Charlotte Blindheim, née Undset Thomas, a granddaughter of Norwegian archaeologist Ingvald Undset, earned a master's degree in archeology in 1946. Her dissertation on costume and jewelry in the Nordic Iron Age was later published as her first book. She married Martin Blindheim, an art historian with whom she had two children, in 1945. In 1946, when she was appointed curator by the University Museum in Oslo, she became the first permanent female employee on its scientific staff. She was also the first Norwegian woman to direct a large-scale excavation project with her work at Bikjholberget near the ancient Viking market town of Kaupang, which began in 1950. She conducted the project over the next 17 years, while she was raising her family, and it resulted in several publications.