Archaeologists Believe They Found a Marketplace From the Viking Age in Norway

Norway’s Klosterøy island is known for being the location of Utstein Abbey, the best-preserved monastery from the medieval age in the country. But the place appears to have more historical significance than experts previously believed and might contain remains of a marketplace from the Viking Age.

During recent examinations using ground-penetrating radar, a team of archeologists from the University of Stavanger’s Museum of Archaeology discovered several pit houses and other constructions like cooking pits and boathouse foundations, which made them believe the island was home to a Viking marketplace at some point. These pit houses, which have floors below ground level, were common for the Viking age and can be found all across Scandinavia and Europe.

Their theory is supported by various items found by a metal detector on previous occasions, including weighs and coins.

“We have received numerous metal detector finds from Utstein in recent years, including items associated with trade, such as weights and coins. One of the things we wanted to investigate with the ground-penetrating radar was whether there could be additional traces of trade activity. I am therefore not surprised that the results now indicate that Utstein was indeed a marketplace in the Viking Age and early Middle Ages,” said Hakon Reiersen, associate professor at the University of Stavanger, in a conversation with Science Norway.

In order for scientists to confirm their theory, further research is needed. However, it is unlikely it will be anytime soon, considering that the site is on private land and that the project would require significant funding.

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