Ancient Viking "God House" Dedicated to Thor and Odin Discovered in Norway

Long before Thor and Odin became stars in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the characters served as the heaviest roots to the ethos of Norse mythology. Now, Norwegian scientists have found a centuries-old temple to the two Old Gods. A new report from Live Science dives into the discovery of archaeologists from the University Museum of Bergen, looking into the 1,200-year-old temple.

According to one of the archaeologists involved with the dig, it's expected the building was built by pagans sometime towards the end of the eighth century and covered some 1,170 square feet in the seaside village of Ose.

"This is the first time we've found one of these very special, very beautiful buildings," archaeologist Søren Diinhoff told Live Science. "We know them from Sweden and we know them from Denmark. … This shows that they also existed in Norway."

The remains were found as developers began planning for a new housing development and its immediately unclear what will end of the ancient template.

"It is a stronger expression of belief than all the small cult places," Diinhoff said of the temple. "This is probably something to do with a certain class of the society, who built these as a real ideological show."

It's believed this discovery is the first-ever discovery of an Old Norse temple in the country of Norway, according to Diinhoff. The archaeologist explained this particular building was likely used by the country's wealthiest families at the time.

"When the new socially differentiated society set in, in the Roman Iron Age, the leading families took control of the cult," he said.


Old Norse paganism began phasing out as Christianity overtook most Western Europe countries beginning in the 11th century. Diinhoff adds the kings of Norway during the time ordered the destruction of any such buildings, though it's unclear if this temple was one of those destroyed by those such orders. "It would be ideal if we could explain that. But we're not there yet," Diinhoff concluded.