Reconstructed longhouse in Borg, Lofoten, Nordland.
In 1981, a farmer discovered some pieces of pottery and glass in his plough furrows and in 1983 archaeological excavations began, uncovering also the largest longhouse in the Viking world, both in Norway and Europe. This chieftain’s residence was 67m long and almost 10m wide, built in Iron Age, around 500 AD, and rebuilt a couple of times around 700 AD, early Viking Age, extending the longhouse to a staggering 83m long, covering an area of 799 square meters. The seat at Borg is estimated to hae been abandoned around 950 AD. There are several foundation walls in the vicinity that indicates habitation before the chieftain´s hall was raised and after it was demolished. When the excavation began, some of the subsided turf walls were just visible in the terrain. The excavation uncovered the floor-plan. Traces were found of the outside walls, entrances, floors, hearths and the internal load-bearing posts.
The current full size reconstruction, made from turf and wood, is a three-nave longhouse built in 1995 close to the site of the original one. The building comprises a living area with a central hearth, an entrance hall with two openings, a storage area, a barn and a banqueting hall with a large central fireplace. Each of the rooms has been given their original functions – except the stable. On the hills nearby there are traces of at least eight other longhouses.
Borg was a centre of power in the Iron and Viking Age, and had extensive contact with the rest of Europe, standing out by the quality of the archaeological findings. In the Great Hall there archaeologists found “Gullgubber”, gold foil figures, imported Frankish pottery and exclusive Rhineland glass. The fact that Borg was so rich is probably due to the trading of goods from Northern Norway, as furs and walrus tusks. Other factors coincide to indicate that Borg was the seat of an important chieftain, among which the presence of several burial grounds nearby, with some very big burial mounds and large boathouse tofts, where the chieftain could have kept a ship the size of the Gokstad ship.