A glass bead found at the settlement site (Photo: Åge Hojem/NTNU University Museum)

On the coast of Norway, about 300 miles north of Oslo, an airport renovation has revealed the remains of a significant and somewhat wealthy Viking settlement from 1,500 years ago. And archaeologists working at the site have found one of the oldest garbage heaps discovered in Norway

Garbage heaps, for archaeologists, are like treasure troves: they show evidence of daily life, all piled together. A midden might show what people ate, what they wore, what tools they used. In this case, the archaeologists found bones from animals, seabirds and fish, including salmon and cod. They found a number of beads, including one striking blue bead. They also found the remains of a cup—a green glass. The glass beads and cup suggest that this community of farmers was doing pretty well for themselves: they had enough wealth to trade for valuable glass.

They also found evidence suggesting that the settlement featured three large buildings, as long as 131 feet, arranged in a U. Though the site is now inland, the waters of a bay once reached this area, too. The whole of the evidence suggest a relatively picturesque life in this Viking settlement, of prosperous farms and families looking out over the water. 

Bonus finds: Ninja lanternshark

Every day, we highlight one newly lost or found object, curiosity or wonder. Discover something unusual or amazing? Tell us about it! Send your finds to sarah.laskow@atlasobscura.com.