Charcoal pits tell story of medieval Norwegian economy

Trondheim, once known as Bymarka, was the center of religious life in medieval Norway. Now the discovery of more than 500 charcoal pits in the area proves that the city was an industrial center as well.

“This charcoal production is most probably directly linked to major historic events and processes occurring in central Norway at the beginning of the Middle Ages. One obvious explanation is the Church’s impact on economic growth and production as well as its demand for building materials,” explains archeologist Ragnhild Berge, a PhD candidate based at NTNU's Museum of Natural History and Archaeology in Trondheim.