In Norway and elsewhere in Scandinavia, Viking relics are frequently discovered, but what has just surfaced after being buried for thousands of years is the closest thing a mortal can get to Valhalla.
Archaeological excavations at Ose Farm in rsta, Norway, unearthed the remains of a beautiful pagan temple or “home of the gods” that had been hidden beneath the soil for centuries. In Scandinavia, few of these structures have survived, making this discovery very exciting. He has never seen one of these temples in such a state of preservation as archaeologist Sren Diinhoff of the Bergen University Museum.
A LARGER PORTION OF THEM
This is the most perfectly shaped house of God we’ve found so far, according to the archaeologist. “I know of no other Scandinavian building where the construction of the house is as apparent as here,” he said. “For me, it’s critical that we have a place to archive and authenticate this unique architectural style. Moreover, it’s worth noting that the Middle Iron Age, circa 4500 AD, was a period of concentrated religious activity in this area.”
Even so, there was still one piece of the puzzle that remained undiscovered. There were no longer any wooden or metal things on the floor of the structure, such as god figurines or other offerings, as the floor had been thoroughly cleaned. When the strong Christian indoctrination is removed from this structure, it reveals other aspects of Scandinavian religion. In spite of the mythology that spawned American Gods and Marvel’s Thor comic and film series, the beliefs and customs of the people known today as Vikings are not widely understood.
Viking society in late Iron Age Scandinavia is also revealed by a temple and other discoveries at the Ose site. Most people lived in longhouses that were built between 400 and 1200 A.D., depending on the source. For centuries, it was believed that the most powerful family in the community were also in charge of the most important farms (more like mansions) in the settlement. According to Diinhoff, archaeologists’ theories about the Vikings are supported by the excavations.
Bergen University’s Viking Temple Museum is a reconstruction of the original.
“Even though the Norse cult was not a systematically organized religion, buildings like this one suggest that some of the high-end cult buildings were united. These dwellings were meticulously constructed according to a detailed blueprint. With that, a Nordic perspective on how to wield ideological influence came across “”Diinhoff” stated.
Adam of Bremen, a German scholar who visited Denmark in 1070, sparked a discussion about whether humans were slaughtered in these sanctuaries of god. It was in this book that he documented the Scandinavian people and their traditions, and he wrote about the human sacrifices that took place in the pagan temple in Uppsala, Sweden every nine years. The Uppsala god’s dwelling is thought to have been a focal point of ancient Norse religion. A festival in Uppsala is reenacted in a Vikings episode. “To Uppsala/Odin and Thor” is sung by Viking metal band Rebellion in their song Sweden, which reflects a trip to the sacred location before the war.
It’s also thought that Adam of Bremen was prejudiced due of his Christian background, which led him to view pagans as brutish and uncivilized, which was common among Christians at the time.
According to Diinhoff, the subject of Viking-era human sacrifice has been a popular one for years. “Anything published concerning the Norse religion during the Christian era should be scrutinized. The creation tale of Adam was most likely concocted to highlight the barbarism and primitivism of the pagan worldview.”
Even if Adam of Bremen was not there at the ritual of human sacrifice, what he wrote about is amazing. In Norse mythology, nine is the most commonly used sacred number. Because the lunar calendar is a multiple of nine, some archaeologists believe it is the genesis of this belief. With nine planets on its branches, Odin would have sacrificed himself for Yggdrasil. A nine-day sacrificial feast is also rumored to have taken place, with nine sacrifices. Vinterblot (which translates to “winter blood sacrifice”), the band Bathory’s song about “nine by nine” sacrifices hung from an ash tree, also mentions this. Humans are one of these.
As Diinhoff pointed out, there are Viking-era artifacts that “could indicate human sacrifice.” “Human skulls have been found in tombs where a sacrificial person – most likely a slave – appears to have followed the deceased. However, we discovered human bones in the cult building. Human sacrifices were extremely uncommon, if they occurred at all. There were no human sacrifices in the temples; only animal offerings were accepted.”
In the Viking Age, sacrifices and ceremonies were common.
It’s not clear if the depictions of human sacrifices in Vikings and song lyrics are real or just sensationalized stories. I doubt that this was a typical practice back in the day. To end an especially severe winter, the Bathory people planned a special solstice ritual that was separate from the more traditional ones. As with Stonehenge’s rites, the most important religious festivals took place during the summer and winter solstices. Any act of self-sacrifice by humans must have shown that the situation was dire. In many other ancient societies, the sacrifice of a member of the community was a last-ditch effort to appease the gods during times of drought or hunger.