Text Marit Synnøve Vea

2006. Arkeologisk museum finner bosettingsspor fra vikingtid/tidlig middelalder i Pakterhagen. (Foto Marit Synnøve Vea)

In 2006. Archaeological Museum, UiS finds traces of settlement from the Viking Age / Early Medieval Age south of the church. (Photo Marit Synnøve Vea)

Since the Avaldsnes Project was established in 1993, it has been a goal to initiate research and exploration of the royal manor area.

We have gained new knowledge by examinining:
– the soil
– the sea
– the archives.

During the period 1992-2006 the Archaeological Museum in Stavanger did a number of test excavations and registrations. The purpose was to find out:

– Which kind of archaeological material is preserved in the ground?
– Which of this archaeologist material can give us the most knowledge about the royal seat at Avaldsnes?
– What are the most in danger of being destroyed?

Based on an overall evaluation the Royal Manor Project was established in 2007. The Royal Manor Project is led by Professor Dagfinn Skre, Museum of Cultural History in Oslo. The project is a collaboration between the Museum of Cultural History UiO, Karmøy Municipality, Archaeological Museum UiS, Rogaland County Municipality, University of Cambridge and NIKU.


2012. Kongsgårdprosjektet finner en vegg-grøft fra en hall reist i yngre romertid/folkevandingstid.  I veggrøften er også stolpehull etter en hall reist i vikingtid. Bare et tynt gruslag dekker over fortidssporene. (Foto Cathrine Glette)

In 2012, The Royal Manor Project finds a wall-trench of a hall built in the late Roman period/Migration Period. In the wall-trench is also postholes from a building, probably a hall, erected in the Viking Age. Only a thin layer of gravel protects these traces from the past. (Photo Cathrine Glette)

See also:
Norðvegr – Norway: From Sailing Route to Kingdom. Prof. Dagfinn Skre
From Kaupang and Avaldsnes to the Irish Sea. Prof. Dagfinn Skre
The Royal Manor Project is based on test excavations conducted by the Archaeological Museum, University of Stavanger in the period 1992-2006.

The main research aim of the Royal Manor Project:
To investigate the royal manors’ position in the early Norwegian kingdom, as well as in the kingdom’s prehistory in the first millennium AD.

The Royal Manor Project has three phases:

  • Preparatory project: Completed 2007-2009.
  • Excavation phase: Excavations conducted summer seasons of 2011, 2012 and 2017.
  • Analysis and publication phase: 2013 – 2019: During this phase, a team of prominent researchers are working on writing Avaldsnes’ history from the birth of Christ to the High Middle Ages.The research team will also place Avaldsnes in a context that makes the farm’s more than a thousand year long history as a royal residence understandable and meaningful; locally,nationally and internationally.
Utgravningen av middelalderruinen foregår i tidsrommet 6. juni - 15. august. Det er også funnet kraftige middelaldermurer inne på kirkegården. Vi tror disse murene er en del av den samme hallbygningen som synes å være ca. 50 m lang. Foto Marit S. Vea

The  excavation of the medieval ruins take place in the period 6. June – 15.  Sept. 2017. Medieval walls have also been found in the cemetary. These walls propably belong to the same Royal hall that seems to have been about 50 m long (Photo Marit S.Vea)

Excavations of a royal hall. 
From 6th June to 15 September 2017,the Royal Manor Project will undertake excavations of a Royal medieval hall found i 2012. The hall was probably  built in the 13th century as part of the Royal manor complex. This is the fourth Royal hall in stone found in Norway.

Videoes of the excavations summer 2017
TV Haugaland. 12. juli
TV Haugaland 23. juni 
TV Haugaland 8. juni 

Since 1998, Stavanger Maritime Museum has conducted marine archaeological investigations in the harbour area at Avaldsnes. Archaeological Museum, Stavanger has also been involved in investigating structures on land that may be related to harbour activities.

There have been many exciting and important discoveries both on land and in the sea, especially from the Hanseatic period. The Hanseatic presence at Avaldsnes was from about 1350 to 1500. In November 2012 marine archaeologists set out to find the geographical boundaries of the Hanseatic harbour area at Avaldsnes. They found instead the outer harbour of The Royal Manor’s activities. Until now we can follow this back to the 1100s. We do not know yet the extension of this royal harbour.

I 2000 fant Sjøfarstmuseet et klinkbygget fartøy på 22m fra 1300-tallet . Skipet ligger i grunne områdfet vi kaller

In 2000 Stavanger Maritime Museum found a 22m long clinker built ship from the 14th century. The ship is located in the shallow area we call “The Kings’ Harbour”. (Photo Marit Synnøve Vea)

In 2009, the “Harbour Project” at Avaldsnes was connected with the project “Hanseatic Trade in the North Atlantic”, a collaboration between the University of Vienna and Queen’s University in Belfast.

Originally the Avaldsnes project had the translation of Tormod Torfæus’ “Historia rerum Norvegicarum” on the program. Torfæus’ volumes were the first comprehensive presentation of Norwegian history since Snorri Sturluson’s Heimskringla.

This work was very extensive, and in 2001 a separate “Tormod Torfæus Foundation” was established. The main goal for the foundation was to translate “Historia rerum Norvegicarum” from Latin to Norwegian. In november 2014 the last two of seven volumes was released at a seminar in The National Library of Norway.

“Historia rerum Norvegicarum” will also be made available in English.

Communication has been – and will be – important for the Avaldsnes project. It has been a stated goal that the knowledge we get through our research programmes, shall be communicated to a wide audience through exhibitions in Nordvegen History Center, historic seminars, books, articles, media etc.

We have also established a “RESEARCH ROOM” in Nordvegen History Centre where we want to provide continuous dissemination of the new knowledge that emerges through inter alia The Royal Manor Project and The Harbour Project.

The Tormod Torfæus Trust has translated seven volumes of the Historia rerum Norvegicarum from Latin to Norwegian. The volumes will also be available in English. (Photo Cathrine Glette)

The Tormod Torfæus Foundation has translated seven volumes of the Historia rerum Norvegicarum from Latin to Norwegian. The volumes will also be available in English. (Photo Cathrine Glette)

Part of what is done through research and acquisition of new knowledge, will be popularized on these pages. For more in-depth information, see separate publications: Unfortunately, most of these are in Norwegian

De glemte skipgravene, Makt og myter på Avaldsnes (Arnfrid Opedal, AmS, 1998)
Kongens Død i et førstatlig rike. Skipsgravritualer i Avaldsnes-området og aspekter ved konstituering av kongemakt og kongerike 700-950 e.Kr. (Arnfrid Opedal, Doktorhgradsavhandling, UiO, 2005)
Kongemakt og kongerike. Gravritualer og Avaldsnes-områdets politiske rolle 600 – 1000. (Unipub, 2010)
Historier fra en annen virkelighet. Fortellinger om bronsealderen ved Karmsundet (Lise N. Myhre, AmS, 1998)
Trialectic Archaeology: Moments and space in Southwest Norway 1700 – 500 BC. (Lise N. Myhre, AmS 2004)
Rikssamling og Harald Hårfagre, Karmøyseminaret 1993
Nordsjøen – handel, religion og politikk, Karmøyseminaret 1994/1995
Rikssamlingen – høvdingmakt og kongemakt, Karmøyseminaret 1996
Havn og handel i 1000 år, Karmøyseminaret 1997
Fiender og forbundsfeller – regional kontakt gjennom historien, Karmøyseminaret 1997
Den nordiske histories fader, Karmøyseminaret 2002
Mellom Vinland og Ringenes Herre, Karmøyseminaret 2004

In Nordvegen History Centre you can learn about the research and excavations that have taken place at Avaldsnes. (Photo Cathrine Glette)

In Nordvegen History Centre you can learn about the research and excavations that have taken place at Avaldsnes. (Photo Cathrine Glette)

Eit forskingsprosjekt på Avaldsnes, Rapport frå Arkeologisk museum i Stavanger, 1994. AmS, Red. Arnvid Lillehammer
Husøy – palaeoecology and prehistory of a small island in the SW coast of Norway, Ams 1997. Inge lindblom, AsbjørnSimonsen, Leiv Solheim,
Maritim-arkeologiske forundersøkelser av middelalderhavna på Avaldsnes, Karmøy. AmS 2001,  Red. Endre Elvestad og Arnfrid Opedal
Rapport om Arkeologiske undersøkelser av tre gravanlegg og restaurering av en gravhaug på Avaldsnes prestegård, 2001, AmS (Ragnhild Sjurseike)
Rapport. Marinarkeologisk registrering, Stutøy og Midtøy, Karmøy kommune, 2003. Stavanger museum, Endre Elvestad
Avaldsnesprosjektet. Registreringer av Kongshaug og Gloppe 2005, Ams. Henriette Hafsaas
Avaldsnesprosjektet. Registreringer på prestegården Avaldsnes, 2006. AmS. Henriette Hafsaas

Rapport Arkeologisk Utgraving, Kongsgårdprosjektet Avaldsnes, Egil Marstein Bauer og Mari Arentz Østmo, Kulturhistorisk museum, UiO, 2013

Tormod Torfæus, ei innføring. Torgrim Titlestad, Erling Skjalgsonsselskapet 2001
Norges Historie, bind 1 – 7, (Norwegian translation of Historia rerum Norvegicarum) av Tormod Torfæus. Eide Forlag / Vigmostad & Bjørke AS