Remains suspected dating from as early as the 1500s have been found under Klosterenga in Norway’s Oslo.
The findings, which include an old forge, an iron arrowhead and utensils, confirm that settlement and craft activities extended well beyond what is considered Oslo's medieval town (Middelalderbyen).
“Coal and waste from the production suggest that there has been extensive blacksmith work in the area,” said archaeologist Susanne Pettersson at Oslo’s Office of Cultural Heritage.
“The forge could certainly date back to the 1600s, but some evidence suggests that it may be even older, possibly dating from the 1500s,” she told Aftenposten-run site osloby.no.
The discovery was made following Oslo’s Water and Sewerage Department having been commissioned to create a new zone plan for Klosterenga Park in the capital’s Gamle Oslo district nearby Grønnland.
Officials from the Office of Cultural Heritage were therefore hired to check the area for medieval history before work could begin.
The fact that the remains were found so close to Hovinbekken – also known as Klosterelva, Nonneelva, and Munkebekken, one of Oslo’s most important rivers – is of little surprise, according to archaeologists.
“There were wooden buildings within the city wall at that time. So workshops that involved fire were located outside the perimeter,” said Ms. Pettersson.
“It was also natural to build forges near water, and they had the stream here just beside it,” she added.
Archeologists also found more remains from a female cloister in Hollenderkvartalet dating back to the 1100s right by Kosterenga.
This time, they believe these might be the building’s ceramic remains, amongst other things.
A tiny street dating from the 1500s/1600s was also discovered. A registration process with the Directorate for Cultural History is currently under way. They will decide whether to further excavations in the area.