Archaeologists Discover Major Viking Settlement Beneath Church Ruins in Norway

It seems that the demolished St. Clement's church, where Olaf II of Norway was enshrined, held more secrets than originally thought. Recent archaeological excavations showed that the area lies on top of an old Viking settlement and an even older church.

Norway excavation site - Ruins of St. Clement's church
The excavation site in Trondheim, Norway. |

Last year, scientists unearthed the foundation of an old wooden stave church in Tronheim, Norway, which many believed to be the site where King Olaf Haraldsson, was enshrined after his sainthood in the 11th century.

Archaeologists from the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research believed the site to be St. Clement's, a church built in 1015, which was reduced to rubble during the 13th century.

Further diggings in the area began in February with the use of laser scanning technology. Recent excavations showed that deep below the discovered church ruins are more ancient remains of a settlement, including an even older church.

Excavation leader Anna Petersen relayed in an email to Fox News that the diggings trace back to the Iron Age.

"We have identified rich remains of an Iron Age settlement on the site, most likely belonging to a Viking Age 'kaupang,' sealed under thick deposits of natural sand that have been formed by a flooding of the river Nidelva," said Petersen.

Vikings trade their goods in the marketplace also called a "kaupang" and the researchers think that the place used to be a flourishing trade center.

For the group to further investigate the settlement, it said the ruins of the St. Clement's church t be removed to give them deeper access to the ground.

"We will soon begin to remove the remains of the upper church and are eager to find more posts and postholes relating to the previous building in the sand," said the excavation leader. "And as the last of many highlights from this spectacular site we will explore the Viking Age settlement."

Olaf II Haraldsson was the King of Norway until his defeat and death at the Battle of Stiklestad. His reign in the Scandinavian country lasted from 1015 to 1028.

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