Archaeologists using ground-penetrating radar have detected five longhouses in Østfold county, Norway. One of the ancient buildings is approximately 60 m (197 feet) long, making it one of the largest in Scandinavia.
The five Viking longhouses were found at the archaeological site of Gjellestad, where the same team discovered a Viking ship in 2018.
“We found several buildings, all typical Iron Age longhouses, north of the Gjellestad ship,” said Dr. Lars Gustavsen, an archaeologist at the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research.
“The most striking discovery is a 60 m (197 feet) long and 15 m (49 feet) wide longhouse, a size that makes it one of the largest we know of in Scandinavia.”
“To have results such as these as a starting point is more than I could ask for,” he added.
According to the archaeologists, the four other buildings at Gjellestad are between 15 and 30 m (49-98 feet) in length and up to 13 m (43 feet) wide.
They also found several ploughed-out burial mounds in the fields north of the Gjellestad farm.
“We are not surprised to have found these burial mounds, as we already know there are several others in the surrounding area,” Dr. Gustavsen said.
“Still, these are important to know about to get a more complete picture of Gjellestad and its surroundings.”
The Gjellestad longhouses were discovered as part of the research project Viking Nativity: Gjellestad Across Boar.
“We do not know how old the houses are or what function they had,” said Dr. Sigrid Mannsåker Gundersen, an archaeologist with Viken county.
“Archaeological excavations and dating will help us get an answer to this.”
“Finding these longhouses confirms that Gjellestad was a central place in the Late Iron Age,” Dr. Gustavsen added.
“Our hope is that within the next years, we will understand the relationship between the ship, the buildings and the rise of central places much better.”