The skull is 600 years old was discovered in 1878 during construction of the Speicherstadt on Grasbrook. It is said to have belonged to the famous pirate Klaus Störtebeker. Legend has it that he was decapitated on Grasbrook along with 30 followers on October 20, 1400. Their heads were nailed on stakes at the entry to the harbour as a warning to others. Since the nail was hammered into this head very carefully, it was assumed that it belonged to Störtebeker since his executioners, so the theory, had handled it with special attention to ensure that it remained recognisable for a long time.
Although the identity of the skull remains uncertain it is one of the oldest exhibits in the Hamburg Museum collection, having been on show here since the museum opened in 1922. Only very few such exhibits still exist in Europe today. Along with the skull, you will also see a reconstruction of the face of Hamburg’s most famous and notorious pirate.