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- Burning sea shells to make quicklime
- Novel micro-images of lime mortar destruction by frost weathering
- Tjenester for kulturminnevernet: Hva gjør en geoarkeolog for steinbygninger, steinbrudd og bergkunst?
- The limekiln at Hyllestad, Western Norway: Rebuilding a new, “historic” kiln for burning lime
- Historien om et saghus i Gudbrandsdalen: Produksjon av kleberstein som ildfaststein til smelteovner
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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
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
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
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
Endelig i gang med hotmix! Med lesking og testing av nybrent Hyllestadkalk til bruk i mørtel for restaurering. Som mange vil huske, brant Norsk Kvernsteinsenter lokal marmor i en nybygd «middelalderovn» i Hyllestad sist juni, et prosjekt støttet av Riksantikvaren. Planen er å leske og teste brentkalken på flere restaureringsprosjekter i Norge, bl.a. på Selja klosterruiner og Stavanger domkirke. Sidene jeg regelmessig jobber sammen med kollegaer i Stavanger, har vi nå gjort flere tester på domkirken med George Murphy og Bjørn Idland, som er restaureringsmurere ved Arkeologisk Museum (UiS). Det er ikke lett å leske kalk som er brent på tradisjonell måte. For det vil alltid være halvbrente og ubrente biter i slik kalk. Akkurat som i middelalderen. Vi lesket kalken på tre ulike måter, og det var liten tvil: tradisjonell hotmix ga det foreløpig beste resultatet! Continue reading
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
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
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
Madammen som rodde langs Sørlandskysten og startet et mineraleventyr på 1700-tallet. Var det sånn i steinalderen også?
Sist sommer var jeg invitert av Kulturhistorisk museum (UiO) for å undersøke et lite kvartsbrudd fra steinalderen på Kvastad mellom Arendal og Tvedestrand. Anledningen var de arkeologiske undersøkelsene som foregår i forkant av ny E18-utbygging. Det ble nok brutt litt kvarts til redskaper på Kvastad, men det ble det sikkert også i flere forekomster langs Sørlandskysten – en region svært rik på god kvarts. Hvordan fant steinalderfolket disse forekomstene? Det slo meg at Madam Jørgensen kunne være et godt bilde på tidlig mineralleting: Hun rodde langs kysten på slutten av 1700-tallet – på let etter kvarts og feltspat. Og dermed startet et lite mineraleventyr. Continue reading