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HomeARCHEOLOGYA Millennium-Old Mystery Solved: The Captivating Tale of Norway's Hidden Iron Bars

A Millennium-Old Mystery Solved: The Captivating Tale of Norway’s Hidden Iron Bars

In a remarkable discovery, a woman in Norway has stumbled upon a rare and captivating find – a hoard of Viking-age iron bars, dating back nearly a millennium. This extraordinary unearthing sheds light on the ancient economic practices and rich history of the region, offering a fascinating glimpse into Norway’s past. Join us as we delve into the details of this remarkable discovery and explore its significance.

The Discovery of a Forgotten Treasure

Grete Margot Sørum, a resident of Norway, made a remarkable discovery while cleaning her parents’ house. Hidden away in the basement, Sørum uncovered a trove of ancient iron bars, dating back to the Viking Age. This find is particularly significant, as it has been nearly a century since a similar discovery was made in the country.

The iron bars, numbering 32 in total, were found near the historic King’s Road in Aurdal, Valdres, a region known for its rich iron production during the Viking Age and Middle Ages. Interestingly, Sørum’s father had actually discovered the bars decades earlier, in the 1980s, while digging a well, but had kept them stored away until Sørum’s recent find.

A Means of Payment from the Past

These iron bars, each weighing approximately 50 grams, were likely used as a form of payment during the Iron Age and Middle Ages. The holes present in each bar suggest that they were tied together in bundles, making them easy to carry and exchange for goods across different regions of Norway.

The Significance of Valdres’ Iron Production

Valdres, the region where the iron bars were discovered, was a hub of iron production during the Viking Age and beyond. Archaeologists have found evidence of extensive iron extraction and processing activities in the surrounding mountains, with thousands of charcoal pits serving as remnants of this thriving industry.

The iron produced in Valdres was not only used locally but was also exported to other parts of Norway and even abroad, particularly to Denmark. At the height of production, several tons of iron were transported from the region, highlighting its importance in the ancient trade networks.

Uncovering the Hidden History

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The discovery of these iron bars provides a rare opportunity to delve into the past and uncover the hidden history of Valdres and the broader region. Archaeologists have long struggled with the lack of written records regarding iron extraction in the area, making this find all the more valuable.

Kjetil Loftsgarden, an archaeologist and associate professor, believes that the bars were likely buried to hide them, a common practice during times of uncertainty or conflict. This preservation of cultural relics is particularly significant, as modern excavation methods have often led to the destruction of smaller artifacts.

The Excitement and Preservation of the Find

Sørum and her family are understandably excited about this remarkable discovery, which they consider to be both special and exciting. The iron bars are now being carefully preserved at the Cultural History Museum in Oslo, where they will be studied and displayed for the public to appreciate.


The discovery of the 1000-year-old Viking-age iron bars in a Norwegian basement is a captivating and significant find that sheds light on the rich history and ancient economic practices of the region. This rare glimpse into the past not only fascinates the public but also provides valuable insights for archaeologists and historians alike. As the iron bars find their rightful place in the museum, they serve as a testament to the enduring resilience of cultural relics and the power of chance discoveries to uncover the hidden stories of our shared past.




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