The remains of a long section of a medieval wharf believed to have been constructed by a medieval king of Norway have been discovered during an excavation by NIKU archaeologists in Oslo’s seaside neighborhood of Bjørvika.
A massive structure began to reemerge as excavators dug into the seabed’s gray-tinged clay along the coast of Norway.
Archaeologists knew from preliminary surveys that there was something buried at a port in Oslo, according to a press release from the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research on Thursday.
They identified the wooden ruins as a 26-foot-long pier structure. Bulwarks made of huge logs that had been lashed together made up the pier.
The logs were dotted with impressions of barnacles and mussels, indicating that they had previously been exposed to the water.
The pier was most likely constructed in the first half of the 14th century and has slowly sunk into the clay seabed over the last 700 years, the release said.
The location and estimated age of this wharf have led archaeologists to conclude that it belonged to the king. According to the release, another nearby dock is known to have been used by royalty from the 11th to 13th centuries.
Archaeologists have found layers of peat, fish bones, dung, and food waste in the clay around the massive logs. They have no idea how these materials ended up around the pier.
According to the press release, researchers will take a piece of wood from the pier and send it to a lab to be precisely dated. Excavations are ongoing.
Håvard Hegdal, an archaeologist and project manager from NIKU, said, “This is very mysterious. How has this come into what has been a closed construction? There has been a floor above us, and probably a building, and it shouldn’t be possible to throw food scraps and other things down here.”