Rare archaeological find in Trondheim

Archaeologists working at the St.Clement excavation in Trondheim recently found a unique 11th century crucifix.

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In the lower cultural layers associated with our oldest church archaeologists came across an unusually nice find.

Archaeologist Reidar Øiangen was removing a charcoal-rich layer when he discovered a metal object that he immediately could see had an interesting shape.

The object turned out to be a crucifix – a cross with a figure of Christ on it – a rare find even for an experienced archaeologist!

FrontThe crucifix after cleaning by Marte Rønning. (Photo: NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet /Marte Rønning)

The crucifix is made of bronze, and measures 7 cm in length and 5 cm in width on the cross-arm.

The figure of Christ has straight legs and arms, a defined chest and a short loincloth. On his head the remains of a crown is visible.

Above his head the remains of a figure is also visible, possibly a hand or a dove, but the figure is so badly preserved that it is impossible to tell the original imagery.

BackThe back after cleaning. (Photo: NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet / Marte Rønning)

The straight positioning of the body combined with the crown was prevalent in the 11th century, and thus suggests a relatively early date for the item.

The crucifix found in Søndre gate is a form of pendant cross, and could possibly even be a pectoral cross of the type worn by the clergy in this period.

Very few crucifixes of this type have been found in Norway. A similar type was found out of context in Sørum, Akershus County and is kept at NTNU University museum, Trondheim.