Financed by Karmøy Municipality, a preparatory project was carried out in 2007-2009 by the Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History, The University of Oslo. This preparatory project established a scientific, organizational and formal foundation for the Royal Manor Project, originally planned to start during the spring of 2009.
The preparatory project included, among other things, a substantial collection of information concerning the archaeology at Avaldsnes and the surrounding area and the preparation of a project plan, including budget, for the Royal Manor Project.
Several investigations have been carried out at Avaldsnes in the past, all of which have contributed to laying the foundation for the current excavation. The investigations have included test trenching, phosphate mapping, geophysical surveys, rescue excavations prior to the construction of Nordvegen History Center, as well as registrations and minor investigations both above and below the waterline, in order to locate the medieval harbor at Avaldsnes (Hemdorff 1993, Hafsaas 2005, Hafsaas 2006, Sandnes og Eide 2004, Persson 2006).
Delimiting the settlement areas
In accordance with the Riksantikvaren’s demand, the preparatory project carried out geophysical surveys at Avaldsnes in 2009 in an attempt to further delimit the settlement areas in order to allow for smaller excavation areas. The surveys were done in cooperation with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). No clear-cut indications of the locations of the settlement areas were provided, however.
To systemize and facilitate the availability of information concerning the Avaldsnes area in the Iron Age and medieval period, the preparatory project cooperated with the Unit for Digital Documentation at the Faculty of Humanities, University of Oslo in developing a digital tool with a database encompassing a great variety of sources, e.g. reports from site surveys, information about finds, as well as pictures, drawings and paintings, all relating to the Avaldsnes area. The sources are organized using both time and space, thus allowing extraction of information based on location and/or dating. Results from the current excavations will also be uploaded in the database in order for them to be directly related to the information already available. The relationship between different areas, monuments and finds will be displayable in a timeline, making this database a useful tool throughout the excavation but also in the following research and publication period.