Archaeology Student Discovers Viking Trading Station in Northern Norway

Archaeology Student Discovers Viking Trading Station in Northern Norway

Archaeology Student Discovers Viking Trading Station in Northern Norway

A Norwegian student of archaeology has discovered a remote Viking settlement that will change the history of  Viking Age Norway’s, reports Torgeir Skeie and Laila Lanes for Norwegian broadcast network NRK.

The intrepid discoverer, Tor-Kjetil Krokmyrdal, is a Norwegian master ’s student from the Arctic University of Norway (UiT) who recently published details of his unexpected discovery of a Viking trading station in his archaeology master ’s thesis.

The student’s paper specifically reveals the location of a previously unknown Viking trading station at Sandtorg farm in Tjelsund, between the towns of Harstad and Narvik in northern Norway.

Tor-Kjetil Krokmyrdal was inspired by the name of Sandtorg Farm, near Tjelsund, in northern Norway.

According to Science Norway, the research student explored the ancient site and discovered jewelry, coins, and pieces of silver coins used for payment, along with many objects imported from the British Isles and Finland, Arabic coins and Asian jewellery, which together make Norwegian archaeology professors “rethink the Viking activity in northern Norway.”

The array of items suggests the Sandtorg site was once an important site for the exchange of goods, making it the first Viking-era trading hub ever found in northern Norway, according to NRK.

Prior research has established that Vågan, a municipality in the nearby district of Lofoten, was a key economic center during the medieval period, but the newly uncovered artifacts indicate that extensive trade occurred in Sandtorg as early as the ninth century A.D. Located near a powerful ocean current, the village would have been a logical destination for nautical voyages.

Silver found at Sandtorg farm, near Tjelsund, in northern Norway. During Viking times, silver could be used to pay for goods and as a resource for silversmiths.

“The location is … very strategic in terms of trade,” says Krokmyrdal in a statement. “The current at Sandtorg is really strong, and all the travelers would have to wait until the current turned before they could continue their journey.”

Krokmyrdal decided to pursue archaeology after his hobby of combing the countryside with a metal detector began turning up intriguing finds.

His investigation of the Sandtorg farm came down to its name: The Norwegian suffix -torg means market or trading place, notes Forbes, but no records or previously unearthed archaeological evidence pointed toward the existence of a trading post at the site.

Artifacts discovered by Tor-Kjetil Krokmyrdal at Sandtorg farm, believed to have once been a Viking trading station, include objects of Eastern origin (on the left) and from the British Isles (on the right).

Initial searches proved fruitless, but Krokmyrdal’s luck changed when he realized the areas in which he was concentrating his efforts would have been underwater during the Viking Age, per the statement. Once he shifted focus to higher ground, the finds came quickly.

An Asian decoration worn on a belt or a strap and Arabic coins were among the most exciting discoveries, Krokmyrdal tells NRK.

In addition to these far-flung finds, the metal detector survey yielded large quantities of iron that suggest metalwork was conducted at the site.

The graduate student also posits that the Vikings may have built or repaired boats and ships at Sandtorg.

“This discovery means that from now on, researchers need to rethink how societies and trade functioned in this region in the Viking Age and the Early Middle Ages,” says Krokmyrdal’s thesis advisor, archaeologist Marte Spangen, in the statement.

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