Scientists discover one of the largest longhouses in Scandinavia near the Gjellestad Viking ship

Illustration: Lars Gustavsen / NIKU, photo: Arild L. Teigen / Viken fylkeskommune

Archaeologists from the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) have discovered a 60-meter longhouse at Gjellestad in Norway – it is considered to be one of the largest longhouses in Scandinavia.

The same team of researchers discovered a Viking ship at the location in 2018, so with this new find, the importance of Gjellestad has been determined without a doubt.

Over the next few years, scientists will work on determining how Gjellestad became such an important place in the late Nordic Iron Age.

In the autumn of 2021, the NIKU examined areas close to where the Gjellestad Viking ship was found using ground-penetrating radar (GPR) technology. The examinations were carried out as the first part of the research project Viking Nativity: Gjellestad Across Borders.

Within the project framework, archaeologists, historians, and other experts aim to learn more about Gjellestad during the Nordic Iron Age, the Viking Herald reports.

A “striking discovery

The team has already made a new amazing discovery – that of a 60-meter-long longhouse.

“We have found several buildings, all typical Iron Age longhouses, north of the Gjellestad ship. The most striking discovery is a 60-meter-long and 15-meter-wide longhouse, a size that makes it one of the largest we know of in Scandinavia,” archaeologist Lars Gustavsen at the NIKU stated.

Gustavsen has been the field supervisor of the GPR surveys, and he plans to write his PhD based on them, according to the NIKU’s website.

“To have results such as these as a starting point is more than I could ask for,” he noted.

Other buildings and burial mounds

Along with the longhouse, the surveys also detected four other buildings at approx. 15-30 meters in length and up to 13 meters in width. They also discovered several plowed-out burial mounds in the fields north of the Gjellestad farm.

“We are not surprised to have found these burial mounds, as we already know there are several others in the surrounding area. Viken County archaeologists have excavated the area previously and made finds that would indicate more burial mounds here. Still, these are important to know about to get a more complete picture of Gjellestad and its surroundings,” Gustavsen said.

 One of the five longhouses found near the Gjellestad ship is 60 meters, making it one of the largest in Scandinavia. 

Source: #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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