Instruments at the SO lab and their uses

For the research on alum-conserved wood from the Oseberg find, a laboratory with advanced chemical analysis instruments has been set up at the pavilion in Bygdøy.

Image may contain: Room, Desk, Furniture, Office, Desktop computer.

Our ambition is to use this lab more widely for cultural heritage materials after the conclusion of the Saving Oseberg project in 2020, and continue this laboratory as part of a national research infrastructure for cultural heritage under the name SciCult (Science for Cultural heritage). Below is a list of Saving Oseberg's instruments and their applications in heritage science.

During the project period, Saving Oseberg project has prioritised access to the facilities. However, when capacity allows, researchers from other projects at the University of Oslo and elsewhere are welcome to make use of the instruments and expertise at Saving Oseberg.

If you have ideas for applying SO lab analyses to your own research project, please contact the project manager Hartmut Kutzke, who will discuss this with the team.

Relocation to Økern In the period October-November 2019, we will move the lab and all the instruments from Bygdøy to Økern in Oslo.  The lab may not be fully operational again before January 2020, but we expect that most instruments will be accessible earlier. Just take contact if you have any questions about access to the lab.


Type of analysis


Fourier transformed infrared spectrometer (FTIR)

Analysis and identification of  organic and inorganic materials

Used for wood, textiles, papers, plastics, minerals, etc, also liquid samples

Raman spectrometer

Analysis and identification of inorganic and organic materials

Used for pigments, stone, plastics, minerals, etc, also liquid samples

Ultraviolet-visible spectrometer


Monitoring  change in concentration, colour measurements

Used for solution samples

Scanning electron microscope


High resolution images

Used to investigate samples of small size (under mm)

Energy-dispersive X-ray detector


Elemental analysis, high spatial resolution

(Elements C-U)

Used for identification of elements and their distribution within the analysed surface

X-ray diffractometer


Identification and analysis of crystalline compounds

Used for minerals, inorganic compounds

High pressure liquid chromatograph


Separation and identification of organic non-volatile compounds

Used for drugs, peptides, pesticides, pigments, etc.

Gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer


Separation and identification of organic volatile compounds

Used for oils, alcohols, amino acids, etc.

Handheld X-ray fluorescence detector


Mobile instrument for elemental analysis

(Elements Na-U)

Gives information about the bulk elemental composition, e.g. of soils

Optical microscope

Benchtop instrument

Investigation is possible in UV light as well

Dino-Lite USB microscope

Digital microscope

Can be used also handheld


Colour measurements

Handheld for solid samples


Benchtop instrumentBenchtop instrumentBenchtop instrument

For solutions in water

Conductivity meter

Benchtop instrument

For solutions in water

Freeze dryer

Benchtop instrument

For drying of waterlogged materials








Instruments at the Saving Oseberg lab

By Louis Boumans, Caitlin McQueen, Calin Steindal
Published May 23, 2019 10:22 AM - Last modified Mar. 5, 2021 8:26 AM