Archaeologists have discovery something truly amazing in Norway, something to give light to the pre-christian scandinavian religion. It seems it’s the first of its kind to be found in norwegian soil, but it is so unique for a reason – it was deliberately hidden to avoid its destruction by christian hands.
This archaeological finding is located at the site of Ranheim, to the north of Trondheim. It seems the area where the temple was found had been occupied since the 6th-5th centuries BCE until the late 10th century CE (common Era). There are traces of animal sacrifice obviously, which isn’t something that outstanding, for it was a common practice in many cultures of antiquity. This temple was dismantled and covered by peat a 1000 years ago more or less, to protect it from christian invaders as told before. The people of this place fled from the christians but not before safeguarding their place of worship.
The temple may have been built somewhere around the year 400 AD. It was thus used for hundreds of years until the people emigrated to avoid Christianity’s oppressive religion. The temple consisted of a stone-set, commonly known as “sacrificial altar”, and also traces of a “pole building” that probably housed idols in the form of sticks with carved faces of the gods. Deceased relatives of high rank were also portrayed in this way. Not far from there, the archaeologists also uncovered a procession route.
Being covered by layers of peat the temple was very well preserved. Such places covered by stratigraphic layers of turf and a very wet soil, tend to preserve whatever lies beneath. The altar for instance, where one worshiped the gods and offered animal blood, was preserved and we can have an idea how it was. It consisted of a circular stone setting around 15 meters in diameter and nearly a meter high. The pole building a few meters away was rectangular, with a floor plan of 5.3 x 4.5 meters, and raised with 12 poles, each having a solid stone foundation. The building may have been high and it is clear that it wasn’t used as a dwelling. It had no fireplace. Inside the “house” were found traces of four pillars that may be evidence of a high seat where the idols stood between ceremonies. The processional road west of the temple headed straight towards where the pole building was marked with two parallel rows of large stones, the longest sequence at least 25 feet long.