Talk:Amber Road

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Old talk[edit]

Ummm small point here, but did the rest of the world call it the Bernsteinstrasse, or just that part of it that spoke German? I'm guessing that it was more like the Silk Road -- people referred to it by the same name, but in their own vernacular. That probably being the case, I'm going to take out the Bernsteinstrasse reference in a day or so, unless somebody objects here. JHK

This site shows the Amber Road running to Italy not the Black Sea. Further quote from site: "Like the Silk Road in Asia the Amber Road connected different cultures and nations between the Baltic and the Adriatic sea...The Amber Road had never been one single track, but a network of pathes and routes." Not a German road then?

A second site mentions the Black Sea route but says that the Italian route was more important: --rmhermen

I have never seen Bernsteinstrassen plural in print, always Bernsteinstrasse singular. However there were many different directions taken . When you look at a map of Germany you will still today find it north to south , east to west all covered with waterways, rivers and connecting canals. Baltic amber is found all along the southern Baltic Sea from Jutland to Koenigsberg .I have never heard of countries next to Prussia,used to be Couronia, Livonia, Latvia ( today Lithuania, Latvia, Esthonia) having amber finds also.

Amber had been found in the North Sea around Heligoland.

I have not seen any other language names for the route that amber was transported on , other than recent translations of Bernsteinstrasse to Amber Road, because until a few years ago there was no reference in english speaking countries to the ancient Germanic trade routes of eastern Germania , which lead further south, east and west connecting to countries around the Mediterranian Sea, Black Sea and to Middle East and Asia. If you find old ( pre- war) references in English called Amber Road , please list them. Thank you user:H.J.

Hard to know where to start here...I'll look up references to the Amber Road, but here's an initial response. I think this is a really good example for discussing your methodology, Frau user:H.J.. You seem to be making 2 assumptions here, in order to "prove" that your interpretation of facts is the correct one. They are, as follows:
  • Because German sources don't refer to more than one Amber Road, multiple Amber Roads didn't exist.
  • Bernsteinstrasse is the terminology we should be using, because pre-war English studies don't (or may not) mention its existence.

For historians, this kind of thinking doesn't work. History is a constantly changing field. Today's historians tend to be much more holistic in their approach than historians of the last several centuries. We use many more primary sources and archaeological evidence. We must take into consideration all of the latest research, as well as what went before. Sometimes we find synthetic explanations, other times we have to absolutely reject older views based on new evidence.

In the case of the Amber Road, we are using the most current evidence available. That evidence suggests that there were several trade routes that made up the Amber Road. There is no reason to believe that these multiple routes were invented, just because German sources don't refer to them. Either the historians you've read didn't know about them at the time (perhaps because they only used German primary sources, perhaps because they couldn't read Russian, or Lithuanian, etc., perhaps because any archaeological evidence was unavailable because of the existence of the Eastern bloc...there are any number of perfectly good reasons), or they were writing at a time when it was acceptable to write history with a bias. At present, however, we need to include the newst evidence -- and that means we have to allow for several routes.

On the second point, 1) this is an English-language Wikipedia, hence we use Amber Road. If it were the German Wikipedia, we'd use Bernsteinstrasse. Just because the concept arises in one language doesn't mean it can't be translated.(However, there are often concepts that can't be translated -- like the Roman equites -- it translates to knights, but that isn't a valid substitute, so we keep the term in Latin) You have mentioned several times how US Americans don't know much about European, especially German, history. Until recently, most English-speaking European historians who studies the pre-modern eras focused on English, French, and occasionally Italian histories. German history was mostly done by Germans. However, over the past 50 or so years, more and more of us are studying the areas that make up present-day Germany. What we have found is that many of our secondary sources are based on a narrow, conventional approach. There is a sort of insularity in the German-language sources that can often be traced from one historian directly back to his (almost exclusively male) line of "Doctor fathers". The German academic system doesn't really encourage people to contradict their intellectual forebears. Not having that constraint in most English-speaking countries has resulted in huge changes in this area of study world-wide.

Please accept that we are trying to present an accurate view given ALL the information we can get, and presenting it in an acceptable scholarly form. JHK

I have recently been told , that people who wanted to take chemistry or other related fields in California appr. 50 years ago, had to learn German language first, because material and classes were only available in German.

I am all for trying to present an accurate view , therefore my request above, to please list other sources.


to get a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry that was accredited by the professional organization of chemists one had to have 3 years (I think) of German and 1 year (I think) of French. Part of that requirement was mere academic elitism - settin high standards so that the students would be good. Part of that requirement was that a preponderance of the research papers were published in German. --MichaelTinkler
user:H.J., what's your point? I mentioned that most of the older scholarship in the areas you discuss is in German. So what? Anyone who studies the ancient and medieval topics that form the basis of your mostly spurious arguments needs to be able to read Latin, German, and French, as well as English. I simply don't understand what sources you want us to cite. The fact that most of the historians who initially researched the Amber Road wrote in German means nothing, inasmuch as WE are writing in English, so we use the English translation.
If you can't understand the explanations you have already been given, I'm sorry -- although it certainly weakens your complaint that we English-speakers are somehow writing inferior articles because we don't speak perfect German. Every argument you place on the 'pedia comes down to one simple theory:
Germans referred to it first, so Germans/Germany has some sort of proprietary right to decide on terminology. This is the same as your insupportable theories of why most of central Europe (and a large part of eastern Europe, as far as I can tell) was inhabited by Germanic (note NOT GERMAN) peoples when the first histories were written, so the Germans (modern sense) have some sort of inalienable rights to those territories.JHK

The first sentence implies that the Amber Road was not used after the time of Christ --is there some reason to think so? i was under the impression that thie Amber and Silk roads remained viable trade routes into the middle ages. JHK

Thanks rmherman, for fixing the article and getting the point. JHK

The name: "Elblag" was not invented in 1945! What nonsense! It was in use even by the polish language speaking community of the Teutonic Order state. Not to mention the three centuries of those lands being part of the Polish Crown. Can we, please, eliminate the unnecessary ethnic propaganda from WIKI? If History is different, than what you would like it to be, then please refrain from writing.

Of course history is different from what I'd like it to be: is there anyone who can look at, say, the last 100 years and *not* think that. That doesn't mean I can't be accurate: the historian's job is to find and tell the truth, even if some of it makes her weep in anguish. That's what NPOV is about here: not that you have to be neutral and disinterested, but that you have to put your biases aside. --Vicki Rosenzweig

Identification of amber-related towns by etymology[edit]

Amber used to be called "burn"-stones for its inflammable properties.

The name amber may be derived from the Latin verb: amburo - ambussi - ambustum and not from an Arabian source.

By listing all town-names with "burner" - properties we may derive a map of the trading roads for amber:


For further details on amber roads see (1 MByte pdf-file): [[1]]

If you think the map is usefull, we can transfer this to Wikipedia.

Johannes.Richter 07:38, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Sure, the map is useful. If you can translate it into English, we can certainly use it here. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 11:09, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Translation into English completed Johannes.Richter 15:05, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Johannes Richter, I'd like to see some more substantiation for the etymologies you mention. In the Hamburg article, there is not a single reference to "Ambur" as a possible etymology, also the Antwerpen, Amersfoort etymologies are questionable. Baarn and Barneveld refer to general finding places for heating material, not amber, as per the Dutch Baarn article. I added a

to hilite this. (talk) 21:39, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

I find this list of geographical names which contain elements that look or sound like 'amber' or 'bern(stein)', as well as the accompanying map, extremely suspicious. As the previous contributor observed, the accepted etymologies for many of these place names do not refer to 'amber' at all. In addition I would like to point out that many of the place names mentioned are much older than the introduction of the Arabic word 'amber' into Europe. And what shall I say about the inclusion of the Dutch-speaking Belgian town of Antwerp (nl: Antwerpen), which only in Spanish (es: Amberes) sounds like 'amber'? I propose, therefore, that the corresponding part of the article be deleted a.s.a.p. --Fabullus (talk) 09:04, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
I have added "disputed-section" tags to the relevant sections. --Fabullus (talk) 09:50, 6 July 2010 (UTC)


Can we have some info on WHEN Amber road existed? Centuries/eras?--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 01:38, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

One of the French routes runs by the La Tene Celtic region and may be an old Celtic trade route a few centuries before Christ. Another German route from the Baltic region passes the Celtic Halstatt region and may equally be dated a few centuries before Christ.

Another route from the Baltic region leading to the Pripjet valley and to the river Dnjepr may be the "Argonaut" route (to be located one century before the Trojan war, -> 1300 before Christ). In a famous map Herodot 440 before Christ named the Dnjepr river "Borysthenes", which (in local languages) is clearly to be interpreted as "Burn-stones" = "amber".

For more details: see the manuscript in:

And the maps in:

Johannes.Richter 18:28, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

The works of Herodotus in the original Greek don't include any maps! AnonMoos (talk) 21:31, 14 November 2010 (UTC)

Bern / Bernstein[edit]

The German word for amber is Bernstein. However, I have delete this remark in parenthesis, as it suggest that the etymology of the Swiss capital Bern has something to do with Bernstein, which is not true. The German translation of amber itself is redundant.

link to silk and incense road[edit]

i see silk road and incese road articles are linked. why not linking to them this one too? 13:48, 13 March 2007 (UTC)


afaik amber road passed through slovakia (river váh, river kysuca and jablunkov pass) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:21, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

Unidiomatic English[edit]

The last couple of sentences have been poorly written, sounding as if they have been penned by someone who does not speak English as a first language. We do not say 'routes are connecting' but 'routes connect', and just what exactly is an 'amber finding location'? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Thomani9212.219.233.158 (talk) 12:03, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

Meripihka = Sea Resin[edit]

This is the Finnish name for amber since 1700 BC and is one of the oldest names for amber still in use. The best quality amber was, and still is, that which the waves bring to the coast at (Kuurinkynnäs in Finnish, Kuurakunnas in Estonian, Kursiu nerijos in Lithuanian, Kurische Nehrung in German) a long narrow cape starting from Samland and ending just within a kilometre outside of Klaipeda, former German Memel. (Now frequent ferry connection). Kuurinkynnäs is formed from sand since Ice Period in Baltic area and have some fine looking pine forests. On the sea side there are in places over ten metres high sand dynes. When walking there some may found small pieces of sea resin on the shore line. It was very popular tourist centre in 1920 - 1939. After the WW2 it become part of Soviet Union. The northern part belonged to Lithuanian SSR, the southern part to Kaliningrad (former Königsberg) district. Now both are again very popular tourist areas. On the former German Samland peninsula have been Palmnicken amber deposits located at western side of Grosse Hausenberg near Kraxtepellen (Finnish Kurkipelto, direct transliteration Cranefield) which were used in 1917 - 1944 so effectively that the Germans built even an narrow gauge electric mining railway there. Russians continued the digging but the large scale amber mining industry was closed in 1970´s. The area was known Bernstein Küste in German and Swedish Björnstenkust but in Finnish Meripihkaranta. The The Gothos and Vikings used name Björnstenstrand of the western coast of ancient Sembalia peninsula. Thus the name is not of German origin. Björnsten is literally Bear Stone and I wonder just what it have to do with Sea Amber. The question is of Land Amber, the same amber, but founded from land deposits. It has also equal Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian and Russian names. Estonian Meerpihkrand is the same than Finnish name meaning also Sea Resin Coast. This seems to be also the original ancient Old Prussian Sembies tribe name I do not known its original Old Prussian name which existed before 1250, but the Estonian and Finnish names have been used all the time since sea resin become valuable in trading terms. Curonia is Latinized word of Kuurinmaa / Kuuramaa which it self was derived from Kurjenmaa (Craneland). The Kuurilaiset (Curonian) sea pirate tribes even had their secret harbours at Kurische Nehrung on the Haff side in Kurischer Haff when attacking Danish and Swedish Viking ships, later Hanseatic (Hansa) League commercial shipping in Baltic.

The Amber was first mentioned in written history by Herodotos who described of two (actually four, Agre, Opis, and later arrived Hyperokhe and Laodike) Hyperbolian maidens which carried with them amber jewerly as Holy Gifts to the Apollo temple in Delos Island and were the only "marras" to be buried in the Delos. They are the first mentioned travellers of the Amber Road. They arrived to holy town named Donoda and then continued their journey to Delos Island.

The Meripihkatie (Amber road) started from Samland Peninsula and ended to Venezia or Trieste, but just to the bottom of Adriatic Sea. This route has existed via Vistula, through Bohemia, Austria and Slovenia to Trieste since Ramses II was the Farao of the Egypt or even earlier. After Egypt there were in turn amber booms in China, India, Middle East, Greece, Roman Empire etc. Its value was more than gold. There are published exact figures of its value compared what one could buy with one piece of amber in Rome during the time of Roman Empire. The northern end was in hands of Baltic, old Prussian, and Finnish Liivi (Livonian) peoples , later since 1260´s the Germans and for period the Poles. The diggings were made mainly using slaves. The Foinikians were first to known to handle the sea trade, but the land route was found to be faster despite crossing Alps. This was one of the best known trade routes in Europe during the Middle Age. The value of amber was roughly ten times higher than similar weight nugget of gold. The first route did not run at all through Germany but taking slightly more eastern route.

The Rosh women carried also amber jewerly as mentioned by Ibn Fadlan from Bagdad Califate in his describtion of Itil (Volga) Bolgaria dated from 921 - 922. This has helped the locate the Rosh to be Finno Ugrian and Curonians from Moonsund Archipelago (Ösel, Dagö, Mühn / Saaremaa, Hiiumaa and Muhu / Saarenmaa, Hiidenmaa / Muhu) which had by the time population of Aests (Estonian), Finnish, and Liivinmaalaiset (Livonians) and Kuurinmaalaiset (Curonians) in addition to Swedish Roslagen Coast inhabitants. Described to be the worstest nests of Baltic Pirates by the Deutsch. But actually they were peaceful traders not pirates. They used to drink "sima" a traditional drink of the area linked to their religious traditions during the pre White Crist era, and their women who followed their men, carried also large beast plates made from gold, silver and bronze, typical for all Finno Ugrians, but not for the Scandinavians from Denmark, Norway and Sweden, except the Roslagen Archipelago (Ruotshi) area where the population where mixture of Swedish and Finnish by that time. All abobe mentioned details could not been identified by respective Cambridge researcher James E.Montgomery using only Swedish sources, but not at all Estonian and Finnish sources due linguistical promlems. The Eastern Roads from Sembia via Gulf of Finland, Laatokka (Ladoga), and the Roshland rivers were important also for amber trade to the Caspian Sea and beyond using the Silk Road, the international Euroasian commercial highway uniting different cultures and peoples. In return direction came the Turkoman silver and even pearls from Andaman Islands. Cheers. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:44, 11 July 2008 (UTC)


The article includes external links to sites by Johannes.Richter (talk · contribs); these sites seem to have been used as sources for information for the "Overview of known amber roads by country". However, this seems to be an example of a self-published source. Olessi (talk) 00:06, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

Prussia? I was stricken by reading (in the head article) that Amber Road in Roman times run from Prussia to Adriatic. Why from Prussia? It obviously didn't exist in Roman times! Amber Road was an ancient trade route, in relation to which the fact that part of it was once controlled by Teutonic Knights and later East Prussia, Prussia and 3rd Reich and is now mostly within borders of Poland seems relatively irrelevant. I'd suggest using modern maps and references to presently existing states or using names of geographical regions rather than political states. (Swawrzyczek (talk) 03:23, 3 March 2010 (UTC))

It could refer to the lands of ancient Baltic peoples (the original Prussians)... AnonMoos (talk) 05:14, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

Inconsistent The second sentence reads:"As one of the waterways and ancient highways, for centuries the road led from Europe to Asia and back, and from northern Africa to the Mediterranean Sea." I'd say that is a pretty short road, going from northern africa to the mediterranean sea. I'm feeling ballsy so i'll change it to Baltic sea.  :) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:33, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

[Source - "River Openia?"] I am unable to find any reference at all to a "River Openia" in Europe. This casts doubt not only on the veracity of the specific statement where this is included, but the rest of the contributions by the same writer. Can anyone present a valid reference for this location? If not, I have to say that this would lead me to conclude that most if not all of the latter sections of this article are potentially unverifiable and should be considered for deletion. -SDT — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sernus Duae Turriae (talkcontribs) 06:15, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

Scientific Status of the Amber Road Hypothesis[edit]

I'm a Scandy archaeologist and I have never come across any good scholarly support for the Amber Road hypothesis. The Bronze Age during which it was supposedly active is a prehistoric period in Northern Europe, so there cannot be any written sources and any current place names will only be relevant to far later periods. This article really needs references to recent authoritative sources in the academic archaeological literature. Martin Rundkvist (talk) 11:12, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

Not sure what you mean -- there was obviously no physical road in most places, and there were a variety of alternative routes and sub-routes which shifted with circumstances, but nevertheless Baltic amber did find its way to the Mediterranean... AnonMoos (talk) 04:53, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
We don't know what routes the amber took. Archaeologists are no longer confident in drawing any such route on the map. The article needs references to recent authoritative sources in the academic archaeological literature. Martin Rundkvist (talk) 21:42, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
We know where the amber is found, and we know some of the main entry points of the amber into the Mediterranean area (at least during some periods), so we do have some generalized information... AnonMoos (talk) 21:37, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
Then please find support in current archaeological literature. I would put it in if I knew of any. I believe this is a discarded hypothesis, but I could be wrong. Martin Rundkvist (talk) 09:08, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
Are you saying that there's no evidence that Baltic amber reached the Mediterranean, or that we only have a very crude and approximate knowledge of the routes by which Baltic amber reached the Mediterranean, or something else? -- AnonMoos (talk) 14:29, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
I'm saying that we have evidence for the end points but none to my knowledge for the road, which is the article's theme. For all I know the amber may have travelled by boat through the Straits of Gibraltar. Martin Rundkvist (talk) 18:58, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
I bet it didn't (in any significant quantities), considering that would be a very indirect route between the Baltic and the Adriatic. Certain Victorian Englishmen were highly enamored of the idea that Phoenician ships sailed from Tartessos to Cornwall for tin to alloy for bronze, but no real hard evidence for this has turned up (speaking of hypotheses unsupported by archaeology). AnonMoos (talk) 06:53, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
You and I can bet any way we want, the article still needs sourcing in current authoritative literature. Martin Rundkvist (talk) 12:37, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
  • This article looked a lot better before January 2013, when the Amber Road suddenly went from being "an ancient trade route" to "a hypothetical ancient trade route". I see this was added by Martin above, who says "I believe this is a discarded hypothesis, but I could be wrong." You seem to acknowledge that there are plenty of sources on the Amber Road, but they are all now brushed aside by your tentatively uncited belief? I didn't know it could work like that... Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 14:43, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
The statement that the Amber Road existed has now lost the qualifier "hypothetical" that I put in. What then is the authoritative reference that supports this? It's a paper about the Near East -- not about the area through which the route allegedly went -- in an obscure journal published elsewhere. Is that really the best we can to? No recent paper in Germania or Praehistorisches Zeitschrift? No article in the new Hoops Reallexikon? If Wikipedia is to treat the Amber Road as anything beyond an old archaeological hypothesis, then there should be better referencing here. Martin Rundkvist (talk) 20:07, 27 October 2013 (UTC)

Amber Route[edit] Good day, my written English is not the best. So can someone please update the amber route. This is the only atifact that I know about that dates from Atilla the Hun, and the AVAR period 5th to 8th Centry. It is located 8kn from Brno Moravia. No aritfacts have ever been found on Bohemian soil to my knowledge. But maybe someone should read history more carefully. Because I am far from an expert. But didn't Atilla the Hun and the later Avar's first enter Europe through the Silk road to raid the Roman Empire. It's written in Latin and Greek but there are many citie's and rivers named. None are on todays Czech Lands, . The rivers named are the Volga, Rhina, Danube. Also the chronicle of fredegar "slavic" "Befulci" can mean many things page 149 here: : or even google:define:Benfulci. If anyone can help in updating I will be greatfull. Casurgis from Sydney — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:20, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

The 5th to 8th centuries A.D. were fairly late in the history of the Baltic-Mediterranean amber trade... AnonMoos (talk) 04:53, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

first picture[edit]

calling the first picture "The Amber Road" is clearly wrong and misleading. in the german wiki it is described as the east route of the amber road. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:28, 12 December 2013 (UTC)