SammendragThe aim of the article is to discuss similarities and differences between the two towns from their establishment until around 1300, primarily based on archaeological evidence, but also taking into account the written sources. According to the written sources, the origins of the two towns are very different, but archaeological investigations show many similarities. The two towns developed much in the same way, having similar habitation structure, roughly the same number of churches and monasteries. Oslo got the bishop's see for Eastern Norway around 1100, but Tønsberg might have been the most important site for the vikverjabiskup in the late 11th C. Both had royal palaces and fortifications. Although similarities are the most striking, there were also some differences due to natural conditions. Tønsberg had an advantage of its location on the main shipping lane along the Norwegian coast. This meant that the town at an earlier stage became part of the foreign trade network and became an important military stronghold. Oslo was innermost in the fjord but had a much larger catchment area. Nevertheless, none of the towns had a share in the most important economy in their time, like Bergen and in part Trondheim: the trade with stock fish. Economically, they remained towns where the elite converted their land rent products.
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