With the help of a metal detector, UiT student Tor-Erik Krokmyrdal recovered objects dating back to the Viking Age. He made the find while he was working on his master's thesis.
The find was made at the town of Sandtorg in Tjeldsund, which is located in Harstad Municipality.
"This discovery means that from now on, researchers need to rethink how societies and trade functioned in this region in the Viking Age and the Early Middle Ages," archaeologist Marte Spangen noted. Spangen is Krokmyrdal's supervisor for his thesis work.
It all began with a name
In July of 2020, Krokmyrdal told the university's website that his curiosity was aroused by the name of the place – Sandtorg.
Krokmyrdal decided to check the name in a set of books: Norske Gaardnavne (in English: Norwegian Farm Names), which is based on a manuscript written between 1897 and 1924 by University of Oslo professor of archaeology, philology, and history Oluf Rygh.
Through Rygh's analysis of Norwegian farm names, Krokmyrdal discovered that "Sandtorg" means "square" or "trading place."
Despite the lack of archaeological evidence that trade took place at the site, the interpretation made Krokmyrdal curious – so he followed up by researching the area. And his intuition paid off!
A range of objects
Krokmyrdal unveiled jewelry, weights, silver, payment silver, and large amounts of iron at the site. His findings indicate that the exchange of goods at Sandtorg may have included the repair or construction of ships.
Furthermore, Krokmyrdal discovered objects imported from Finland, the British Isles, and central Europe.
However, he believes that the large amounts of iron lying near the beach during that time are his most significant find. They suggest that there must have been an iron forge at Sandtorg – and maybe even a boatyard.
We're excited to see further analyses of the objects, as well as Krokmyrdal's work in the future!
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