Thursday, 19 April 2012

Good-bye, Piece of Cultural History.

If you are reading this blog, there is a rather high chance that the name "Oseberg" will mean something to you. Just in case it does not: The Oseberg ship was a Viking age burial ship and a spectacular archaeological find. It has beautiful carvings, and, as usual for a burial ship, was equipped with the burial (of course), other wooden items (such as a wagon), non-wooden items, and some equally spectacular textiles (the pictures aren't of spectacular quality in this link, but it will give you an overview of the finds).

The ship was found in 1903 and excavated in 1904. And now, it seems, the wooden items are in really, really dire need of reconservation - as this article (in Norwegian) describes.

For those of you who do not read Norwegian: The conservation method used for several of the wooden finds (not the ship) was employing alum as a stabilising agent. This has made the wood very brittle, and now it has been found that the finds are slowly rotting away from the inside, so that  they are only still kept together by the slightly more stable surface. The main items afflicted with this are the wagon and the sled. The museum has asked for money from the Norwegian government to save the finds, but this was denied. Because, the government says, the museum and/or university should be paying for something like this out of their own budget.  (They asked for approximately 5 million Euro to save the finds. And everybody knows that any museum or university can easily afford a sum like that, just so, at the drop of any hat.)
According to the article, the finds could fall apart any moment. (Thanks to Natascha Mehler and Rainer Schreg for translating all that to German, so I could translate on.)

I don't know what to say. I really, really don't. Norway is not that poor a country, and the finds really are outstanding and a piece of their cultural heritage.

Now the museum's last hope is for private sponsors. 

I still can't believe this.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Oh, how very sad!