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1,200-Year-Old Old Norse Temple Found in Norway

Friday, October 9, 2020

Norway Old Norse TempleBERGEN, NORWAY—Live Science reports that the postholes of a 1,200-year-old Old Norse temple have been uncovered on the west coast of Norway by a team of researchers led by archaeologist Søren Diinhoff of the University Museum of Bergen. The Norse used such distinctive wooden temples, known as god houses, for sacrifices to the Old Norse gods at the midsummer and midwinter solstices. The structure is thought to have been used by a group of wealthy families who had contact with the Roman Empire and Germanic tribes in northern Europe. This temple measured about 45 feet long, 26 feet wide, and stood about 40 feet tall. Later god houses also had a high tower set above a pitch roof, resembling Christian basilicas built in Europe. “It would have been very impressive,” Diinhoff said. Cooking pits for preparing feasts, animal bones, and a large white stone that may have been used during fertility rituals have also been found at the site. Many god houses were destroyed in the eleventh century, when Norway’s kings established Christianity in the country. To read about a recently deciphered runestone inscription tied to Ragnarok, the apocalyptic battle of the Norse gods against their enemies, go to "The Emperor of Stones."

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