It came as a horrible surprise. Just a few weeks before, a museum in Norway had intended to move invaluable Viking artifacts from their temporary home in the Bergen University museum to a more secure location. Just a day before the moving could take place, though, 300-400 items were stolen. It happened sometime in between August 11 and 13.
The items included small metal objects and jewelry. It’s unclear why these items were even stolen in the first place. It wasn’t for their monetary value. None of the items are made out of precious metals. It’s the cultural loss that’s hitting Norway hard. According to the museum director, the cultural value of the pieces are “immeasurable”. They date back to the Iron Age and Viking Era.
“Yet the great and immeasurable loss is connected to the cultural history value of the items, which exceeds the monetary value many times over.” – Henrik Von Achen, Director of the University of Bergen.
According to the police, the thieves climbed scaffolding on the outside of the building and shattered a pane on the seventh floor to get in without being seen. The alarm did go off twice, but the guards on duty didn’t notice anything suspicious. Henrik von Achen, the museum director, said, “It is a significant number. This is not a burglary where someone has come in and been in a rush. We are becoming increasingly despaired as the list of stolen objects grows longer.”
“The (security) measures were not sufficient, we should have had additional security elements in place,” the museum director acknowledged.
Unfortunately, the only thing anyone can do at this point is look for the stolen pieces. Norwegian police are investigating the case alongside international forces in hope of recovering them. Meanwhile, the Museum is doing everything in its power to help. They’re working on taking stock of every stolen artifact, and are uploading pictures of them to various social media sites, including the Facebook page Theft at the Historical Museum – the Viking Treasure , and are asking that the public keep their eyes open on sites like Ebay and Craigslist in case the thieves try and sell their haul.
“Look for our cultural heritage on Finn, eBay, and other markets… We are now trying to reconstruct exactly what happened, but it takes time to clarify this. The most important thing for us now is first and foremost to get an overview of what’s stolen and if possible to get the items back,” said von Achen.
Hopefully, it won’t be too long before the objects are recovered.
“If the stolen objects are not returned, this is by far the most terrible event in the 200 years of Norwegian museum history.” – Henrik von Achen.