Rural Settlements in Medieval Norway, AD 400-1400

Rural Settlements in Medieval Norway, AD 400-1400

By Dagfinn Skre

Ruralia, Vol.1 (1996)

Abstract: The paper gives an overview of the functional and formal development of the main house on the farm in Norway in the Middle Ages. Related issues are briefly discussed – the functional arrangement of the farm, the question of nucleated settlements, and the development in building techniques. As an introduction changes in the focus of Norwegian Settlement Archaeology are sketched.

In the 5th and 6th centuries the three aisled longhouse with a byre and a living section appears to dominate on rural settlements in all regions. From the 7th century onwards the diversity is greater. In northern Norway the longhouse is still built in the 10th century. In eastern Norway the function fragmentation of the longhouse advances step by step until the domination of the two roomed timbered livinghouse from the 12th century onwards. In western Norway this fragmentation also occurs, but the longhouse without a byre also continues to be built, probably until modern times. Alterations in building techniques probably played a limited role in these developments.

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