From Nidaros to Novgorod: Cultures Along the Historic St Olav Routes. An Estonian-Norwegian Cooperation Project in Humanities Research

Bilateral initiative facts

Tallinn University(EE)
Bilateral initiative number:
Initial cost:
Actual cost:
Initiative Types:
Study tour
Workshop or seminar
Estonian Academy of Art(EE)
Estonian Maritime Museum(EE)
Foundation of Haapsalu and Läänemaa Museums(EE)
National Heritage Board of Estonia(EE)
Nidaros Cathedral Restoration Workshop(NO)
Nidaros Cathedral(NO)
Norwegian University of Science and Technology(NO)
Swedish St Michael’s Church in Tallinn(EE)
Tartu University(EE)
Programme areas:


Scandinavian-led Nordic-Baltic trade system in the period between the Viking age and the area of the domination of the Hanseatic League is a largely unexplored field of research. EEA and Norway Grant allows to launch an active debate about the cultures along the historic St Olav routes both locally and across regions involving all relevant institutions. There must have been shared notions in the mental world of those who commissioned the buildings, and those notions in turn must have been reflected in the visual or archaeological material.

Using geophysical methods on archaeological sites

Summary of the results

The EEA/Norway funded research was a great success, triggering several forward-looking processes. One concerns future scientific research, the other the construction of a new type of cultural road.

A summer school at such a high professional and practical level has never been held before in the field of archaeology. The professionalism of NTNU''s specialists and the high level of technology provided were very motivating for all participants. The good spirit of cooperation was the basis. Lecturers and students from different universities were present, who had the opportunity to learn both from their Norwegian colleagues and from each other.

Summer Schools and fieldwork were done at Saastna Olavi Chapel (2022,2023), Purtse fortresses - Taramäe and Tarakalda (June 16-24, 2023), Lihula fortress (June 25-30, 2023). 

It is planned to continue the research with funding from the Olav Püha Fond foundation (website created:

Media presence (examples):

26.08.22 Coins found in Saastna speak of sacrifice:

29.10.22 Archaeologists discovered a wall pointing to an ancient fortress:

28.06.23 Archaeologists explore Lihula and Saastna with high-tech equipment:

Information on the projects funded by the EEA and Norway Grants is provided by the Programme and Fund Operators in the Beneficiary States, who are responsible for the completeness and accuracy of this information.