NIKU’s archaeologists are specialists in archaeological evaluation, registration and excavation, and have considerable experience in this field. We employ the latest documentation technology and collaborate with scientific institutions to analyse archaeological samples. Excavations in medieval towns, churches, monasteries and fortified sites are commissioned by the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage, whereas other projects may be ordered by, for example, county councils.
Archaeological excavations normally take place in connection with infrastructural development such as house building, road construction, laying cables and pipes, and installing tanks. The excavated material is removed, but in the process activated as archaeological source material. This provides new and exciting knowledge. Objects and, occasionally, larger structures such as shipwrecks and house ruins are conserved. These are stored or exhibited in museums.
NIKU produces reports documenting the results of excavations and analyses carried out in the field. Research funds can be allocated to enable further investigations based on excavated material and documentation, and to disseminate exciting cultural history to a broader public.
NIKU has carried out more than 1,000 archaeological investigations of various sizes since 1994. Prehistoric fields, the remains of buildings in the medieval towns, and former royal palaces have been found, as have houses containing elements of everyday life or craftwork and cemeteries with well-preserved skeletons. Other finds include docks, shipwrecks, the remains of churches, and large quantities of objects that can tell us what life was like in medieval towns.