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It is a ‘house of the gods’, true temples that were built from the 6th century on, inspired by the Christian churches that the Vikings had observed on their travels to more southern lands.
The foundations of a pre-Christian temple they were discovered last month in the commune of Orsta, on the west coast of Norway. Archaeologists at the University of Bergen Museum, working on the site, reconstructed on a computer what the building likely looked like.
Scientists believe that the building, 14 meters long, 8 wide and up to 12 meters high, was a 'house of the gods' that was used to worship and offer sacrifices to deities such as Thor and Odin during the summer solstices. and winter. Dating from the end of the 8th century, it is the oldest known structure of this type in Norway.Live Science quote to archaeologist Soren Diinhoff.
«This is the first time we have found one of these very special and beautiful buildings. We know them from Sweden and we know them from Denmark. […] This shows that they also existed in Norway«Said the researcher.
The archaeologist explained that the ‘houses of the gods’, which are much more complex than more primitive places of worship —often located outdoors—, were built from the 6th century. Its appearance was brought about by the differentiation of society from the ancient Germanics.
«It is an expression of faith stronger than the small places of worship. This probably has to do with a certain social class, which built them as a true ideological spectacle"Diinhoff explains, adding that at the time that 'house of the gods' was built, the cult was already controlled by the most powerful families.
At the same time, the temple of Orsta shows signs of strong Christian influenceemphasizes the archaeologist. In particular, it is believed to have had a tall tower on the sloping roof, similar to the towers of early Catholic churches seen by ancient Vikings on their travels south, Diinhoff believes, suggesting that "it was surely very impressive«.
As for the fate of the 'house of the gods'Currently archaeologists cannot understand why and how it was abandoned. So far they found no evidence that it was destroyed in the 11th century, when during the Christianization of Norway the ruling classes burned the ancient temples.