Due to expansion of Statoil's activities at Melkoya a new area has to be surveyed and excavated.

Skjaervika is situated across the strait of the Melkoysound. This is a sheltered bay with a view towards Melkoya in Southwest. The area was surveyed in 1998 by archaeologists from the County of Finnmark, who registered some 10 remains of houses, most probably from the period between 0 to 1700AD, spanning the periods characterised as Saami Iron Age, Medieval time and Early Modern time.

The area was investigated by archaeologists from Tromsoe Museum during July 2005. During 2 weeks the archaeologists uncovered several new structures and remains of human activities through testpitting, mechanical surface stripping and trenches.

The dating of the structures show activities in the area from stone age to modern times.

An expansion of Statoil's activities will therefore necessarily lead to new excavations.

The map shows areas investigated in 2001, 2002 and 2005 by Tromsoe Museum. Click for larger image.

Skjaervika is situated only 500 metres Northeast of Melkoya. The currents of the strait between Melkoya and Skjaervika provide ample fishing opportunities.
The cultural remains are dispersed in the terrain. In the lower part of the bay we found house remains from medieaval and modern times, while older dwellings were uncovered in the upper areas.
The structures were documented and mapped in the filed with GPS. Click for larger image
In the upper areas we used mechanical methods to make trenches through the accumulated turf. On levels above 20 meters no structures were found, while a series of dwellings, probably dating to younger stone age, were located on levels between 10 and 15 metres.
After cleaning the dwellings are visible as rectangular cleared depressions. Alma, Unn and Oddhild followed the excavator with shovel and trowel. A number of testpits were done in different heights and in different types of areas. The map above shows the location of the positive testpits.
In the neighbouring bay, Fjellvika (Mountain Bay), cultural remains were also established. Mesolithic material was found under beach gravel in some of the testpits. Click for larger image. Fjellvika is a well sheltered bay. Several dwellings and more recent remains were located in the grass-grown area in the middle of the picture. Fjellvika also exhbit several rock shelters. In front of this one seven layers of charcoal were documented, which testify of repeated usage of the area. The carbon datings will show us exactly when this shelter was used.

In the middle part part of Skjærvika, between 4 and 6 meters a.s.l. a coplex structure consisting of several houses, of which one seems to have had several rooms, was situated.

A trench was made through this structure. Many artifacts were uncovered here, amongs others clay pipes, ceramic pot fragments and whalebone. The structural elements included walls and thick layers of charcoal in/under the floor.

A series of charcoal samples were taken from this trench and we await the results.

The drawing to the left show an interpretation of the structures as they appear on surface, combined with a topographic map of the surface.

To the right some of the finds in situ.

The further progress of this part of the Melkoyproject:

A report from this season's investigations is written:

  • Charcoal samples are cleaned and sent to analysis
  • The artifacts are catalogued
  • Drawings are digitized, maps are made

Based on this report and estimate of the extent of necessary excavation will be prepared. A budget and a projectplan will be drawned up.

The projectplan will be presented to the National Board of Antiquities.

Statoil will decide about the archaeological costs of extended constructions in the area, and possibly go ahead with their plans.

Results of the excavations of Skjaervika are incorporated into and expanding the scientific results of the excavations of Melkoya.

The opened areas are covered at the end of the fieldwork to preserve structures and artifacts until more extensive excavations can take place.

Participants on this year's fieldwork:

Anders Hesjedal
Morten Ramstad
Anja Roth Niemi
Theo Gil Bell
Rolf Liahjell Bade
Paul Ilson
Unn Yilmaz
Alma Elizabeth Thuestad
Oddhild Dokset
Jørn Henriksen

Some of the participants on expedition in midnight sun.





Tromsoe Museum-Universitetsmuseet, N-9037 Tromsoe, Norway
Telephone +47 77 64 50 00 Fax +47 77 64 55 20
Updated by Anja Roth Niemi Feb 22 2006
Editor: Stephen Wickler, Dept. of Archaeology, Tromsoe Museum