The Church at Avaldsnes Photo: Mark Voigt. Wikimedia Commons. CC-BY-SA-3.0.

Medieval ruins at Avaldsnes

NIKU is carrying out an archaeological investigation of the medieval ruins at Avaldsnes rectory in Karmøy Municipality, the physical traces of an important royal estate in the High Middle Ages. The ruins, which were excavated during the Avaldsnes Royal Manor Project are to be conserved and the surrounding landscape adapted to resemble how it once may have been. The investigation involves excavation of smaller areas both within and outside of the ruins, in order to accomodate the conservation of the walls and display the ruins prominently in the landscape.

The ruin consists of at least two stone buildings from the High Middle Ages, connected with Olavskirka (St. Olav’s Church). According to written sources, Olavskirka was commenced by Håkon IV Håkonson around 1250, and the other buildings are probably partly built at the same time as the church and during the subsequent decades.

The Avaldsnes Royal Manor Project was an excavation- and research project carried out by the Museum of Cultural History and the University of Oslo (KHM) during the period of 2011–2017. The project contributed significantly to new knowledge of the settlement at Avaldsnes during the Iron – and Middle Ages; the strategic placement near a bottleneck in the fairway along the Norwegian coast forms the background of the unusual concentration of wealth and power in the area, first as a chiefdom for so-called ‘sea kings’, later as an important part of the administrative seat of the medieval kings.

Project manager: Kristine Ødeby

  • Status
    In progress
  • Client
    Karmøy kommune
  • Time