Christianization of Norway
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Christianization of Norway During a post doctoral project I have tried to investigate more closely when Norway was Christianized first time (c. AD 1000) by studying archaeological sources. The art of writing mostly arrived together with Christianity, and the reliability of the written sources is a matter of constant debate. Three questions regarding the Christianization will have to be answered: When do the traces of the local cult disappear? When do the earliest traces of Christian cult appear? Could any influence from Christianity on the Norse religion be traced before the conversion? These questions were studied in a diachronic perspective, from the time before Christianity arrived, to the period when the Christian church was established in terms of an archbishopric in Nidaros, i.e. the period c. AD 560 – 1150/1200. The results were maybe not so surprising in some aspects: the time of ‘Christianization’ in the terms of the questions listed above varied from place to place and big differences in religious cult were also found, particularly among the non-Christians. It may also be big differences between answers to these questions depending on the theory and methods applied. The paper will illustrate the necessity to study the change of religion in a geographic and historic context, and it will argue the need to focus on the aspects of ritual context rather than on individual artefacts.