Author(s): S. Wickler & G. Nilsen
Boathouses have been in use in Norway for at least 2000 years and c.
structures pre-dating the 16th century have been recorded.
The majority of
boathouse remains (at least 500 structures) are found in northern Norway.
limited extent of boathouse excavations to date has severely handicapped
attempts at interpreting the function and chronology of these structures.
paper explores the nature of boathouse use during the Iron Age up to the early
Middle Ages (c.
AD 300-1200) in northern Norway by focusing on
archaeological investigations of boathouses on the island of Vestvågøy and the
Iron Age chieftain centre at Borg in the Lofoten Islands.
evidence from recent test excavations at a number of large boathouses, including
multiple cultural layers with hearths and pit features, is suggestive of seasonal
habitation and a range of activities far more diverse than those traditionally
associated with the storage of boats and related equipment.
demonstrate that some boathouses were in use over many centuries thus adding
another element of complexity to our understanding of boathouses as
multifunctional components of the Iron Age maritime landscape.
Arctic Norway, Norse culture, Iron Age, boathouses.
1 Norwegian Iron Age boathouses
The maritime aspects of Norse culture and “Vikings” presented by the media and
in popular publications focus to a disproportionate extent on the role of Viking
Age ships engaged in warfare, raiding and, to a lesser extent, trade.
This image is
based in large part on evidence from a limited number of ship finds including the
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Paper DOI: 10.2495/MH050021
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