Dorestad no longer existed and the administrative function was moved to Utrecht. The 'Lower Town' was called Wik or vicus in the tenth century. Wik became Wijk (bij Duurstede). The famous merchant town was reduced to an agricultural village: a Wik with terra cum mancipiis (land with unfree farmers).
De Schothorst 2005
Reconstruction of a farm at 'De Schothorst' in Amersfoort,
based on the remains found at 'De Heul'.
(1) Van Es & Verwers, 1980, 22 ff.
(2) Fredegarii continuationes, Krusch, 1888, 172.
(3) OSU no. 48; OSU no. 49; there is a toponym 'De Woerd' (The Holm) east of Rijswijk. For OSU, see: Muller and Bouman, 1920.
(4) Van Es, 1969, 193 ff.
(5) Although this building is situated in the middle of a grave field and remnants of what was interpreted as a bell-fry were discovered, it is not certain that we are dealing with a church (pers. comm. Prof. dr. Van Es).
(6) VA, c. 19, see: Robinson, 1921.
(7) Alcuini poeti, Dümmler, 1881, 220 ; Alcuin also indicated Quentovic in the plural form: vici, vicos (Dümmler, 1881, 66).
(8) charter of Charlemagne from 777 (OSU no. 48).
(9) for the chronology of the harbour constructions see Van Es & Verwers, 1980, 300 ff.
(10) Sarfatij, 1999, 267.
(11) Dekker, 1983, 283.
(12) OSU no. 48.
(13) Rijswijk belonged to the parish of Dorestad; there was no river that separated Dorestad and Rijswijk, as is generally assumed.
(14)Dekker, 1983, 100.
(15) Scholz, 1972, 167
(16) AB 834, 24.
(17) Coupland, 2002, 226 ; possible we are dealing with Frisian imitations (Henstra, 2000, 63-64).
(18) Ordinatio imperii, Pertz, 1835, 270-273.
(19) Astronomus (Tremp, 1995, 504).
(20) AF850, 38.
(21) AB 841, 54.
(22) AF 850, 38.
(23) AX 846, 348.
(24) AB 847, 70; AF 847, 34; AX 847, 348.
(25) AX 845, 346.
(26) AB 850, 76; AF 850, 38; AX 850, 350.
(27) AB 861, 106.
(28) Gosses, 1946, 148.
(29) AB 863, 116.
(30) AB 857, 94.
(31) AB 859, 100.
(32) AB 863, 116; AX 864, 354.
(33) AB 870, 206.
(34) Hessing, 1994, 227.
(35) OSU no. 88.
(36) Sarfatij, 1999, 268
(37) Van Rij, 1980, 80.
(38) Sarfatij, 1999, 273-274.
(39) AF 873, 90

Coupland, S., 'Trading places: Quentovic and Dorestad reassessed', Early Medieval Europe, 11 (2002) 209-232.
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