Viking market with an area of almost 2 square kilometers found in Norway

Maria Tsikhotska

Viking market with an area of almost 2 square kilometers found in Norway
There was a Viking market on this site. Source: Heritage Daily

Archaeologists from the University of Stavanger have unveiled unexpected evidence pointing to the existence of a Viking-era marketplace on Klosterøy Island in southwestern Norway. This 1.7-square-kilometer island is located off the southern coast of the Boknafjorden fjord among the Rennesøy group of islands.

The GPR survey revealed traces of habitation pits and the foundations of a boathouse with three piers next to the Utstein Monastery. Associate Professor Håkon Reijersen of the Museum of Archaeology explained that the team began the research because of numerous findings of searchers in the area - items related to trade, such as scales and coins. This was reported by Heritage Daily.

"One of the questions we wanted to answer with GPR was whether there was additional evidence of trade activity. So I'm not surprised by the results, which indicate that Utstein was indeed a marketplace during the Viking and early Middle Ages," said Reijersen.

Kristopher Hillesland from the Museum of Archaeology at Stavanger University noted that such pits were often used as craft workshops. Similar finds were found in Tensberg and Bjorkum in Lerdal.

Excavations on the island of Klosterøy have also revealed mounds, cooking pits, soil layers indicative of agriculture, and signs of settlement. The combination of these finds with trade-related objects strengthens the hypothesis that a Viking-era marketplace existed in Utstein.

However, some scientists doubt this hypothesis. Grete Moell Pedersen, a researcher at the University of Stavanger, said: "Although many signs indicate that there could have been a market here, we cannot say this 100% until we conduct further research to confirm the findings."

The GPR survey was conducted in cooperation with the owners of the farm, Utstein Gard, who are delighted with the discovery. They said: "We are very pleased that such findings have been made on our farm. We know that we live in a historically interesting area. Here, in Utstein, farming has been practiced at least since the Viking times. We have great interest and respect for the history of which our farm is a part."

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