Exhibition Hall


An exhibition about Eiker as an Iron Age seat of power


Despite spectacular archaeological finds having been made in Øvre Eiker up through the centuries, this is the first time those finds are being exhibited in the municipality in which they were discovered. The Fiskum Axe, The Hoen Hoard, and The Solberg Vase are all examples of archaeological finds that are internationally known and have been exhibited in some of the finest museums abroad. But never here in Øvre Eiker, where they were found.


The theme of this exhibition is the ancient history of Sem Farm, a farm complex that in the Middle Ages was an aristocratic manor farm and the hub of a region that embraced several of today’s municipalities. New research has disclosed that Sem’s status as a seat of power for a large hinterland stretches back further than Norway’s union with Denmark (1380–1814).


The objects in this exhibition have all been discovered with metal detectors. The exhibition film tells the story of the people who rescued the objects from the earth, on a voluntary basis, and in conjunction with the heritage authorities.


The long, continuous settlement at Sem during the Iron Age is illustrated by the many costume brooches which have been found there. The brooches, each in the style and fashion of its time, acted as as a sort of exclusive safety pin by which textiles could be drawn together into capes and gowns. And all of them ended up in the ground, either misplaced or lost, or as grave goods. Until they were discovered in our own time.


This exhibition has been based on many hundreds of finds, but very many of them are highly fragmented and damaged after being disturbed in the earth during ploughing. While small, robust bronze brooches of maybe an inch in size often remain intact, the larger, more intricate objects such as saucer brooches, pins, and crossbow-shaped brooches have been broken up into pieces of an inch or less.


We want to show what it is possible to read from these fragments. These finds have been interpreted as evidence of Sem having held a special position in an already rich agricultural community, and to explain how we have arrived at this conclusion, we have reconstructed two objects. One is the reliquary casket, based on three fragments with a particular style and glass decoration; the other is a sword, based on the find of part of the hilt of a magnificent sword.


The exhibition is a collaborative project between Viken County Council, Veien Kulturminnepark, the Museum of Cultural History, and Øvre Eiker Municipality. Financial support that has helped us realise the project has come from Sparebankstiftelsen DNB, Viken County Council, and Øvre Eiker Municipality.


Welcome to the first archeological exhibition in Eiker!



Bernt-Egil Tafjord (Project Manager)
Øvre Eiker Municipality


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The exhibition opens on 6 May. 

Photo: Nils Anderssen