In 1993 Erik Schia uncovered the remains of a large ditch (Schia 1993). This was the start of an investigation which would culminate in the discovery of the fragmented remains of a moat, 25 meters east of Kongsgården's walls (Derrick 2018; Hegdal 2021). This suggested that the defensive landscape around Kongsgården (the royal manor house) was likely to have been much more complex than previously thought. In this article I will attempt to reconnect Kongsgården with the medieval town based upon the discovery of the moat. I will present and discuss the fragmented remains and explore the theory that it was indeed part of a larger system of defences around Kongsgården. I will show that it is possible to detect the original footprint of the moat by reassessing earlier archaeological evidence and combining this with the new evidence found by NIKU, Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research. I intend to show that the moat was part of a final phase of defensive rebuilding around Kongsgården in the mid-thirteenth century and that it was abandoned in the late thirteenth-century as the defences of Oslo were shifted from Kongsgården to Akershus, the king's newly constructed fortress. By comparing Kongsgården's defences with other Norwegian parallels I hope to show that Oslo's defences followed a blueprint already in place in other towns and that geography dictated how these defences were constructed. In addition, I will show that there was a shift in land use after the moat's abandonment sometime during the early to mid-fourteenth century.
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Opphavsrett 2021 Michael Derrick