Deep in the Vinjefjorden in Trøndelag is a village called Vinjeøra. The E39 highway runs past it and they plan to expand the road here. Right on the spot of a Viking Age farm. This gives archaeologists a unique opportunity to excavate the land and the Viking Age cemetery here.
At the moment, September 2019, the excavation is still ongoing. The NTNU University, however, has shared this press release about significant discovery. On site is a burial mound that no longer exists and is only visible by the outlines of a ring ditch. At the heart of this mound archaeologists have found a building structure of five by three meters. We know only of 15 similar structures in Norway. They call them ‘mortuary’ houses and there are different theories on how these houses function. One idea is that they were a morgue, but the other suggests that this was a more spiritual place, where the deceased could dwell in the afterlife.
The excavation is scheduled to last until next year. This means that we will have to wait a while longer for the first published academic articles. It will be very interesting to see if the cemetery and the house lead to any new insights about Viking Age burial practices in Norway.