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!

“Nidaros: The Portland Cement Cathedral” (Baker Memorial Lecture)

This week I attended the international conference “Rediscovering Traditional Mortars” in Trondheim. The conference was hosted by the Nidaros Cathedral Workshop and it was part of the annual conferences organised by the British Building Limes Forum and its Nordic counterpart.

I was lucky to be invited to keep two lectures, one on the experimental lime burning in Hyllestad earlier this year, and the Baker Memorial Lecture during the gala dinner. A very great honour to keep this traditional lecture for more than 230 delegates! I concentrated the lecture on the use of Portland Cement during the restoration of Nidaros Cathedral from 1869 on. Read on to get a glimpse of all the problems it has caused! Continue reading

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Forvitring av kleberstein på middelalderkirker – to videoer

Sist vinter holdt jeg to foredrag om forvitring av kleberstein sett i lys av bygnings- og restaureringshistorie. Det dreide seg om portaler fra norsk middelalder og foredragene ble holdt på «Portalseminaret» i regi av «Domkirken 2025»; miljøet som nå restaurerer Stavanger domkirke og som jeg også er en liten del av. Alle foredragene fra seminaret (og mange andre interessante saker om restaureringen) er nå lagt ut på YouTube.

Kanskje kan mine to foredrag være til hjelp for folk som sliter med å forstå hvorfor kleberstein forvitrer. Veldig mye dreier seg om hva bygningene har vært utsatt for av forandringer og restaureringer gjennom tidene. Men noe av forvitringen kan også knyttes til steinkvalitet, tidligere luftforurensning og ikke minst vann! Rett og slett lekkasjer! Innholdet i foredragene er i stor grad basert på min gamle doktoravhandling “The Stones of Nidaros” fra 1997 og mange artikler om forvitringshistorie, bl.a. “Weathering of soapstone in a historical perspective”. Continue reading

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Experimental archaeology: Building a “classic”, intermittent limekiln and burning marble at Millstone Park, Hyllestad, Western Norway

It took us about six months: Building a cylindrical limekiln of the classic Roman/Medieval type with local materials only – stone rubble and clay. In June this year, we built the firing chamber and filled the kiln with 2.5 tons of local marble, covered the kiln with clay on a layer of spruce branches and started burning. Five days and five nights with much of the local community involved! Here’s an extended photo story of the project – the first of its kind in Norway. The quicklime (burnt marble) will be tested at Selja medieval monastery and other restoration projects in Norway. Thanks to all paid and volunteers and support from The ruin restoration programme of the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage, as well as Hyllestad Municipality! The project was carried out by The Norwegian Millstone Centre/The Museums in Sogn og Fjordane County. Continue reading

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Update after long absence – follow on facebook

Over the last six months I’ve been immersed in practical and scientific works and so I’ve been unable to write sensible blog posts on this website. I guess most bloggers experience something similar once in a while. If you want … Continue reading

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Happy New Year from the most beautiful old quarry in Western Norway!

With a picture – taken today – of a most beautiful little, old quarry in Western Norway, I wish all my clients, partners, colleagues and followers of my website a Happy New Year!

I’ve been up and down Norway many times in 2016: Special thanks to my clients! Those who have actually made the world go round for my company and my family: first of all Archaeological Museum at the University of Stavanger, but also Tromsø University Museum, the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage and Selje Municipality, Norwegian Institute of Cultural Heritage Research, the Restoration Workshop of Nidaros Cathedral and Akasia Bergen, as well as Statsbygg and Forsvarsbygg.

Also thanks to institutions that I have cooperated much with in 2016, in particular Bergen University Museum, Geological Survey of Norway and The Wadi el-Hudi Expedition (Egypt/US).

The photo above was taken in the afternoon today, on New Year’s Eve. It shows a tiny part of the grand Viking Age and Medieval millstone quarry landscape in Hyllestad. In my world it is the most beautiful quarry in Western Norway, a quarry taken over by a creek in the rainy midwinter season. But no wonder why I think it is a beauty: it is located in my backyard.

Thus, also thanks for 2016 to Norwegian Millstone Centre/The Museums in Sogn og Fjordane County, that are responsible for this largest Viking Age and Medieval quarry landscape in Northern Europe. This is where I work part-time and the reason why my family and I settled at the Atlantic coast a couple of years ago.

All the best for 2017! Continue reading

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Geoarchaeology of the famous ancient amethyst mines in Wadi el-Hudi, Egypt: Desert heritage at risk

This fall I joined the Wadi el-Hudi expedition to the famous Middle Kingdom amethyst gemstone mines in the Eastern Desert south-east of Aswan. The expedition is led by Dr. Kate Liszka of California State University San Bernardino (US), and over the last few seasons it has excavated and documented the ancient mining settlements in very high detail. My task was to take a closer look at the geoarchaeology – to try and understand relationships between geology and mining. It is hugely important to document what is left, for the ancient mining area is now at high risk from looting, modern gold mining and stone quarrying. Continue reading

Posted in Ancient Egypt, Archaeology, Heritage destruction, New projects, Old mines, Ruins | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

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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Fra Aswan til Hyllestad. Hva er et steinbruddlandskap?

Menneskene har brutt stein til alle mulige formål siden tidenes morgen. Men hva er et steinbruddlandskap? Hva kan vi si om alle de millioner av steder der folk har tatt ut stein? Fra den tidligste steinalder til i dag? Det var temaet jeg fikk til et foredrag på det 14. Hyllestadseminaret i slutten av april 2016, i regi av Norsk Kvernsteinsenter. Dessuten skulle jeg snakke om hvordan steinbruddlandskap kan formidles. Jeg innså raskt at oppgaven var helt umulig. Continue reading

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Gneiss for the Pharaoh: Geology of the Third Millennium BCE Chephren’s Quarries in Southern Egypt

Chephren’s Quarry. A name imbued with splendour. It was not the first quarry from which stone vessels and sculpture were provided in Ancient Egypt, but it was definitely the most spectaular one. Work started here, far south in the Western Desert of Egypt, already by the Predynastic period or earlier. By the Old Kingdom, 4500 years ago, it was a huge work site, comprising 700 quarry pits in the flat desert, covering an area of some 50 square kilometres. With Tom Heldal as the lead author, Ian Shaw, Elizabeth Bloxam and I have now written an account of how geology shaped Chephren’s Quarry. It is a story spanning millions of years, explaining the beauty of this hard, bluish stone – and how it could be exploited. Continue reading

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Gamle steinbrudd som UNESCO-verdensarv? En analyse

Det er nesten ingen gamle steinbrudd på UNESCOs verdensarvliste. Det er ikke bra, for steinbruddene var helt sentrale produksjonssteder for verktøy, husgeråd, våpen, boliger, kunst, monumenter – arkitektur – kort sagt en vesentlig del av hva som var viktig i gamle samfunn – og i dag: Store deler av verdens kulturarv er jo basert på brytning av stein. Spørsmålet er: Hvor går veien videre for gamle steinbrudd som verdensarvsteder? Kanskje Norge burde fremme en egen steinbruddsnominasjon? Eller kanskje dette rike landet burde hjelpe mindre bemidlede nasjoner med å få eldgamle steinbrudd inn på verdensarvlisten? Man kunne jo starte i Egypt, landet med den største konsentrasjonen av gamle steinbrudd i verden. Continue reading

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