1,200-year-old Pagan Temple to Thor, Odin discovered
Published: 14:34 9 October 2020
The remains of a 1,200-year-old Pagan Temple belonged to the Viking religion have discovered in Norway; Photo: Live Science
The remains of a 1,200-year-old Pagan Temple for the Old Norse gods such as Thor, Odin – a rare relic belonged to the Viking religion before Christianity became dominant – have been discovered at Ose, a seaside village near the town of Ørsta in western Norway.
According to Archaeologists, the large wooden building, about 45 feet long, 26 feet wide, and up to 40 feet (12 m) high is believed from the end of the eighth century and was used for worship and sacrifices to gods during the midsummer and midwinter solstices.
“This is the first Old Norse temple found in the country,” said archaeologist Søren Diinhoff of the University Museum of Bergen.
“This is the first time we’ve found one of these very special, very beautiful buildings,” Diinhoff told Live Science, adding, “We know them from Sweden and we know them from Denmark.… This shows that they also existed in Norway.”
The Vikings began building these large “God Houses” in the sixth century which were much more complex than the simple sites, often outdoors, that the people previously used to worship the Old Norse gods.
“It is a stronger expression of belief than all the small cult places,” Diinhoff said, mentioning that “this is probably something to do with a certain class of the society, who built these as a real ideological show.”
Old Norse culture was famous and feared by some a century later, after bands of Norse sailors and warriors known as the ‘Vikings’ started trading, raiding and colonizing throughout Europe and into Iceland, Greenland and Canada.
The remains of the god house at Ose, however, are from a later time when the area began to be dominated by an elite group of wealthy families, a distinction that arose as Scandinavian societies began to interact with the more stratified societies of the Roman Empire and the Germanic tribes of northern Europe.
When the new socially differentiated society set in, in the Roman Iron Age, the leading families took control of the cult, said Søren Diinhoff.
He added: “Norse religious worship became more ideological and organized, and god houses at Ose were patterned on Christian basilicas that travelers had seen in southern lands, as a result, Old Norse temples featured a distinctive high tower above the pitched roof, which was a copy of the towers of early Christian churches.”
Although the wooden building is now long-gone, the post-holes that remain show its shape, including the round central posts of its tower, Diinhoff, adding, “It would have been very impressive.”
Source: Live Science
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