The Viking Ship Museum (part 1 of 2)

This is part one of the picture reel from my latest visit to this glorious museum. I hope you enjoy it!
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“There were five rattles in the Oseberg grave. We are not sure what they were used for: perhaps as musical instruments, sleigh bells fitted on the brindle or cult objects to be used in religious rituals or processions.”
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“One of the rattles found in the grave chamber would appear to be of this last variety. The rattle and hook were found fastened to the carved animal head-posts.”
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Detail on the bucket found in the Oseberg mound (ca AD 800). You probably notice the Swastika. In the 1940s, it was misinterpreted by the nazis as a “proof” of white supremacy thoughts among vikings.  According to Kim Hjardar, (historian and writer of “Vikinger i Krig”) The vikings had no racial agenda for their pillaging.
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Animal heads. There are loads of different theories about what they were used for. They might have had ritualistic significance.
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Viking Bling 

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“When the objects in the Oseberg mound were excavated, there were remnants of colours on some of them: Red, reddish brown, black, yellow and grey-white. The most colourful of all the burial gifts were the sledges.”
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“In his diary, archeologist professor G. Gustafson who was in charge of the excavation in 1904 writes about his dilemma. Should the colors or the carvings be given priority? Alum conservation was the best and only method of preserving the shape and carvings of the artefacts. The problem was that alum conservation would also destroy the surface and therefore the colours. Gustafson sacrificed the colours to save the carvings.”
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“What can be done to prevent the artefacts from the Oseberg mound from degrade? Research to conserve the Oseberg find proceeding on three main fronts:
– Elucidating the current condition of the physical and chemical composition of the wood on the artefacts
– Examining wether existing conservation methods can be adapted and used
– Developing completely new conservation methods

This is urgent! The researchers face difficult choices, and their decisions may have terminal consequences:

Should the researchers take action now? Halting the degradation before it goes too far? They are concerned that the existing methods may not be sufficient since there is a lack of knowledge of how current methods last over time. Or wether there are unforeseen problems with them. Should conservation wait until researchers have found better methods? This risks that the artefacts will disintegrate while awaiting new treatment. How long can they wait?”

To those of you who have the opportunity to go and se the Oseberg finds in person: please do so. There is a high probability that it won’t last long due to the degrading.

TEXT: from The Viking Ship Museum, University of Oslo, Norway.
Pictures: Sól Geirsdóttir, The Viking Queen. 

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19 thoughts on “The Viking Ship Museum (part 1 of 2)

  1. Pingback: The Viking Ship Museum (part 1 of 2) | Inexplicable Things

  2. Such beautiful artefacts! It’s an incredible shame that the colours couldn’t be preserved. So many historical items are missing their colours (Greek sculpture, medieval cathedrals) and I think it really distorts our image of the past. We aren’t the first people on earth to like bright, colourful things!

  3. I watched an article this weekend about conservation and reproduction of art pieces.
    “Scanner 3D protect memory of cultural properties – Digitalizing of art pieces is to secure data and to permit a perfect reproduction. So do not let the cultural heritage be forgotten.”

    http://www.dw.com/pt/scanner-3d-protege-mem%C3%B3ria-de-bens-culturais/av-18536658

    Maybe this company could help the museum in this situation:

    http://www.fraunhofer.de/en/research/fields-of-research/security-protection/restoration-and-protection-of-cultural-property.html

  4. I watched an article this weekend about conservation and reproduction of art pieces.
    “Scanner 3D protect memory of cultural properties – Digitalizing of art pieces is to secure data and to permit a perfect reproduction. So do not let the cultural heritage be forgotten.” I translated some parts of it:

    http://www.dw.com/pt/scanner-3d-protege-mem%C3%B3ria-de-bens-culturais/av-18536658

    “Cultural goods are often fragile, they can be destroyed in disasters such as earthquakes or by religious fanatics.
    The Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics in Germany developed a 3D scanner 6m long. It can faithfully copy any work of art and ensure data for future generations.

    Sculptures, busts or tools are in an automated treadmill and go through a curved scanner that copies all sides of the work. Nine cameras and nine LED flashes photograph and illuminate the object from all possible perspectives.

    ‘We need every possible combination of light and perspectives of the object to reproduce his features. When we put the virtual object in a virtual lighting it will seem real.’

    In a second step, a robotic arm scan areas not recognized by the other device. The result is more than 7,000 photos and from them will be a perfect 3D model. It is raised in 10 minutes and hardly notice the difference from the original. The image shows not only the shape and appearance of the bust, but as the light is reflected and absorbed. It is a realistic three-dimensional picture.

    The researchers also developed a solution for large statues. The Scanner robot moves around alone around the sculpture, scan and take pictures, generating a work in 3 dimensions.
    The automated scanner should scan in the future millions of museum pieces. A quick and inexpensive method to archive virtual reproductions of objects. Everything can be done in their own museum at a cost 30 times lower.
    The key to this system is that it is mobile and can be mounted on 3h and transported with ease.”

    Maybe this company could help the museum in this situation:

    http://www.fraunhofer.de/en/research/fields-of-research/security-protection/restoration-and-protection-of-cultural-property.html

  5. I watched an article last week about conservation and reproduction of art pieces.
    “Scanner 3D protect memory of cultural properties – Digitalizing of art pieces is to secure data and to permit a perfect reproduction. So do not let the cultural heritage be forgotten.” I translated some parts of it:

    http://www.dw.com/pt/scanner-3d-protege-mem%C3%B3ria-de-bens-culturais/av-18536658

    “Cultural goods are often fragile, they can be destroyed in disasters such as earthquakes or by religious fanatics.
    The Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics in Germany developed a 3D scanner 6m long. It can faithfully copy any work of art and ensure data for future generations.

    Sculptures, busts or tools are in an automated treadmill and go through a curved scanner that copies all sides of the work. Nine cameras and nine LED flashes photograph and illuminate the object from all possible perspectives.

    ‘We need every possible combination of light and perspectives of the object to reproduce his features. When we put the virtual object in a virtual lighting it will seem real.’

    In a second step, a robotic arm scan areas not recognized by the other device. The result is more than 7,000 photos and from them will be a perfect 3D model. It is raised in 10 minutes and hardly notice the difference from the original. The image shows not only the shape and appearance of the bust, but as the light is reflected and absorbed. It is a realistic three-dimensional picture.

    The researchers also developed a solution for large statues. The Scanner robot moves around alone around the sculpture, scan and take pictures, generating a work in 3 dimensions.
    The automated scanner should scan in the future millions of museum pieces. A quick and inexpensive method to archive virtual reproductions of objects. Everything can be done in their own museum at a cost 30 times lower.
    The key to this system is that it is mobile and can be mounted on 3h and transported with ease.”

    Maybe this company could help the museum in this situation:

    http://www.fraunhofer.de/en/research/fields-of-research/security-protection/restoration-and-protection-of-cultural-property.html

  6. Pingback: The Oseberg Ship (part one) | TheVikingQueen

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