Fieldwork has started at Heimdal

This summer's fieldwork has now been commencing for two weeks, and the number of small mounds of freshly dug plough soil scattered over the Heimdal site is slowly being reduced in number.

Fieldwork has started at Heimdal – with endless sieving ... Photo: Per Sibe    

The first part of the fieldwork is reserved for a systematic sampling of the plough soil over the +20 000 m2 large site. From each 10x10 m square, the top soil from one square meter is sieved through 4 mm masks, in principle sampling 1 per cent of the entire site. However, the clayish soil will certainly retain us from achieving this, and already we have decided to concentrate on the areas with workshop activities and to leave out the burial ground in the NE part of the site.

Looking for finds of clay, stone, bone, amber and iron

The goal for the sieving is to produce distribution maps for find categories not registered through the metal detector survey earlier this year. These consist primarily of finds of clay, stone, bone, slag, glass, amber and iron. Together with the distribution maps of dirhams, ingots, weights, spinning weights, etc. from the metal detecting campaign and the maps of underground anomalies produced through the geophysics surveys, these maps will help us to make decisions about where to excavate the up to 1 000 m2 that we have permission to dig on the site at the moment. A systematic coring taking place parallel with the sieving also helps to map and interpret the geology of the site, especially towards the ancient shoreline on the southern perimeter of the site. In the end we hope to be able to pinpoint exactly the areas to dig, which have the largest potential for answering the research questions set out for the excavation, especially the chronology of the site and its relation to the nearby Gokstad mound.

Metal detectorists at work, too

Next to the archaeologists scattered with their sieves and water jets over the site, a small team of metal detectorists from "Norges metallsøkerforening" is going systematically through the 10x10 m squares a second time, in an attempt to rescue as many as possible of the objects still residing in the ploughing layers. In the end it may well be that it is this effort, which will provide much of the chronological data that we are searching for at the Heimdal site.

By Jan Bill
Published Jan. 31, 2013 4:31 PM - Last modified Jan. 31, 2013 4:34 PM