Viking Nativity: Gjellestad Across Borders

It was a world senasation when a Viking ship was discovered at Gjellestad in Norway in 2018. This research project will give the answers to how Gjellestad was in the Iron Age and how it became a place of power in the Viking Age.

In 2018 an extensive and long-lived archaeological site was discovered during a ground-penetrating radar survey at Gjellestad outside Halden in Østfold (now Viken County).

Consisting of settlement traces in the form of large post-built structures and an extensive burial mound cemetery, which includes a ship burial, it has been suggested that Gjellestad represents an Iron Age central place on the eastern shores of the Oslofjord.

The site is situated in an area contested yet connected throughout the Iron Age. Therefore, it provides a highly suitable point of entry for investigating developments and fluctuations in the political landscapes, agents, communications and constellations in Viken and beyond, from the heyday of the Roman Empire to the emergence of the Scandinavian kingdoms in the late Viking Age.

To achieve these goals, we have assembled an interdisciplinary team of researchers with scientific expertise and qualifications relevant to all areas of the proposed research project, including the implementation of various archaeological prospection methods, experience in field methodology and data interpretation of archaeological sites from the Nordic Iron Age, as well as the use of digital documentation and analytical methods based on written and material evidence.

Although challenging, the project will cover a square kilometre with high-resolution geophysical surveys over a field period of 2-3 years. The central concept of the project is the use of state-of-the-art, large-scale geophysical surveys and minimally-invasive exploration of the surrounding environs in combination with archaeological and historical research on a larger geographical scale, thus underpinning the investigation of the centre at Gjellestad by its wider geo-political setting.

Gjellestad and similar sites are mostly known from very fragmented written and material sources. This project, can significantly add to our knowledge of socio-political development in the Nordic Iron Age.

Ground penetrating radar surveys The Gjellestad Ship was found with GPR. Photo: Arild Andreas Lunde Teigen, Viken county.
I løpet av de kommende to årene skal NIKU i dette forskningsprosjektet gjennomføre omfattende geofysiske undersøkelser rundt Gjellestad, Edøy, Sem, funnstedet for Tuneskipet og to til tre andre per dags dato ikke bestemte lokaliteter.
Will place the ship in a historical contextThe discovery of a Viking ship at Gjellestad in 2018 was a sensation. This research project will look at the ship in relation to the developement of the area in the Iron Age.

Read more:

  • Status
    In progress
  • Time
    2021-2025
Knut Paasche

Contact

Project leader Knut Paasche can answer your questions

Contact

Project participants:

Mari Arentz Østmo

Mari Arentz Østmo

  • Researcher

  • Museum of Cultural History, The University of Oslo
Sigrid Mannsåker Gundersen

Sigrid Mannsåker Gundersen

  • Archaeologists

  • Viken county
Frode Iversen

Frode Iversen

  • Professor

  • Museum of Cultural History, The University of Oslo
Christian Løchsen Rødsrud

Christian Løchsen Rødsrud

  • Researcher

  • Museum of Cultural History, The University of Oslo
Bjørn Bandlien

Bjørn Bandlien

  • Researcher

  • The University of South-Eastern Norway
Jon Vidar Sigurdsson

Jon Vidar Sigurdsson

  • Researcher

  • The Department of Archaelogy, Conservation and History, The University of Oslo
Rebecca Cannell

Rebecca Cannell

  • Researcher

  • Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO)

Nyhetsartikler

60 metre longhouse discovered with GPR near Viking ship at Gjellestad

At Gjellestad in Norway, archaeologists from the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) have found a 60 metre longhouse. There is no longer a doubt that Gjellestad, where the same team discovered a Viking ship in 2018, has been a central place in the late Nordic Iron Age. In the next few years, researchers will hopefully find the answer to how Gjellestad became such an important place.