LOMLom Church in Oppland
|During archaeological excavations
in the summer of 1973, 2270 coins were found under the floors of the church.
This is the largest quantity of coins ever found in a church in Norway.
Above: bracteates from Håkon
Håkonsson, found in Lom Church.
The coin finds from Norwegian churches are our richest source of knowledge about medieval coins and their use. Certain features are characteristic of the church finds. Coins from the 1000s are rarely seen, the 1100s are better represented, but most coins were minted between 1200 and 1300. After 1319, Norwegian coins become more scarce; most of them are Swedish and later Danish and German. From the 1600s and onwards we find smaller quantities of small-denomination Danish-Norwegian coins.
Here is a complete overview of the find.
Why do we find hundreds, or even up to several thousand coins under
the wooden floors in churches? We can't say for certain, but the evidence
suggests that most of the coins were simply lost. Practically all the coins
in the church finds are small and so lightweight that the sound of them
falling to the floor in an old church would not have been audible. The
cracks between the rough floorboards were more than sufficiently wide for
the coins to roll into before dropping through the floor. Coins may have
been intentionally offered at times, but there is little reason to believe
that this was a regular tradition in the Middle Ages.