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The Spangereid Canal

The Spangereid Canal Location
image: David Beard

There are many archaeological monuments and finds which point to an important centre of power in southern Norway which existed from the Roman Iron Age to the Medieval period.

Pictorial sources from the 18th and 19th centuries, including a map from 1810, show the canal running southwards from Høllebukta. An excavation carried out in 2001 1 suggested that the canal could have been up to 7 metres wide. No constructional features were observed during the excavation, but finds suggest that it was in use from the late Roman period. The canal was probably built the canal so that ships could avoid sailing around the rough seas off Lindesnes.

The excavators suggest that the canal may have been part of “a proto-royal naval base for ships with a military potential which were sheltered in the boathouses and used to control the coastal highway in southern Norway at a strategic position. 2

In 2007 a replica of the Spangereid Canal was “reopened”, making it possible once more to take a boat from east to west without having to round Lindesnes.

The Replica of the Spangereid Canal opened in 2007

South-facing section through the excavation
image: Stylegar, F.A. and Grimm, O., (2003), fig. 4

Location Plan
image: Stylegar, F.A. and Grimm, O., (2003), fig. 1

LOcation of the sondage (trial trench)
image: Stylegar, F.A. and Grimm, O., (2003), fig. 2

Map of 1810
image: Stylegar, F.A. and Grimm, O., (2003), fig. 5


1, Stylegar, F.A. and Grimm, O., (2003), “Ein Spätkaiser- und Völkerwanderungzeitlicher Kanal in Spangereid, Südnorwegen” Archäologisches Korrespondenzblatt 33, pp 445-455

2, ibid. p 455