© Vitenskapsmuseet

The Church Under The Street

In this exhibition, you can se one of the most interesting church finds in Trondheim. You get an insight into a time when Trondheim was the archbishop’s seat for the entire Norse cultural area and people’s lives were permeated by the church.

In 2016, remains of a small wooden church were found in Krambugata. The church was first built around the year 1100, destroyed several times over the course of about 200 years, but rebuilt time and time again.

The church is enigmatic in several ways. Several churches were built in Trondheim at the same time, and these were made of stone and considerably larger. In design, it resembles the private churches from the missionary era in the 9th century. Such churches were most often built by magnates, as a strategic means of strengthening the alliance with the advancing Christian kingship. When this church was built, however, the monarchy and Christianity were well established in Trøndelag, and the practice of religion was moving towards a publicly organized system of parish churches.

The church is rebuilt several times throughout the Middle Ages – each time in wood, which is unusual. A fire in the 14th century marked the end. Although the church was not rebuilt, the altar remained and was protected with a shed or small chapel. Why did the altar from a simple wooden church retain an important function, after the church itself was gone?

We don’t know the answer to that question, but it suggests that the altar had a special meaning.

Under the oldest church remains, traces of residential houses from the end of the Viking Age were also found, which give us an insight into the daily life of Trondheim’s very first inhabitants.