Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Archeology at Husaby. Medieval Chieftain's seat, then Monastery? Einar Tambarskjelve


Husaby: 1030-1050 ACE. 
Chieftain Einar Tambarskjelve's manor house and chapel. 

What do the ruins at Husaby signify.
Husaby, Huseby:  Spellings vary

Was this Husaby a castle or a palace? Not likely in the Disney mode of keeps, curtain walls, moats, drawbridges.  Ruins of foundations, and remains of timber piling holes, tell little of what precisely was once above.  Elsewhere, however, there are remains of longhouses, houses with great halls and sleeping rooms and outbuildings and retainers' quarters all fostering a unity of economic and political effort, and protection -- similar to feudalism in the rest of Europe?.  Earliest wooden buildings built with pilings rotted, and later reconstruction laid those wooden parts on stone foundations, or built walls of stone as in the various early churches.  Here, those stones from the earliest Husaby site have been long repurposed on local farms.  Husaby, or Huseby, is also the name of a social and economic system, and there was this kind of system also on Orkney, see http://www.fordham.edu/mvst/magazinestacks/shr2.html, at A. STEINNES, The "Huseby" system in Orkney, in: SHR 38, 1959, p. 36-46

1.  From local lore.  There was a chieftain named Einar Tambarskjelve whose manor-huseby this was,  and his burial place is unknown. He was instrumental in fostering the canonization of Saint Olav.  Was he the husband-figure in Kristin Lavransdatter?  Or do the dates not coincide. The book places her long after Einar.


Einar Tambarskjelve, Chieftain, Husaby, Norway.  commemorative (not original) standing stone.

1.  On-site information:

This data display, at Husaby, includes an English version, fair use photo here.  The portion is a small part of the total, and what profiteth a man if he typeth from an original without easily presenting in its stead the original and a well-intentioned summary.  We profit not either way, believers in free transmission of knowledge. Silly us to reap not profit from what we sow. Sow be it.

 With the enlargement, you can check my summary below:

  • Summary:  Husaby church, or chapel, had been a privately owned building. A "hegendeskirke" -- search all terms.   Later in medieval times, it became part of a monastery called Rein. The later parish church at Skaun, called Venn at the time, would be similar to the basic floor plan here.  This was on the pilgrim way to Nidaros, and a health recovery building, according to old written sources, was not far, and perhaps here.

  • The dating of the ruins focuses on 1030 as the Battle of Stiklestad.  At that now-nationally celebrated event,  Olav II, exiled after failing to defeat Denmark-Britain's King Canute's invasion earlier, sought to regain his throne, and was killed.  Olav had earlier continued royal efforts to Christianize (what form?) disparate Norway, needed to unify the country under something, and to better compete with the more-established Canute.  Olav II lost that round with his life, but was canonized and Canute was not.  Advantage:  Olav II).  Apparently Einar Tambarskjelve "was among the first who sought to sanctify the patron saint, Saint Olav"  reads the display.

In 1848 and 1948 occurred disastrous (for archeology and preservation) changes and levelings of wall remains, and other markers.  Why were sites and heritage not preserved? As elsewhere, for practicality.  
  • Practicality is abundant in Scandinavia, in this harsh climate perhaps, as opposed to sentimentality about past choices and preserving what other chose to leave. We found in Sweden, for example, looking for Farfar's grave (my husband's great-grandfather), that the churches were practical. If  noone was around to tend a grave, and in the Widings' case at Boxholm, all the young ones migrated-- to the last shoe of them -- and so markers may or may not be tilted against walls at the graveyard, and the space recycled. Used for the immediately deceased, and new markers installed.  
  • Not bad.  Look forward, angel.  Not down, dammit.




What else is on the information boards. How to pass on information unless we quote and photo?  Opinion:  Kristin Lavransdatter lives beyond her era, in issues for women today, so let's look further for how Norway sees her.  Einar Tambarskjelve also deserves his place in history, as far as we can patch together. Phallic standing stones went to the gents.  Did they do their great deeds on their own? Blue book question.  Discuss.

How to find out about women in Old Norway, generically Kristin Lavransdatter.  Is the representation of her in the celebrated novel and film, accurate?

Does anyone care. See what we mean?

 All this about Kristin Lavransdatter is in Norwegian.  

Tourists, unite.  We may not have much money to spend -- those of us going on the cheap and renting cars and eating at gas stations for lunch and pub food for supper, but give us a break. Offer us your own history and interpretations in various languages. You are not an island.




Then we arrive at another display, that will take time to enlarge and decipher.  Many countries only put information in their own language.  An uphill climb for sympatico outlanders. Could you please help us out?
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