Pre-construction excavation at the site of Norway’s upcoming Ørland Airport expansion has turned up a treasure trove of artifacts dating back to an era before the Vikings ruled the land. Researchers uncovered the post holes and fire pits for three large “longhouses” that would have stood at the center of the village — but what really excited them was the discovery of several large trash pits, called “middens.” Among the garbage, they found a number of Iron Age artifacts that offered insights into how the locals lived, including jewelry and pieces of glass.

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Interestingly, this is the first time midden materials from this time period have been uncovered in Norway. Though there were obviously other settlements in the country at that time, most of the discarded garbage has long since decayed. Scientists believe the midden in this village survived due to the low-acidity sand it was buried in.

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That’s not the only interesting thing about the surrounding area. The region was covered completely in thick, heavy ice during the last ice age, causing the ground to temporarily sink below sea level. At the time, what is now dry land was flooded with water, forming a bay in the middle of the peninsula. Archeologists have long been interested in the Ørland area, but hadn’t had the opportunity to excavate until the airport expansion was announced in 2015.

Via Ars Technica

Images via NTNU University Museum