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NIKU archaeologists find longhouses using GPR

The Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) has examined areas close to where the Gjellestad ship was found through the use of ground-penetrating radar (GPR). The surveys are the first part of the research project Viking Nativity: Gjellestad Across Borders, where archaeologists, historians, and Viking Age specialists examine the development of Gjellestad during the Nordic Iron Age.

Even before the project is underway, they have made exciting discoveries.

One of the five longhouses found near the Gjellestad ship is 60 meters long, making it one of the largest in Scandinavia. Image courtesy of Teigen/VIken fylkeskommune.

“We have found several buildings, all typical Iron Age longhouses, north of the Gjellestad ship. The most striking discovery is a 60-meter long and 15-meter wide longhouse, a size that makes it one of the largest we know of in Scandinavia,” said archaeologist Lars Gustavsen, NIKU.

Gustavsen will be writing his PhD based on the GPR surveys from Gjellestad, and has been the field supervisor of the geophysical surveys.

“To have results such as these as a starting point is more than I could ask for,” he said.

In addition to the 60-meter longhouse the GPR surveys have also resulted in the discovery of four other buildings of approximately 15 to 30 meters in length and up to 13 meters wide. They have also found several plowed-out burial mounds in the fields north of the Gjellestad farm.

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