Category Archives: New publications

New paper in new book: The ancient game traps across Lower Nubia

A much awaited book, “The Gazelle’s Dream: Game Drives of the Old and New Worlds”, edited by Alison Betts and W. Paul van Pelt, was published a few months ago. The book is the first dealing with, on a global … Continue reading

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Rock art and red-coated bedrock in Alta, Arctic Norway

Over the past few years Karin Tansem of the Alta World Heritage Rock Art Centre and I have investigated the hypothesis that the famous rock engravings in Alta originally was made on strongly red-coloured bedrock along the seashore. The post-glacial land uplift has subsequently displaced the rock art and the colour has almost completely waned, leaving the rocks dull grey, as we know them today. Now we are happy that our work is finally published as an open-access paper, with Karin as driving force and lead author, in the international journal Geoarchaeology! Here’s the abstract explaining the phenomenon and its implications, and a link to the full paper. Continue reading

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Selja kloster: Hvor kom middelalderens kalkmørtel fra?

Det har en stund vært kjent at hvit og fin marmor ble brent for å lage kalkmørtel til byggingen av Selja kloster i middelalderen. Men hvor ble det brent? Hvor kommer marmoren fra? Her ute i havgapet, langt vest i Norge, er det ingen marmorforekomster. Man må til Sunnmøre eller Bergenstraktene for å finne marmor. Til marmor på Sunnmøre er det ikke langt, bare 20 km i luftlinje. Men i veien står Norges farligste hav, Stadhavet. I middelalderen ble bygningsmaterialer fraktet med båt! Turte man å gå 50-60 km på dette farlige havet, attpåtil med ytterst farlig brentkalk i lasten? Fraktet man heller ubrent kalk? Eller tok man heller den lange turen sørfra, mer enn 250 km? Vi har ennå ikke svaret, men med undersøkelser innen Riksantikvarens bevaringsprogram for ruiner begynner vi å nærme oss. Continue reading

Posted in Archaeology, Marble, New projects, New publications, Norway, Old quarries | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Happy New Year to clients, partners and followers! With photos from work and excursions in 2018

I wish clients, partners and followers of my website a Happy and Prosperous New Year! I am glad for the trust you have shown my little company and me in 2018. And I look forward to aid in conservation and archaeological work at monuments, old stone quarries and rock art sites in 2019. Below is a gallery of photos from some of the sites I worked at and visited on excursions last year. Also, a list of reports, publications and web-articles finalised in 2018 is attached. They give a glimpse of activities, many of which will continue. See you in the new year! Continue reading

Posted in Monument conservation, New projects, New publications, New reports, Norway, Old quarries, Rock art | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

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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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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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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Was Nidaros Cathedral built from stone extracted in a large underground Medieval quarry?

Ancient underground building stone quarries are rather common. They are known since at least the Old Kingdom in Egypt, some 6 500 years ago, when fine limestone was quarried underground close to Cairo (Tura) in order to provide casing stones to the Giza pyramids. But underground quarries are, interestingly, quite rare in the European Middle Ages. Apparently, there was no need to start difficult, large-scale underground operations to build churches, monasteries and cathedrals until the Late Middle Ages, when, for example, the underground limestone quarries in Paris and Caen in France started to become developed toward the gigantic network of tunnels and galleries we know today. Thus, it is remarkable that a huge underground quarry may have been opened around AD 1200 in Trondheim, Norway, in order to provide soapstone for Nidaros Cathedral, the northernmost of Europe’s great medieval cathedrals. Why? Continue reading

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New open-access book: Soapstone in the North. Quarries, Products and People. 7000 BC – AD 1700

NEW BOOK: Hansen, G. & Storemyr, P. (eds.) 2017. Soapstone in the North: Quarries, Products and People. 7000 BC – AD 1700. UBAS University of Bergen Archaeological Series, 9, 408 p. Abstract: “Soapstone is a remarkable rock. While it is soft and very workable, it is also durable and heat-resistant, and with a high heat-storage capacity. These properties have been recognised and valued around the world since prehistoric times, and soapstone has been used for a multitude of purposes, ranging from everyday household utensils to prestigious monuments and buildings. This book addresses soapstone use in Norway and the North Atlantic region, including Greenland. Although the majority of the papers deal with the Iron Age and Middle Ages, the book spans the Mesolithic to the early modern era. It deals with themes related to quarries, products and associated people and institutions in a broad context. Recent years have seen a revival of basic archaeological and geological research into the procurement and use of stone resources. With its authors drawn from the fields of archaeology, geosciences and traditional crafts, the anthology reflects cross-disciplinary work born of this revival.” Continue reading

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“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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