Iron Age garbage reveals hidden treasures

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Archaeologists from Norway’s NTNU University Museum in Trondheim have been making some stunning discoveries while examining a military air station site destined for expansion at nearby Ørland. The area that will be the base for Norway’s new fleet of F35 fighter jets was once an Iron Age settlement complete with longhouses in a highly strategic location.

“It was a sheltered area along the Norwegian coastal route from southern Norway to the northern coasts,” Ingrid Ystgaard, project manager at the Department of Archaeology and Coastal History at NTNU University Museum told Gemini.no, which releases science news from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and research organization SINTEF. “And it was at the mouth of Trondheim Fjord, which was a vital link to Sweden and the inner regions of mid-Norway.”

It’s still strategic, from a military point of view, and the site where Norwegian defense officials decided to base as many as 52 new F-35 fighter jets that are starting to roll off the production line in the US. Norwegian law requires archaeological surveys of all construction sites including the location for the expanded air station at Ørland, and allows for additional follow-up in the case of significant discoveries.

The archaeologists will now work on the site through the end of the 2016 field season. They’ve already found evidence of longhouses and garbage pits that are revealing everything from what residents ate 1,500 years ago to what they wore and how they lived. The site is so large, at around 91,000 square meters, that it allows the archaeologists “to really put things into context,” Ystgaard said, adding that “nothing like this has been examined anywhere in Norway before.”

To read Gemini.no’s full story on the excavation project, in English, click here.

newsinenglish.no staff