Norway Digs Out Sensational Bronze Age Military Monument Near Modern F-35 Air Base
According to historians, the purpose of the giant 3,000-year-old Bronze Age burial mound over 40 metres in diameter was deterrence and reassurance, much like today's air base located nearby.
A large Bronze Age burial mound has been excavated from peat and moss in Trøndelag County in central Norway, which houses the country's largest fighter base.
The burial mound was hidden under a lot of trees and other vegetation. Now, all of the moss and scrub must be removed to bring out the true dimensions of the burial mound.
"The formidable burial mound is much larger than previously thought. We have now passed 40 metres in diameter, and still have not found the end of it. This is a sensationally large burial mound, and it had exactly the same function as today's fighter base", historian Daniel Johansen told national broadcaster NRK, emphasising the role of deterrence and reassurance.
The burial mound is strategically located at the mouth of the Trondheim Fjord, overseeing its entrance and exit point, and was a key point on the coastal path. It was clearly visible from the sea so that any potential attackers would think twice.
"By making a grave as large as this, those who lived here signalled that there are resourceful families in the area. The message was: 'We can mobilise so many men to pull stones over our dead chiefs, and the same men can carry arms if you land here'", Johansen said.
Some 3,000 years ago, Norway had just passed from the Stone Age into the Bronze Age. No written sources exist from this era, and who exactly erected the monument is up for debate.
"It must have been people with quite a lot of power and authority. It takes a lot of work to build something like this. There were probably several dozen people who were doing this for several months", Trøndelag County archaeologist Knut Stomsvik said.
Johansen suggested that the find made the known history of the locality, otherwise known for its connections with historic Viking-Age figures such as Olav Tryggvason and Olav the Holy, both kings of Norway who played an important part in the nation's conversion to Christianity, is 1,500 years older than previously thought.
"The Bronze Age was a bloody age. This was the art of notifying enemies that they mustn't even try. It was a deterrent tactic, just like today", Johansen concluded.
Today, Ørland Main Air Station at the mouth of the Trondheim Fjord is an important air base not only for Norway, but also for NATO as it hosts numerous drills. It is also where Norway's fleet of F-35s is based.