Tag Archives: Trondheim

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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“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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Nidarosdomens grunnfjell. Les utdrag og omtaler av boken!

Min nye bok “Nidarosdomens grunnfjell” er en kulturhistorisk reise i stein, sett fra perspektivet til de som jobbet i steinbruddene – steinbryterne. Vi følger dem fra Det gamle Egypt, gjennom Romerriket og nordover i Europa, helt opp til Trondheim og Nidarosdomen i middelalderen og videre frem til den nye tid. Et meget stort antall steinbrudd i hele Norge ble benyttet til restaurering og gjenreisning av Nidarosdomen – Europas nordligste katedral – fra slutten av 1800-tallet. Mange av bruddene var i drift allerede i middelalderen, noen endog mye tidligere. Fra den nye tid har vi gode kilder. Og de kan hjelpe oss til å forstå hvordan arbeidet gikk for seg i bruddene i middelalderen og enda lengre tilbake i tid.

Få kjøper en bok uten først å ha en anelse om hva den dreier seg om. Derfor finner du i denne artikkelen nok opplysninger til at du bare må få tak i “Nidarosdomens grunnfjell”! Continue reading

Posted in Ancient Egypt, Archaeology, New projects, New publications, Norway, Old quarries | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Making medieval stone architecture: the use of slate in Central Norway

The use of slate has traditions back to the Neolithic in Norway. Stone that were easy to split could be used for anything from the erection of fine burial chambers to the production of knives – phenomena that have been … Continue reading

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Quarrying of soft stone through history

Quarrying of soft stone has been done with remarkably uniform methods over the last 5000 years. From Ancient Egypt to modern Norway – soft stone, like sandstone, limestone and soapstone, was nearly always taken from bedrock using chisels or picks. … Continue reading

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Nidarosdomens steinbrudd: Byggingen av Kristkirken (1070-1100)

Denne historien er en liten del av min bok “Nidarosdomens grunnfjell” (2015). Les mer om boken her. Tenk deg at du for nesten 1000 år siden er engelsk byggmester og har fått i oppdrag å reise en av Norges aller … Continue reading

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Experimental archaeology: The traditional way of quarrying soapstone

Experimental archaeology in old building stone quarries is a rare activity. But not so for Norwegian stone carver Eva Stavsøien. She asked herself how soapstone was extracted in the Middle Ages. Bringing handmade pickaxes, she went to an abandoned quarry … Continue reading

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Impressions from summer fieldwork in Norway

Over the last few weeks I’ve been back in Norway for projects on conservation of medieval castle ruins, as well as on provenance of medieval and more modern building stone. Here are some impressions!*

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Where does the stone at Nidaros Cathedral come from?

Stone to the northernmost of Europe’s great cathedrals was provided from no less than 50 different quarries across Norway and to some extent from elsewhere in Europe. But there are great differences between the medieval building period (11th to 14th … Continue reading

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New publications 2009-2010

Though published some months ago, I would like to briefly present four of my most recent publications. Two derives from the EU QuarryScapes project, two from a conference last year in Trondheim about new research at Nidaros Cathedral.

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