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Norwegian stoneware from around 1700
Norwegian stoneware from around 1700 Image: NIKU (Science Nordic)

Norway only protects archaeological sites until 1537

An older Norwegian law states that all archaeological finds up until 1537 are automatically protected. This however, means that all finds from after this date often see little to no protection. The law is a relic from 1905, when it was decided that history under Danish and Swedish rule was of lesser importance and historical artifacts of that era were unworthy.

Christopher McLees, who completed his docotral degree at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology says that the disctinction is a problem, mostly for artifacts from just after the age barrier. The law means that archaeological material is often destoyed on site at excavations and construction work.

“The scope of historical knowledge that we are losing is steadily widening as the material remains of the lives of previous generations are being neglected and destroyed.”

1537 in Norway
1537 marks the Protestant Reformation of Norway, when the country
became a puppet state under Danish rule. It is known as one of the darkest years in Norwegian history. Danish rule ended in 1814, but was succeeded by Swedish rule in 1814.

Read the full article at Science Nordic.