Norwegian King’s sarcophagus possibly found in church wall

We have found the king’s corpse in the church wall*

The sarcophagus of a great king can be found in the wall of Bergen Cathedral – a 730 years old treasure, according to a hobbyist historian.

“They have found the sarcophagus of Magnus Lagabøte. It can not be otherwise”, the hobbyist historian says enthusiastically.

He hired Anne Lalagüe and a georadar from SINTEF to go treasure hunting in the Church, which is from the 1100-1200s. The goal was to find one of Norway’s greatest kings, Magnus Lagabøte.

“There are many objects that could be of metal in the brick wall. There is a 90-95 per cent chance that there is something in there”, says Lalagüe.

Embedded in the wall there is something that might be a sarcophagus with decorations on it. What is hidden in the coffin might be of great value.

“It is a miracle the coffin has been left untouched for this long. The Church has burned down 3-4 times along with the city and has been subjected to numerous pirate battles”, Rosenlund said.

“I’m no expert in archeology but would recommend drilling the brick wall to further investigate”, says Lalagüe of SINTEF.

Tip from Ingvild Tinglum

It would be an awesome discovery to find the sarcophagus of Magnus Lagabøte, the King who wrote down the first book of Norwegian laws. He is considered to be one of the great kings in Norwegian history.

But archeologist and royal expert Øystein Ekroll disagrees* with Gunnar Rosenlund:

King Magnus VI Håkonsson Lagabøte died in Bergen in 1280, 42 years old, and is supposedly buried in the old Franciscan church, now known as the cathedral. But the king’s sarcophagus has never been found. Now Gunnar Rosenlund wants a survey of the wall to see if it really is the king’s grave that has been found.

But archaeologist and royal expert Øystein Ekroll puts a damper on Rosenlund and others who now wants to dig at the wall to find the king’s tomb.

“There can be a lot of things that are in the brick wall but I don’t believe it’s the King’s tomb. It has to be something else they’ve encountered.”, says Ekroll.

The royal expert points out the that the tradition of burying Kings in the walls was most common in 1000s and 1100s. In the 1200s kings were instead buried under the floor in the Church and marked the spot with an elevation in the floor”, he says.

“The church has been cleaned up and restored many times, such as after the many fires. We know that during the restoration in 1880 the floor was taken apart and many buried people were taken out.

So unfortunately the odds of finding the tomb preserved are very small”, he says.

To make matters even worse, The Directorate for Cultural Heritage, is not willing to allow for drilling in the church wall any time soon.

However, there is no way to properly tell if it really is the tomb of King Magnus Lagabøte without further investigation.

We’ll update this post if we can get more information.

*NOTE: The original articles are in Norwegian. The quotes here have been translated by the author of this post. If you want fully translated versions of the original articles, you can read one here and here via Google Translator. Beware that the translations are not perfect.