Astonishing Ancient Viking Temple Discovered in Norway
Many of us became familiar with the Viking gods Odin and Thor while watching the excellent TV series ‘Vikings’ on the History channel. We learned quickly from how the Norse culture was depicted just how those two gods were revered.
That’s what makes actual discoveries like this very special. It validates the way many of us view Viking society and brings it to life.
Ancient pagan temple discovered
A 1200-year-old temple to Old Norse gods Thor and Odin was recently unearthed in Norway¹. This is an amazingly rare relic from a religion created hundreds of years before Christianity became the primary religion in the region.
Here are the 5 Death Rituals that have Sent People Into the Afterlife
Would you bury a loved one using one of these unusual methods?
The temple is a large wooden building that measures around 45 feet long, 26 feet wide, and approximately 40 feet high. Archaeologists estimate that the structure was built sometime during the later eighth century. It was used for worship, and sacrifices to their gods were offered during the midwinter and midsummer solstices.
First Old Norse temple ever found in Norway
The Old Norse culture built a reputation that was both feared and famous. In those days, everyone was horrified by the stories of Viking warriors and sailors coming ashore to raid, rape, and burn their communities².
As time passed, these Norse raiders began trading and colonizing Europe and into distant lands like Greenland, Iceland, and Canada.
The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend: A Myth Embraced by Fools
An example when this myth blew up in the faces of believers
Surprisingly, this discovery is the first Viking temple found in Norway, according to archaeologist Søren Diinhoff from the University Museum in Bergen.
“This is the first time we’ve found one of these very special, very beautiful buildings,” Diinhoff said. “We know them from Sweden, and we know them from Denmark. … This shows that they also existed in Norway.”
Vikings started constructing large ‘god houses’ during the sixth century. These god houses were far more complicated than previous sites. They were used for worshiping the Old Norse gods.
“It is a stronger expression of belief than all the small cult places,” Diinhoff further said. “This is probably something to do with a certain class of the society, who built these as a real ideological show.”
The story behind the discovery
The god house became a link between the Old Norse gods and local people. They believed that their gods lived in the heavenly realm of Asgard. A ‘rainbow bridge’ called Bifröst was what connected the earthly realm Midgard to Asgard.
Emergence is The New Amazing Field of Science
This fascinating look at complex systems is raising eyebrows
This ancient god house was unearthed at Ose, a seaside town close to Ørsta in western Norway. The area had been zoned for new housing development.
Post-holes of the structure that outlined its unique shape and primary central tower were unearthed at the site. It is believed that the Ose god house hosted sacrificial fires, as it had wooden statues of the war god Odin, the storm god Thor, and Freyr, the fertility god.
The site is beside the coast among mountains and inlets, about 150 miles south-west of Trondheim’s modern city. Boathouses would have been built along the shore in ancient times.
The discovery site is located on the coast alongside various inlets and mountains. Boathouses were likely built along the shoreline. It would be hard to find a more fitting location for a Viking settlement.
This excavation also uncovered evidence of earlier settlements that dated as far back as 2500 years ago.
You’ll Be Impressed by these 6 Revolutionary Medieval Scientists
Experts believe their intelligence would challenge Einstein
However, the god house remains at Ose came from a period when wealthy families dominated the region. This resulted from Scandinavian society mingling with the elite members of both the Germanic tribes of northern Europe and the Roman Empire.
“When the new socially differentiated society set in, in the Roman Iron Age, the leading families took control of the cult,” Dinhoff added.
He also emphasized how Norse religion became more organized and ideological and that the god houses at Ose used Christian basilicas as a model for their structures.
Suppression of worship
During the 11th century, Norway’s kings suppressed the Old Norse religion while forcing Christian religion upon their subjects³. They ordered all Vikings places of worship to be destroyed, burned down, and torn down.
Amazing Carbon Nanosheets from Spinach May Energize Fuel Cells
Popeye knew something that no one else did
At this point, there’s no indication that this movement targeted the Ose god house. Yet many feel that more analysis in the future will reveal that it was among the pagan structures destroyed by these Christian kings.
: Archaeology World Team. (October 9, 2020). 1,200-Year-Old Pagan Temple to Thor and Odin Unearthed in Norway. https://archaeology-world.com/1200-year-old-pagan-temple-to-thor-and-odin-unearthed-in-norway/.
: Patrick Cockburn. (April 6, 2014). The Vikings were feared for a reason. https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/vikings-were-feared-reason-9241032.html.
: Dan McCoy. The Vikings’ Conversion to Christianity. https://norse-mythology.org/the-vikings-conversion-to-christianity/.