Photo Credits: Tyveriet på Universitetsmuseet/Burglary at The University Museum of Bergen Facebook Group
On Monday, August 14, University of Bergen staff discovered there had been a burglary over the weekend. A massive collection of invaluable Viking artifacts had been stolen in a raid being called Norway’s largest museum heist.
The Viking Age and Iron Age artifacts, which were being temporarily stored in a warehouse, stemmed mainly from gravesites in Western counties of Hordaland, Sogn og Fjordane, Rogaland and Sunnmøre. This map shows the approximate site where each item was found.
Henrik von Achen, the director of the University Museum, says that several factors point to this being a professional job, as the thieves knew exactly when the artifacts would be assembled en masse for transportation to a more secure facility. The thieves also knew where to look, and entered on the 7th floor by climbing scaffolding and breaking a window. It is notable that the missing items are small and shiny and easy to transport. Artifacts include book fittings, bowl-shaped buckles, jewelry and keys.
Von Achen called the burglary “a disaster for the museum and for Norwegian heritage,” and hopes that publishing photos of the objects will prove a deterrent to potential buyers. He notes that the items have high historical value, but would not be valuable from a precious metal standpoint.
A Facebook group, Tyveriet på Universitetsmuseet/Burglary at The University Museum of Bergen was set up with photo albums to help acquaint the public and especially collectors with the missing pieces, so they may be identified if posted on eBay, Etsy or Finn.no, Norway’s online marketplace. Viking enthusiasts around the world are already pitching in on the site to help recover the treasures.