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The collection of Norwegian antiquities

Image may contain: Artifact.

Axe from Østfold. C60263.

Photo: Kulturhistorisk museum, UiO, Lill-Ann Chepstow-Lusty

National antiquities

When the Antiquities Commission was established in 1811 by the Norwegian Society for Development, one of its aims was to collect antiquities discovered in Norway. This became the basis for the University’s Collection of National Antiquities, which during the course of the 1800s grew to be a comprehensive collection of antiquities and medieval objects, especially church art.

Collected from the south-east of Norway

In the beginning, objects were collected from all over Norway. When the first legislation regulating antiquities was drawn up in 1905, the University’s Collection of National Antiquities was made responsible for antiquities and medieval objects from Norway’s 10 south-eastern counties on behalf of the State.

1,000,000 objects

The collections have been built up gradually. People who have found artefacts have handed them over, and archaeological excavations are carried out as a part of the museum’s research activities and as a means of fulfilling its responsibilities pursuant to the Cultural Heritage Act. Today the collection consists of over one million objects.

Findings must be reported

In accordance with the Cultural Heritage Act of 9 June 1978, artefacts from before 1537 AD which come to light by chance, through excavation or in any other way are State property. The finder of a protected artefact has a duty to report the find to the local police, the county authorities, or directly to the museum. The selling of antiquities is prohibited in Norway.

Explore further

Visit the Unimus Portal database for more objects and photos.

Published Nov. 27, 2012 4:53 PM - Last modified Feb. 9, 2021 9:53 AM