Author Archives: Per Storemyr

About Per Storemyr

I work with the archaeology of old stone quarries, monuments and rock art. And try to figure out how they can be preserved. For us - and those after us. For the joy of old stone!

Burning sea shells to make quicklime

Burning sea shells to make quicklime once was a great tradition in the North-Atlantic region. In Millstone Park, Hyllestad (W-Norway), we have built two limekilns, reviving old lime burning traditions, involving craftspeople, volunteers and the public. Recently we burnt sea shells to make lime paint and mortar! Read about the experiment in a new poster and web article. Continue reading

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Novel micro-images of lime mortar destruction by frost weathering

Frost is here again and thus weak building materials are at risk, for example traditional lime mortars applied during the last summer season. Over the last few days I was able to observe frost heaving in a lime mortar that has not properly hardened/carbonised due to recent rainy and moist weather. As far as I know, no one has previously documented such ice crystal growth, on a micro-scale. The phenomenon is akin to frost heaving in a soil profile: The force of growing ice whiskers lifting the uppermost parts of the soil. Continue reading

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Tjenester for kulturminnevernet: Hva gjør en geoarkeolog for steinbygninger, steinbrudd og bergkunst?

Mange spør meg: Hva driver du med? Hvilke tjenester tilbyr du? Jeg er geoarkeolog og jobber med rådgivning og forskning knyttet til gamle steinbygninger, steinbrudd og bergkunst, svært ofte i forbindelse med restaurering, konservering og arkeologiske utgravninger. Under skal jeg … Continue reading

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The limekiln at Hyllestad, Western Norway: Rebuilding a new, “historic” kiln for burning lime

Last year we built a limekiln at Millstone Park in Hyllestad, Western Norway, reported on this website. The kiln was built in a traditional fashion, following Roman and Medieval principles. Experimental archaeology! After one burn, which gave excellent quicklime, the kiln was, unfortunately, badly damaged. Cracks in the masonry! So we had to rebuild the kiln to be able to produce more quicklime! Over the last few months a team of professional, Norwegian masons and local volunteers, 15 people altogether, has undertaken the task: Just a little more work to be done, and soon we’ll have two(!) limekilns, one big and one small – for producing “historic” quicklime in the years to come. For restoring old stone buildings.

Below, you will find a report of the rebuilding, written in Norwegian. Use Google Translate if you are not familiar with the language. The report is written by me and was first published on the website of Millstone Park (kvernsteinsparken.no) a couple of days ago. I work part-time as an Associate Professor for Millstone Park and I am project leader and responsible for building, rebuilding and running the limekiln. Great combination of craft and theory, experimental archaeology! But I’m also involved, privately and through my company, Archaeology & Conservation Services, as a local volunteer. Building and running a historic limekiln is a very big task, many months of work for many people! And though the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage is a generous sponsor of the project, voluntary work is indispensable. Thank you all! And here’s the report, with many videos and photos: Continue reading

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Historien om et saghus i Gudbrandsdalen: Produksjon av kleberstein som ildfaststein til smelteovner

Bergverkshistorien er full av særegne beretninger. Hva med Einar Sagflaten? Han startet som kleberarbeider som 15-åring og holdt det gående i 43 år i et helt spesielt saghus for stein: Det fortsatt velbevarte saghuset på Sagflaten ved Sel i Gudbrandsdalen. Einar drev på i kulda og kleberføyka til helsa sa stopp og saghuset ble flyttet i 1982. Da hadde han skåret tusenvis av kleberblokker som skulle ut på lange reiser verden over, til Bilbao og Calcutta og Marokko. Der skulle blokkene brukes til å lage smelteovner for celluloseindustrien. Det handler om kleber som ildfaststein. Bli med på en reise gjennom enorme forandringer i steinindustrien – i løpet av bare 40 år. Det blir også en svipptur til kleberindustrien USA og ikke minst til de gamle jernverkenes masovner. For også her trengtes det ildfaststein. Continue reading

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Taken by the frost! The beauty and destructive force of ice growth on masonry

After 29 years of working with weathering of cultural heritage, I have finally seen it “live”: How the force of ice can destroy plaster on stonework. It is more diverse than I though. A complex and fascinating world of beautiful … Continue reading

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The world’s northernmost medieval marble church

The small, Romanesque Gildeskål church is one of the most complete marble churches in Norway. It resides at the magnificent coast along the Atlantic Ocean far up north, in Nordland county. And it is, presumably, the northernmost marble building in the world. Together with Giske church further south, it is part of outstanding, but little known, medieval marble architecture in Norway, of which Nidaros Cathedral, with thousands of marble columns, is the most spectacular example. Continue reading

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Frostforvitring på kulturminner: Bilder av et fenomen få har dokumentert og formidlet

Mange har meninger om frostforvitring på kulturminner, på stein, murverk, puss og mørtel. Men det er få som har dokumentert fenomenet med bilder. Derfor er det mye synsing om «isens ødeleggende kraft». Her presenteres nye fotos av hva som faktisk kan skje når kalkmørtel blir offer for frost. Det dreier seg bl.a. om islinser som dannes og vokser i eksisterende svakhetsplan og sprenger biter bort. Stedet er den nye, «middelalderske» kalkovnen i Kvernsteinsparken i Hyllestad i Ytre Sogn. Continue reading

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Burning the beaches. Happy New Year from the Faroe Islands!

The Faroe Islands, in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean. Basalt and other volcanic stone everywhere! Yet, many buildings on the islands were erected by the use of lime mortar, from the Middle Ages on. There is absolutely no limestone on the Faroes. Thus, lime mortar had to be produced by “burning the beaches” – collecting shells from beach deposits, stacking the shells above a fire in a field kiln – and let it happen: Hold the temperature at some 900 degrees centigrade for a couple of days, and out comes quicklime to be mixed with water and beach sand for the mortar. Continue reading

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Værnes: Norges mest komplette sandsteinskirke fra middelalderen

Den er dekorert med elementer av kleberstein og klorittskifer, men ellers er det sandstein så langt øyet kan se: Værnes er Norges mest komplette sandsteinskirke fra middelalderen! Den rager i størrelse og volum av brukt sandstein langt over middelalderbyggverk i tilsvarende stein i andre deler av landet! Her er et sammendrag av min artikkel til boken «Værnes kirke – en kulturskatt i stein og tre» som ble utgitt for et par uker siden (november 2016). Det er Grubleseminaret som står bak, med Morten Stige og Kjell Erik Pettersson som fantastiske redaktører av boken! Continue reading

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