- Head of department —
- Digital Archaeology
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.
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.
"This will be exciting for all of us, regardless of whether you are an archaeologist or just have a medium interest in our past," says Viking ship expert Knut Paasche.
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