The saga in question is Sverre's Saga, which is a chronicle about a Norwegian king. Indeed, it is actually one of the very few that describes the events of the Viking Age and Medieval times in Norway. 

Until this discovery, there remained doubts about whether the stories of the saga were true. This finding, however, shows that the saga's story has at least some truth to it.

As the project leader at the site, Anna Petersén noted, "As far as I know, there is no known example of the discovery of an individual historically connected with an act of war as far back as the year 1197. The fact that this actually corroborates an event described in Sverre's Saga is simply amazing," according to the website of the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU).

Archaeologists at work. Photo: Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU)

The story of King Sverre Sigurdsson

The story goes that in the year 1197, King Sverre Sigurdsson and his Birkebeiner mercenaries were attacked and subsequently defeated by his rivals, the Baglers, in his castle stronghold called Sverresborg. 

The Baglers did not only destroy the buildings there but also the freshwater supply of the castle. This was done by throwing one of King Sverre's dead men into the well, which they then filled with stones.

READ MORE: What you need to know about Norse sagas

Now that the archaeologists have excavated the well, they have been able to confirm that this story is, in fact, true. 

Radiocarbon dating

After radiocarbon dating parts of the skeleton which they found at the bottom of the well, it showed that this person had both lived and died in the late 12th century. 

Interestingly enough, this was also the same time that the saga's story took place. These excavations also showed the timber posts and the lining that belonged to the castle's walls.

As Petersén concludes, "this is a unique glimpse of an important historical event. You can almost feel it. It's almost as if you were there". 

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