Posts Tagged ‘National museum’

Jacob Schomann was out on some fishing just outside the Danish town of Vordingborg. It was quite little fish so he spent some of the time looking down into the water.

Suddenly between some rocks he something glimmering in yellow… He got the idea to fish it up. He got it on the hook and he to his surprise it was a heavy gold arm ring from the Viking Age!

The pattern on the arm ring showed it was made in the beginning in the 9th century. The place where it was found was an important trade route during the Viking Age and along the trade route many silver and gold objects have been found.

The finding is one more important evidence of the importance and richness of the trade route. But also maybe of the fear having precious items that was dug down by merchants or someone living in the area that feelt unsure of keeping it visible…

The fisherman will also receive some money for the find from the Danish National museum. This is because since the Middle Ages the Danish King and later the Danish Government should receive all found gold and silver objects and in return the finder got some money. In this way the king/government could display the richness of the cultural heritage in their own country for foreign rulers and governments.

But for us archaeologists it is very unusual finding silver or gold objects the most common metal is iron. But it is beautiful objects and this gold arm ring also bring some more knowledge to the research and maybe brings the possibilities for research excavations in this case maritime archaeology since the shore from the 9th century today is under water….

You can also see a video below where staff from the National Museum in Copenhagen explains why people should return gold and silver objects. (The clip is in Danish).

Today new exciting evidence about the Saqqaq culture have been revelaed and is the first remains discovered of a human from that culture group. The research professor Bjarne Grønnow at SILA -the Etnographic department at the National museum in Copenhagen have together with a group of scientists discovered a piece of hair 4000 year old.

The hair was found at the settlement at Qeqertasussuk in Greenland and the DNA extracted from hair show some very interesting information and also is an evidence for the theory archaeologists had about the Saqqaq people in Greenland. The theory was that people from Siberia went from Siberia to Greenland about 4000-4500 years ago about 2500 BC. The hair now shows that the Saqqaq and the most related Siberian groups today Chukchi and Koryak splitted at about 5,500 years ago. People came to Greenland and settled in the western part about 4000 years ago.

The owner of the hair was a black-haired, brown-eyed man with the bloodtype A+. Bjarne Grønnow says the most important thing about this new exciting discovery is that the archaeologists now have proof that the first people on Greenland the paleo-eskimoes from what we today call the Saqqaq-culture originated from the eastern part of Siberia. This makes it possible to closer know where the different cultures in Greenland and Siberia was born.

You can read more here from the Nationalmuseum in Copenhagen (it’s in Danish)

and here as well about the DNA-analysis (this is in English)


The drawing is made by Nuka Godfredsen.

He also draws a lot of other motives from Greenland and also is making comic-books to spread the exciting history of Greenland.

You can see his homepage here

I have worked together with SILA in Greenland in 2007. We were a team about 20 people from Sweden, Denmark, Austria, Germany, Greenland and Canada. The project was coordinated by the Nationalmuseums in Copenhagen and Nuuk. We excavated soapstone quarries, a settlement from the Saqqaq culture and did many excursions and discovered and registered very many monuments, buildings, soapstone quarries and more from the Saqqaq culture to modern soapstone quarries where the soapstone was cut with chainsaws. It was very exciting and much new knowledge was revelead. We was in the Nuuk-area. Nuuk is the capital of Greenland. We were at the end of the Nuuk-fjord closest to the inland ice. It was a great experience as well as an adventure, living in a tent for 4 weeks, no hot water, musk ox roaming around, climbing in the mountains and much more. I should probably do more posts about this in the future. If you are interested in Artic/Greenlandic archaeology or just a quite different archaeology let me know, what do you find interesting and what would you like to know more about? Or do you have any stories from your work as an archaeologist that differs from most archaeology…