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I work with the geoarchaeology of old stone: quarries, monuments, rock art. And I try to figure out about their weathering and conservation. My domestic services are managed through FABRICA, a registered Norwegian company established with good partners. On this website I publish articles on heritage. For the joy of old stone! Per Storemyr
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Category Archives: Switzerland
Over er det et bilde av noe du har sett tusen ganger før. Halitt! Vanlig koksalt. Natriumklorid. Ganske enkelt bordsalt. Havsalt! Havet inneholder jo noe sånt som 3,5% oppløst salt. Når pyttene i fjæra får stå i fred noen dager og sola skinner fra skyfri himmel, da lurer saltet seg ut. Sjøvannet fordamper og etterlater seg de fineste krystaller av ren halitt. Sånn laget man koksalt i gamle dager, handlet med det, kriget om det. For uten koksalt kan vi ikke leve. Kanskje fyrte man opp under brede kjeler med sjøvann for å få fordampningen til å gå raskere, kanskje kjøpte man salt fra store saltgruver på Kontinentet. Men prinsippet er det samme: Når saltholdig vann fordamper, da får vi krystallinsk salt. Men hva om du ikke visste at de fine krystallene i fjæra er koksalt? Og hva om du fant noe som lignet på disse krystallene på et ødelagt murmaleri eller en steinskulptur fra middelalderen? Hva gjør krystallene forresten der? Var det de som ødela? Hva gjør du da? Continue reading
I want to thank my readers for following my blog in 2013. Happy New Year to you all!
I really do appreciate your loyalty and I hope to be able to write more articles for you about stone – about quarries, monuments and rock art – in 2014 than I did in 2013. In the year that is soon coming to an end I had to focus on various projects and writing for other media than the internet. Many of the great places that I visited and worked at in 2013 may certainly turn up in future blog posts, so I hope you will continue to follow my writings in 2014. As for now, here’s a cavalcade of images from some of the quarries, monuments and rock art sites that touched me over the past twelve months. They span all of history from the Mesolithic to the Early Modern era. Enjoy the slide show! Continue reading
Switzerland is renowned for its castles and castle ruins, remnants of the feudal Middle Ages. A time when we may not have wanted to live! At least not as common people. But sometimes we may question whether life was much better for the nobility, for society’s elite. Take a look at the remains of Kropfenstein castle, pinned to a vertical cliff in Surselva (Grisons), hardly accessible, away from the nearest village. Great place for a special holiday, you might think – but would you have liked to reside here, year in, year out? – With photo gallery. Continue reading
Working with the Berne Minster Workshop on mapping the quarries used for the cathedral, I visited the Wabern quarry just outside the city centre yesterday. Though it is unclear to what extent it was employed for the cathedral in the Middle Ages, it is a most remarkable quarry: For it was reused as a brewery for “Gurten Beer” from the 1860s on. Since I have noted the link between stone extraction and beer drinking through history (see last part of this story), I thought I ought to post the photo above of a wonderful old horse cart with a beer barrel remaining in the quarries. Continue reading
Grisons – or in German Graubünden – is the largest canton in Switzerland, in the middle of the Alps, bordering Italy and Austria. It is renowned for its magnificent nature and countless medieval castle ruins. But Grisons has a truly … Continue reading
Even until the 1950s the quarrymen in Berne extracted their sandstone using pickaxes. They carved out trenches around the blocks to be removed, not unlike the way their colleagues did 5.000 years ago in ancient Egypt. Why so? Join me … Continue reading
Working as a conservation scientist I care for cultural heritage. My “problem” is that I’m also interested in the history of decay, including catastrophic events; just these phenomena that turn old masonry to rubble. But I’ve never seen it “live” … Continue reading
Ten days ago winter arrived in the Swiss Alps with massive snowfall. Subsequent temperature increase and intensive rainfall led to major floods, avalanches and destruction of infrastructure such as villages and roads. Such events sometimes also affect old buildings and … Continue reading
Switzerland has a wealth of medieval castle ruins. In the Canton of Graübunden they are particularly numerous with, for example, the valley of Vorderrheintal (Surselva) displaying no less than about 50 ruins. Some are almost gone, others are kept in … Continue reading
Quarrying in the old days was often carried out at astonishing places, leaving very special formations – and legends – behind. The “Devil’s Church” or Tüfels Chilen in the Canton of Zurich is such a remarkable, combined work of nature … Continue reading