Medieval “King’s Wharf” Uncovered in Norway

News May 22, 2023

OSLO, NORWAY—Science Norway reports that excavations ahead of a construction project in Bjørvika, an area that had been the harbor of medieval Oslo, unearthed a section of wharf measuring more than 25 feet long. Håvard Hegdal of the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) said that sections of this wharf were first discovered in the 1990s, but he did not expect to find such a large section of the structure during the current investigation. “The dimensions of the timber here are insane,” Hegdal said. “The logs are twice as thick as any we have found before.” The timbers, he added, were found beneath a layer of blue clay marking a late fourteenth– or early fifteenth–century landslide. Hegdal and his colleagues also noted that the wharf lies in a straight line from the fjord to the medieval location of Kongsgården, the royal estate. Samples of the wood will be dated more precisely through dendrochronological analysis, and could allow the researchers to determine which king built the structure. Hegdal explained that a 3-D digital model of the wharf has been created, but the logs have been removed from the site and only a corner of one bulwark has been preserved. For more on archaeology in Norway, go to "Viking Trading or Raiding?"

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