Pit House

Text Marit Synnøve Vea

Pithouse with roof of boards. (Photo Ande De-Martine)

Pithouse with roof of boards. (Photo Andy De-Martine)

Pithouse with roof of boards. (Photo Ande De-Martine)

The pit-houses are reconstructions of finds of Icelandic and Norwegian pit-houses. Such houses were common in the Viking Age.

The pit-houses were placed half a meter below the ground, so that the floor lies below ground level. This keeps them cool in summer and warm in winter. The curved walls are made of wattle and daubed with a mixture of clay, mould, cow dung and water.

Since the Viking Farm was established, we have restored and built several pithouses. The pit houses you see today are roofed with planks. There would often be several pit-houses at one farmstead.

The pit-houses are work-huts and were used for various crafts. Finds have been made of spinning wheels, weights for looms and needles, which suggests that the houses may have been used as weaving huts and for other textile work. One of the houses has a stone oven. Here meat and fish can be smoked, and herbs hung up to dry.