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Department of Archaeology


Mr Lyle Tompsen

(email at


Stave Churches and their Predecessors: A comparison of Norwegian Stave Churches, their ecclesiastic precursors and contemporaneous Norse Pagan Temples


My research concerns the stave churches of Norway and their antecedents. Scholars were historically divided on the origins of the stave churches. There were no known churches predating stave churches and it appeared they had no precedent. The view was (and often is) that they were either a local architectural development based on the unique abilities of Norwegian craftsman, or evolved from pagan temples. Our research goal it so determine where these churches came from. We are examining the development of the stave church both in Norway (in the light of new excavations), and as part of a pan-European expansion of the Catholic Church. We also examine the remains of excavated pagan halls and cult-houses to determine their influence (if any) on this architecture.

Is supervised by

Archaeology Staff June 2014