Category Archives: NORWAY

Norway ice melt reveals ‘frozen archive’ of ancient reindeer-hunting arrows

Norway ice melt reveals ‘frozen archive’ of ancient reindeer-hunting arrows

In the Jotunheimen Mountains, the team found 68 arrows on the Langfonne ice patch, tracing the objects again to various lengths of time over 1000 years, from the Stone Age to the Medieval Period.

In addition, the find, printed this week as an examination in the Holocene journal, includes the stays of reindeer antlers, Iron Age scaring sticks utilised in reindeer searching and a 3,300-year-old shoe from the Bronze Age.

In line with the authors of the survey, the arrows mark the earliest ice findings in Northern Europe.

Norway ice melt reveals 'frozen archive' of ancient reindeer-hunting arrows
Archaeologists have uncovered a haul of ancient artifacts from a melted ice patch in Norway, including this leather boot that dates back more than 3000 years.

Norway’s Jotunheimen Mountains are positioned greater than 200 miles (in extra of 320 kilometres) north of the capital, Oslo.

The Langfonne ice patch, the place the arrows have been discovered, has retreated by greater than 70% over the previous 20 years as international warming has brought about dramatic ice melt, the examine says.

“With the ice now retreating due to climate change, the evidence for ancient hunting at Langfonne is reappearing from what is, in essence, a frozen archive,” mentioned Lars Pilø, the examine’s lead writer and an archaeologist from the Innlandet County Council, in a press release.

“The ice melt, sad as it is, provides an unprecedented archaeological opportunity for new knowledge.”

The oldest arrows, courting again to 4000 BC, are in a poor situation. But surprisingly, the arrows from the Late Neolithic interval (2400-1750 BC) have been higher preserved compared to these from the next 2,000 years, in line with the examine.

Researchers discovered a plethora of ancient arrows that date across various periods of Norwegian history.

Using floor penetrating radar (GPR) know-how, researchers imagine that the dangerous state of the oldest arrows could also be as a result of ice motion.

GPR information revealed ice deformation deep inside of the patch could have damaged the outdated, brittle arrows, however, it additionally helped to convey them to the floor to be found.

“Icy patches are not your regular archaeological sites,” Pilø mentioned. “Glacial archaeology has the potential to transform our understanding of human activity in the high mountains and beyond.”

Viking temple to Thor and Odin unearthed in Norway

Viking temple to Thor and Odin unearthed in Norway

Archaeologists have uncovered a Viking temple devoted to Ancient Norse gods like Thor. In Norway, the ruins of the 1,200-year-old pagan temple have been dug up and provide a rare insight into the Viking religion.

The Old Norse “god house” was built from wood about 1200 years ago to worship gods like Odin, Thor, and Freyr. Post-holes that show its distinctive shape, including its central tower, have been unearthed at the site.
The god house (shown here in a digital reconstruction) was strongly built of beams and walls of wood; some lasted for hundreds of years. It included a central tower, patterned on Christian churches seen in lands further south.

Archaeologists have dated the remains of the large wooden building to the end of the 8th century. They think it would have stood 40 feet high and was 45 feet long and 26 feet wide.

That’s just over half as tall as Buckingham Palace.

It’s thought sacrifices and feasts would have occurred inside to honour the gods during the midsummer and midwinter solstices.

A large white penis-shaped stone was previously found near the site and was linked to ancient fertility rituals.

This is the first Old Norse temple to be found in Norway.

Old Norse is the ancient language associated with the Vikings.

Archaeologist Søren Diinhoff of the University Museum of Bergen told Live Science: “This is the first time we’ve found one of these very special, very beautiful buildings.

“We know them from Sweden and we know them from Denmark. … This shows that they also existed in Norway.”

He added: “It is a stronger expression of belief than all the small cult places. “This is probably something to do with a certain class of the society, who built these as a real ideological show.”

The temple was unearthed during a dig taking place before planned housing

The foundations of the ancient building, or “god house” as they’re often called, were unearthed last month in a Norwegian riverside village called Ose.

Digging was happening there in preparation for new houses.

Traces of early agricultural settlements were also found nearby. They dated to the earlier time of around 2,000 to 2,500 years ago.

The remains of the temple date to a later time when the area is thought to have been dominated by elite wealthy families.

It is thought the families would have led the cult worship.

Experts think the elite likely wanted a “god house” built based on more Christian structures with a high tower on top.

Before this time, Viking gods were more commonly worshipped in simplistic settings.

The wood of the temple no longer remains but you can see the postholes where the main beams would have stood and the area where the tall tower would have been.

Evidence of cooking pits and animal bones fit in with the theory that feasts and sacrifices occurred there.

Food, drink, animal sacrifices and precious metals were often offered to Old Norse gods. The worshippers would then feast and enjoy the goods themselves because they knew the gods couldn’t come and join them.

Instead, wooden figurines may have been used to represent the gods. Popular Old Norse gods include storm god Thor and war god Odin.

Norway’s kings enforced Christianity from around the 11th century so burned down a lot of Old Norse temples and religious sites. There’s no current evidence to suggest the Ose temple was burned down.

Viking sword found in a grave in central Norway

Viking sword found in a grave in central Norway

A 9th century Viking sword has been unearthed by archaeologists in central Norway.

Viking sword found in a grave in central Norway
It’s been more than 1000 years since someone held this sword. It belonged to a warrior who lived in Trøndelag in Viking times. But why was the sword placed on the opposite side of what was common practice?

During the Viking Age, a man was buried with a full set of weaponry at Vinjeøra in the south of what is now Trøndelag county in central Norway. An axe, spear, shield and sword were placed alongside his body in the grave.

Archaeologist Astrid Kviseth recently became the first person to hold the rusty sword in their hands for approximately 1,100 years:

Astrid Kviseth carefully carries the sword away from the site. Now it will be investigated further.

“I’m a little surprised at how heavy it was. I don’t exactly know ​​how heavy a sword is, but it had some heft to it. You would have had to be pretty strong to be able to swing this sword!” she said.

An area rich in Viking history

The grave was the latest in a series of archaeological finds in connection with the improvements to Norway’s E39 highway.

By law in Norway, archaeological surveys must be conducted in connection with all new construction projects, including roads. This is so that important cultural heritage can be preserved. The rule has led to many fascinating finds including the remains of a historically important church in downtown Trondheim.

A team is now excavating what appears to be a burial ground on a former Viking farm. Last year, remains of a burial house and an unusual double grave was found in the area.

“The fact that he was buried with a full set of weapons tells us that this was a warrior. In Viking times and the early Middle Ages, most warriors were free men who owned their own farms,” said Raymond Sauvage, an archaeologist at the NTNU University Museum and project manager for the excavation.

A left-handed owner?

An unusual aspect of the find was that the sword appears to have been placed on the left side of the deceased. Typically, swords are placed on the right-hand side of the body.

Swords are usually placed on the right side of the body in weapon graves like this. In this grave, it was laid on the warrior’s left side. One explanation may be that the warrior was left-handed.

The custom itself is a little odd. That’s because warriors would typically carry their sword on their left, in order to allow the right hand to access it easily.

“Why the swords are almost always placed on the right side is a bit mysterious. One theory is that the underworlds you go to after death are the mirror image of the upper world,” said Sauvage.

He suggested the sword in the Vinjeøra grave may have been placed on the left to signify the warrior was left-handed.

A ditch burial

The warrior’s grave partially overlapped three other graves. They were laid to rest in a ditch surrounding a large burial mound. Sauvage explained that using a grave more than once appears to have been common in the area:

“People were buried in the same grave or partly inside older graves. It was obviously important to lie next to or in the burial mounds and the ring ditches around them.”

“We can imagine that this burial practice is an expression of how important the family’s ancestors were on a farm in Viking times. In addition to being present on the farm as companion spirits – fylgjur – the ancestors could continue to live physically in the burial mounds.”

Another grave with burial gifts

Archaeologists found a fourth grave most likely to have been for a cremated Viking woman. One of the beads found in the grave. Photo: Raymond Sauvage, NTNU University Museum. Burial gifts included an oval brooch, a pair of scissors and beads. But there was a strange addition: a large number of bones.

In the same area, archaeologists discovered what they believe was a woman’s grave, based on the artefacts they found – like this bead.

“A study done several years ago showed that cremation graves from the Iron Age on average contain only about 250 grams of bone. A dead human body that is cremated, on the other hand, burns down to about 2 kilos of bones,” Sauvage said.

So while the cremated woman was buried in her entirety, archaeologists also found bird bones in the material. The team believes this could have been part of a burial ritual.

Lab work to follow

Sauvage said that the sword will now be examined in a Trondheim lab to see what remains under the rust:

“It will be exciting to get the sword into the conservation laboratory and have it x-rayed so we can see what’s hiding under the corrosion. Maybe it has ornamentation or pattern welding in the blade,” he says.

1,200-year-old pagan temple to Thor and Odin unearthed in Norway

1,200-year-old pagan temple to Thor and Odin unearthed in Norway

The remains of the 1,200-year-old pagan temple were dug up in Norway and provide a rare insight into the Viking religion. Archaeologists have dated the remains of the large wooden building to the end of the 8th century.

The Old Norse “god house” was built from wood about 1200 years ago to worship gods like Odin, Thor, and Freyr. Post-holes that show its distinctive shape, including its central tower, have been unearthed at the site.
1,200-year-old pagan temple to Thor and Odin unearthed in Norway
The god house (shown here in a digital reconstruction) was strongly built of beams and walls of wood; some lasted for hundreds of years. It included a central tower, patterned on Christian churches seen in lands further south.

They think it would have stood 40 feet high and was 45 feet long and 26 feet wide.

That’s just over half as tall as Buckingham Palace. It’s thought sacrifices and feasts would have occurred inside to honour the gods during the midsummer and midwinter solstices.

A large white penis shaped stone was previously found near the site and was linked to ancient fertility rituals. This is the first Old Norse temple to be found in Norway.

Old Norse is the ancient language associated with the Viking’s Archaeologist Søren Diinhoff of the University Museum of Bergen told Live Science: “This is the first time we’ve found one of these very special, very beautiful buildings.

“We know them from Sweden and we know them from Denmark. … This shows that they also existed in Norway.”

He added: “It is a stronger expression of belief than all the small cult places.

The temple was unearthed during a dig taking place before planned housing work

“This is probably something to do with a certain class of the society, who built these as a real ideological show.”

The foundations of the ancient building, or “god house” as they’re often called, were unearthed last month in a Norwegian riverside village called Ose.

Digging was happening there in preparation for new houses. Traces of early agricultural settlements were also found nearby. They dated to the earlier time of around 2,000 to 2,500 years ago.

The remains of the temple date to a later time when the area is thought to have been dominated by elite wealthy families. It is thought the families would have led the cult worship.

Experts think the elite likely wanted a “god house” built based on more Christian structures with a high tower on top. Before this time, Viking gods were more commonly worshipped in simplistic settings.

The wood of the temple no longer remains but you can see the postholes where the main beams would have stood and the area where the tall tower would have been.

Evidence of cooking pits and animal bones fit in with the theory that feasts and sacrifices occurred there. Food, drink, animal sacrifices, and precious metals were often offered to Old Norse gods.

The worshippers would then feast and enjoy the goods themselves because they knew the gods couldn’t come and join them. Instead, wooden figurines may have been used to represent the gods.

Popular Old Norse gods include storm god Thor and war god Odin. Norway’s kings enforced Christianity from around the 11th century so burned down a lot of Old Norse temples and religious sites. There’s no current evidence to suggest the Ose temple was burned down.

Archaeologist Discovered Viking Ship Found Under the Ground in Norway

Archaeologist Discovered Viking Ship Found Under the Ground in Norway

Archaeologists in Norway using ground-penetrating radar have detected one of the largest Viking ship graves ever found. Archaeologists have found the outlines of a Viking ship buried not far from the Norwegian capital of Oslo.

The 65-foot long ship was covered over more than 1,000 years ago to serve as the final resting place of a prominent Viking king or queen. That makes it one of the largest Viking ship graves ever discovered.

An image generated by ground-penetrating radar reveals the outlines of a Viking ship within a burial mound.  Experts say intact Viking ship graves of this size are vanishingly uncommon. “I think we could talk about a hundred-year find,” says archaeologist Jan Bill, curator of Viking ships at the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo. “It’s quite spectacular from an archaeology perspective.”

An image generated by ground-penetrating radar reveals the outlines of a Viking ship within a burial mound.

The site where the ship grave was discovered is well-known. A burial mound 30 feet tall looms over the site, serving as a local landmark visible from the expressway just north of the Swedish border.

But archaeologists thought any archaeological remains in the nearby fields must have been destroyed by farmers’ plows in the late nineteenth century.

Then, this spring, officials from the surrounding county of Ostfold asked experts from the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Research to survey the fields using a large ground-penetrating radar array.

The Viking ship was discovered by georadar at Jellestad next to the monumental Jell Mound in Ostfold.

They were able to scan the soil underneath almost 10 acres of farmland around the mound. Underneath, they found proof of 10 large graves and traces of a ship’s hull, hidden just 20 inches beneath the surface.

The ship burial forms a part of a larger mound cemetery and settlement site from the Iron Age next to the Jell Mound

Knut Paasche, head of the archaeology department at the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Research and executive of the recent work at the site, estimates the ship was at least 65 feet long.

It appears to be well preserved, with clear outlines of the keel and the first few strakes, or lines of planking, visible in the radar scans. The ship would have been dragged onshore from the nearby Oslo fjord. At some point during the Viking Age, it was the final resting place of someone powerful.

“Ships like this functioned as a coffin,” says Paasche. “There was one king or queen or local chieftain on board.”

Whoever was buried in the ship was not alone. There are traces of at least 8 other burial mounds in the field, some almost 90 feet across. Three large longhouses—one 150 feet long—are also visible underneath the site’s soil, together with a half dozen smaller structures.

Archaeologists hope future unearthings will help date the mounds and the longhouses, which may have been built at different times. “We can not be sure the houses have the same age as the ship,” Paasche says.

Paasche plans to return to the site next spring to lead more sophisticated scans, including surveying the site with a magnetometer and perhaps digging test trenches to see what condition the ship’s remains are in.

If there is wood from the ship’s hull preserved beneath the ground, it could be used to date the find more decisively.

The chances of finding a king’s fortune are slim. Because they were so prominent in the landscape, many Viking Age burials were robbed centuries ago, long before they were leveled by Nineteenth-century farmers.

But “it would be very exciting to see if the burial is still intact,” says Bill. “If it is, it could be holding some very interesting finds.”

Wreckage of sunken WWII battleship found off Norway

Wreckage of sunken WWII battleship found off Norway

A sonar scan of the German warship Karlsruhe, which was recently discovered off the southern coast of Norway

CBS News reports that the 571-foot German warship Karlsruhe was found under 1,600 feet of water off the coast of Norway by the power company Statnett with multibeam echo sounders and a remotely operated vehicle.

The ship, equipped with nine cannons and three triple turrets, led the invasion of Norway on April 9, 1940, but was struck by a British submarine torpedo on its return trip.

The site of the wreck was unclear for the next 80 years. Nora Buli reports to Reuters, experts from the country’s state-run power grid operator, Statnett, identified a sunken vessel situated near one of the company’s underwater cables as the long-lost ship.

An element of sunken German WWII warship cruiser “Karlsruhe” that had been observed 13 nautical miles from Kristiansand
An element of sunken German WWII warship cruiser

Statnett engineers spotted the remains of 571-foot cruisers during a routine survey via sonar in 2017, according to Arnfinn Nygaard from the Norwegian broadcast networks NRK.

But the ship’s identity remained a mystery until late June, when photographs captured by a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) revealed its hull, gun turrets and telltale swastikas resting some 1,500 feet beneath the waves, per a statement.

Researchers identified Karlsruhe based on the shape of its hull and such details as the positions of its gun turrets, reports Reuters. The wreck is located just under 50 feet away from a power cable installed in 1977.

“You can find Karlsruhe’s fate in history books, but no one has known exactly where the ship sunk,” says Frode Kvalø, an archaeologist at the Norwegian Maritime Museum, in the statement.

“Moreover, it was the only large German warship that was lost during the attack on Norway with an unknown position. After all these years we finally know where the graveyard [of] this important warship is.”

The Karlsruhe cruiser prior to its sinking

Built-in the late 1920s, Karlsruhe was repurposed—and redecorated—by the Nazis during World War II.

It successfully supported Germany’s attack on Norway but fell victim to a British submarine when departing the port of Kristiansand. After crew members evacuated the hobbled ship, the Germans scuttled it themselves.

The newly rediscovered cruiser sank at the very start of the Nazis’ invasion of Norway, which saw the country’s government and king seek refuge in Britain, where they remained until the German surrender in 1945, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.

In the statement, Kvalø notes that large warships tend to turn around when sinking due to their high centre of gravity.

Karlsruhe, however, “stands firmly … below sea level with cannons pointing menacingly into the sea.”

The archaeologist adds, “With the main battery of nine cannons in three triple turrets, this was the largest and most fearsome ship in the attack group against Kristiansand.”

An element of sunken German WWII warship cruiser

Per NRK, the Norwegian Coastal Administration will now monitor the ship, as it may still contain upward of one million litres of fuel, as well as other potentially harmful chemicals.

Sunken WW2 battleship found off Norway; Video Source: Reuters.

Viking Trade Center Found in Northern Norway

Viking Trade Center Found in Northern Norway

According to a statement released by the Arctic University of Norway, archaeology student Tor-Kjetil Krokmyrdal has discovered a Viking trade center in northern Norway on the coast of the island of Hinnøya. Jewelry, weights, coins, and items related to forging iron and shipbuilding and repair have been recovered. The ninth-century site is the first of its kind to be found in the region.

Here, at Sandtorg by Tjelsund, Tor-Kjetil discovered a trading place that existed as early as the 800s.

The archaeologist, Marte Spangen, who supervises Krokmyrdal in her work in this area, says that this discovery means that researchers need to reconsider the way societies and trade functioned in this region during the Viking Age and in the early Middle Ages.

We know from earlier that Vågan in Lofoten functioned as an important financial center for Northern-Norway in the Middle Ages, but through objects found with a metal detector and other forms of analysis, Krokmyrdal has shown that trading was going on in Sandtorg as early as the 800s.

A curious name

How did a master’s student make such a discovery?
“I have worked on this for a few years”, Krokmyrdal points out.

It’s been his hobby for several years to search for metals, alongside his full-time employment working with logistics at the postal company Post Nord. He explains that it all started with a book many archaeologists are familiar with, Olav Rygh’s analysis of Norwegian farm names.

Sandtorg literally means «market or trading place at Sand». No archaeological evidence could actually prove this to be right, but it made Krokmyrdal curious. At first, he did not find anything at Sandtorg, but it turned out that he was searching too low, and that the areas he was examining had been underwater during the Viking Age. Once he moved higher in the terrain, the discoveries started rolling in.

“That’s when I signed up for the master programme in archaeology”, Krokmyrdal says.

Travelers spent the night at Tjelsund

Even as late as our near-past, strong currents would often force travelers to wait in Tjelsund before they could continue their journey. «Tjeld» is a reference to the verb «tjelde», which means to spend the night in or under the boat once it’s been pulled up on land.

The Sandtorg Farm lies by the strongest current and has probably been a natural place to stop for travelers. Its location and historical sources make it plausible that a chieftain at the farm Sand on the other side of the straits controlled the shipping going through the strong currents in Tjelsund, and might have demanded tariffs of those travelling through the straits as early as the Early Iron Age.

This developed into the trade during the Viking Age, or as Krokmyrdal wants to call it, exchange of goods, a term that covers both the trade of money and the trading of goods and services. This gives the farm name Sandtorg meaning as «the market of the Sand Chieftain».

Imports from the Viking Age: To the left: Eastern origin. To the right: Weights with an inscription from the British Isles (probably Ireland).

Imports from the great beyond.

The discoveries Krokmyrdal has made with his metal detector shows that the trade may have entailed repairs or building of ships, something that is also mentioned in the sagas in reference to the Sand Chieftains. Krokmyrdal has found both jewelry, weights, coins, and so-called silver payment at Sandtorg.

He has also found objects that have been imported from the British Isles, Finland, and the continent. The merchants of the Hanseatic League as we know, traded a lot with countries abroad and brought exotic objects all the way to Northern Norway.

“The most exotic thing I found was something of oriental origin – a kind of jewelry that has been used on a belt or a strap – that came north along with Arabic coins”, says Krokmyrdal.

But what he reckons is his most important discovery, were the large amounts of iron that was lying near the beach during that time. This suggests that there must have been an iron forge, and maybe even a boatyard at Sandtorg.

Expected discovery

Krokmyrdal himself was not at all surprised with his discoveries, both because of the source that explained the meaning of the toponym, and other sources that suggested that this was a trading place. Peter Dass mentioned in his writing that the traders “sat closely together in Tjelsundet”.

“The location is also very strategic in terms of trade. The current at Sandtorg is really strong, and all the travellers would have to wait until the current turned before they could continue their journey”, he explains.

What more natural then than to offer travelers a couple of goods and some time off in the form of “shopping”?

Thus, it looks like trading was being done at Sandtorg from the 800s and all the way up to the 1950s. There might have been more traders there earlier, but from the 1500s trade was regulated by laws that demanded those who ran trade be city residents. They were only to trade during summer and stay in town during winter. Since those times, there was only one trader around at Sandtorg.

Silver payment could be used both to pay for goods (per gram of silver) and as a resource for silversmiths.

Important discoveries

“It is not common for master’s students to do their own fieldwork, and even more uncommon that they bring forth their own material”, says Krokmyrdal’s supervisor Marte Spangen, who is impressed by the master’s student.

Spangen believes that Krokmyrdal’s work is important in several ways; the discovery of a trading place in Viking Age Northern Norway, which includes the discovery of coins and objects a long way from home, means that researchers will have to re-think how societies and trade functioned in this region during the Viking Age and the Early Middle Ages. She believes the discoveries will make people more aware of how useful metal detectors can be in discovering these kinds of localities that have not left any visible traces of cultural heritage on the surface.

“Krokmyrdal has also made specific discoveries that may change how we understand different networks of exchange and what kind of ironwork has been going on in Northern-Norway”, Spangen says.

She adds that the traces of a possible boatyard is truly unique in a Norwegian context and something that requires further studies. The examined area is a protected area, and Krokmyrdal has had special permission from the Directorate for Cultural Heritage to conduct metal detection in the area for his master’s thesis.

“It is quite remarkable for a master’s student to make such important discoveries”, Spangen adds.

Study Examines Norman Influence on English Diet

Study Examines Norman Influence on English Diet

The latest science approaches have been used by historians from Cardiff University and the University of Sheffield to provide new insight into life during the Norman Conquest of England.

Until now, the story of the Conquest has primarily been told from the evidence of the elite classes of the time. But little has been known about how it affected everyday people’s lives.

A variety of bioarchaeological methods were used in the research team, which included academics at Bristol University, to associate human and animal bones recovered from sites across Oxford, along with ceramics used for cooking.

The 11th-century cook would sometimes roast pork or chicken but most often turned it into a stew.

Their results suggest only short-term fluctuations in food supplies following the Conquest which didn’t adversely affect the population’s overall health.

There is evidence the Norman invasion led to more controlled and standardized mass agricultural practices. Pork became a more popular choice and dairy products were used less. But on the whole, a diet dominated by vegetables, cereals beef, and mutton remained largely unchanged.

Dr. Elizabeth Craig-Atkins of the University of Sheffield’s Department of Archaeology said: “Examining archaeological evidence of the diet and health of ordinary people who lived during this time gives us a detailed picture of their everyday experiences and lifestyles.

Despite the huge political and economic changes that were happening, our analysis suggests the Conquest may have only had a limited impact on most people’s diet and health.

“There is certainly evidence that people experienced periods where food was scarce. But following this, an intensification in farming meant people generally had a more steady food supply and consistent diet. Aside from pork becoming a more popular food choice, eating habits and cooking methods remained unchanged to a large extent.”

Researchers used a technique called stable isotope analysis on bones to compare 36 humans found in various locations around Oxford, including Oxford Castle, who had lived between the 10th and 13th centuries.

Signals from the food we consume are archived as chemical tracers in our bones, allowing scientists to investigate the quality and variety of a person’s diet long after they have died.

The team found that there wasn’t a huge difference between the health of the individuals, who were alive at different points before and after the Conquest.

Levels of protein and carbohydrate consumption were similar in the group and evidence of bone conditions related to poor diet — such as rickets and scurvy — were rare. However, high-resolution analysis of teeth showed evidence of short-term changes in health and diet in early life during this transitional phase.

Isotope analysis was also used on 60 animals found at the same sites, to ascertain how they were raised. Studies of pig bones found their diets became more consistent and richer in animal protein after the Conquest, suggesting pig farming was intensified under Norman rule. They were likely living in the town and being fed scraps instead of natural vegetable fodder.

Fragments of pottery were examined using organic residue analysis. When food is cooked in ceramic pots, fats are absorbed into the vessel, allowing researchers to extract them.

The analysis showed that pots were used to cook vegetables like cabbage as well as meat such as lamb, mutton, or goat across the conquest. Researchers say the use of dairy fats reduced after the Conquest and that pork or chicken became more popular.

Dr. Richard Madgwick, based in Cardiff University’s School of History, Archaeology and Religion, said: “To our knowledge, this is the very first time globally that human osteology, organic residues analysis and isotope analysis of incremental dentine and bone have been combined in a single study.

“It is only with this innovative and diverse suite of methods that we have been able to tell the story of how the Conquest affected diet and health in the non-elite, a somewhat marginalized group until now.”

The dietary impact of the Norman Conquest: A multiproxy archaeological investigation of Oxford, UK, is published in the journal PLOS ONE.