The Church Ruin at Kapitelberget at Skien. Woodcut from 1869.
Skien is the one of the oldest towns in Norway. Nowadays Skien is a
municipality in Telemark Fylke (County).
One of the great men who lived at this place around year 1100 A.D. was
Dag Eilivsson was a Norse who converted to the Christian religion. He
built a church on Kapitelberget, and he provided the
economic base for a Benedictine monastery at Gimsøy, also situated in
Skien. Kapitelberget belonged to the large farm Bratsberg. The church was
a private chapel for the farm and was dedicated to St. Michael.
The church was crypt-church, a rare thing in Norway. The crypt
under the church-floor was used for requiems and to keep relics.
Researchers assume that Dag has travelled to The Holy Land with
Sigurd Jordsalfar, and brought a relic back to Skien and
The chapel is located on a knoll with views in all directions and was
deliberately placed in a slope to fit to the crypt under the choir. Crypt
is interpreted as a tomb for lineage in Bratsberg.
It is uncertain when the church at Kapitelberget went out of use, but in
1576 a document refers as a ruin. After the church went out of use, it was
eventually hidden under gravel and soil.
The ruin was re-discovered in 1783, but it was first excavated in 1901. In
1928, restoration and conservation began. The work was completed in 1933.
Below: The church ruin at Kapitelberget ten fortress. Photo: Henrik
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