This summer archeologists from The Norwegian Institute of Cultural Heritage (NIKU) have carried out excavations over the remains of the Elgeseter Priory.
Above: 3D model of the excavation site.
Kings remains moved to the Priory
According to written sources, the Viking king Harald Hardrade was buried in the priory church. The king died in the Battle of Stamford Bridge at York in 1066, an event which by many is seen as the end of the Viking Age. He was first buried in St Mary’s Church in Trondheim, and later his remains were moved to Elgeseter Priory. The priory burned in 1564 and there are no visible ruins of the buildings.
Archeologists have now found a stone construction underneath the pavement that appears to be a burial chamber, close to the altar of the church.
Granted permission to examine the possible burial chamber
The excavations were originally carried out in a limited area, as they are a part of an ongoing project updating technical infrastructure in Trondheim. The Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage has now granted the archeologists permission to further examination this mysterious stone construction.
– If the stone construction is a part of a burial chamber, the placement close to the church altar indicates that it is the resting place of someone important. Knowing that Elgeseter Priory is the burial place of King Harald Hardrade, there is a chance that we can find his remains, says archeologist and project manager Chris McLees
If it turns out to be a burial chamber, the Directorate for Cultural Heritage will decide the next steps, and how to safeguard what could be the remains of one of the most prominent figures in early Norwegian history.