Ruins of a 1,200-year-old pagan Viking temple discovered in Norway

Archaeologists from the University Museum of Bergen discovered during excavations in Western Norway the ruins of a pagan temple of the Viking age, 1.2 thousand years old, according to Sciencealert.

“This is the first old Norse temple found in the country,” said archaeologist and scientist Soren Dinhoff from the University Museum of Bergen.

The foundation of a building built several centuries before Christianity came to this region, archaeologists found in the village of Ose on the site where a residential complex is now being built. The temple, dating from the 8th century, was made of wood. Although the structure has long been gone, scientists were able to find out from the preserved holes in the pillars what it was like.

Archaeologists have found that the temples were built on the example of early Christian basilicas – with a high tower over a pitched roof. Travelers shared their knowledge about the construction of such buildings with the Vikings.

“It all looked impressive,” said Denhoff.

Scientists also claim that the Scandinavians began building “houses of the gods” in the VI century. Before that, religious rites were held in the open air. Major changes in society occurred when the Vikings began to interact with the Roman Empire and the Germanic tribes of Northern Europe.

According to Denhoff, then Scandinavian religious beliefs have become more ideologically driven and organized. The ceremonies were held inside the “house of God.” Important holidays were celebrated there, such as the winter and summer solstices. One of the key points of the rituals was the offering of meat, drinks, and sometimes precious metals to wooden figures of the main deities worshipped by the Vikings: Odin and the other twelve gods.

Scientists believe that the temple could have been destroyed in the XI century when the kings of Norway forcibly imposed the Christian religion and destroyed buildings associated with paganism.