oldest Norwegian coins we can identify with a particular mint are early
pennies from Harald Hardråde,
bearing the inscription GEREITHA ON NID. The inscription is designed after
an Anglo-Saxon model, to include the name of the mint-master,
Gereitha, who at this point was striking coins at Nidarnes.
Nidaros was an important mint site throughout the Middle Ages. After an agreement between the king and the church in 1222, the archbishop of Nidaros was granted the right to issue coins. A letter of coining rights specified that the archbishopric was entitled to one moneyer, or "hammerer of silver" who knew the trade, and along with him, one servant boy.
The archbishop's manor lies next to the Nidaros Cathedral
in Trondheim. The construction of the manor started in the second half
of the 1100s. In 1991, extensive archaeological excavations were initiated
at the archbishop's manor. In a short time, traces had been found of older
buildings associated with the main manor complex. One building excited
particular interest: the chequered floor was made from ceramic tiles, there
were signs of a large fireplace, and residue from metal smelting was found.
Other small objects, such as melting crucibles, coin blanks and a die,
were further evidence that this was the archbishop's coin workshop. The
remains of the oldest buildings are dated to the mid-1400s. Finding this
workshop in Trondheim gives us a unique window onto medieval coining in