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Last Updated: Friday, 4 February, 2005, 19:36 GMT
'Oldest church' find wows Norway
Norwegian archaeologists say they have found the remains of what is probably the country's oldest church - dating back nearly 1,000 years.

The church at Skien in southern Norway is believed to have been built between 1010 and 1040, the Aftenposten newspaper reported on Friday.

Oslo historian Jon Vidar Sigurdsson says recent finds suggest that Norway first adopted Christianity in the 800s.

Olav Haraldsson (995-1030) is credited with having Christianised Norway.

Excavation at Skien (Pic: NRK website)
The excavation at Skien (Pic: NRK website)
The church was first discovered in 2001, but its age could only be pinpointed with radiological tests.

Mr Sigurdsson says there have been similar finds in other Nordic countries and it is known that the first churches were built in Scandinavia in the 10th Century.

But the Skien find is being hailed as sensational for Norway, Aftenposten says.

The church was found during excavations in hospital grounds and archaeologists believe it may be "Hakastein", which is mentioned in a manuscript from 1354.


SEE ALSO:
Country profile: Norway
12 Dec 04 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Norway
06 Jul 04 |  Country profiles


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