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Kristiansand

Kristiansand is a city, municipality and the county capital of Vest-Agder county in Southern Norway. Kristiansand municipality is the fifth largest in Norway, with a population of 85,681 as of 1 January 2014. The Kristiansand urban area had a population of 154,346 on 1 January 2013, and is thus the fifth largest urban area in Norway. In addition, Statistics Norway counts 4 other densely populated areas in the municipality: Skålevik (Flekkerøy) with a population of 3,526, Strai with a population of 1,636, Justvik with a population of 1,803 and Tveit with a population of 1,396 (as of January 2012).HistoryThe Kristiansand area has been inhabited since prehistoric times. In 1996 the well-preserved skeleton of a woman dating to approximately 6500 BC was discovered in the neighboring municipality of Søgne, which demonstrates very early habitation of the archipelago. Grauthelleren (Grathelleren) on Fidjane is believed to be a Stone Age settlement. The first discovery in Norway of a Sarup enclosure (a Neolithic form of ritual enclosure first identified at Sarup on the Danish island of Funen) was made in 2010 at Hamresanden and dates to c. 3400 BC. Archaeological excavations to the east of Oddernes Church have uncovered rural settlements that existed during the centuries immediately before and after the beginning of our era. Together with a corresponding discovery in Rogaland, these are unique in the Norwegian context; isolated farms, rather than villages, were the norm in ancient Norway. Other discoveries in grave mounds around the church, in the Lund section of the city, indicate habitation beginning c. 400 AD, and 25 cooking pits that were found immediately outside the church wall in 1907 are probably even older. One of the largest pre-Christian burial grounds in South Norway was formerly located to the south and west of the church. A royal centre is thought to have existed at Oddernes before 800, and the church was built around 1040.
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