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Andreas Oldeberg papers, circa 1940-1975

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Title: Andreas Oldeberg papers
Dates: circa 1940-1975
Number: 930009
Creator/Collector: Oldeberg, Andreas, b.1892
Extent: 5.5 linear feet (21 boxes)
Abstract: Authority on ancient Scandinavian metalwork and metallurgy. The Andreas Oldeberg papers are comprised of research data for metal artifacts from Sweden dating from the Bronze Age through the Middle Ages, as well as a small amount of analysis relating to these objects.
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Language: Collection material is in Swedish
Repository: The Getty Research Institute
Special Collections
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
(310) 440-7390
Author: Finding aid prepared by Ann Harrison.

Biographical/Historical Note

Andreas Emil Oldeberg (1892-1980) was an authority on Scandinavian metalwork and early metal technology.

Scope and Content of Collection

The Andreas Oldeberg papers form a research archive for the study of ancient metalwork and metallurgy in Scandinavia. The archive consists primarily of Oldeberg's research data for metal artifacts from Sweden dating from the Bronze Age through the Middle Ages. There is also a small amount of analysis relating to these objects.

Oldeberg's basic research data on metal archaeological artifacts from Sweden, as well as a small number of related wooden artifacts, comprise the first series. Inventory cards form the majority of the material. This inventory, either on actual card stock or slips of plain paper, records data for each artifact and usually includes a photograph or sketch of the object. The cards provide varying combinations of data relating to current location, original findspot and context, national registration number, dimensions and description, as well as occasional information on metallurgical analysis and bibliography. A wide range of objects are documented on these inventory cards including jewelry and decorative metalwork, household and agricultural implements, weaponry and horse trappings, as well as the molds and matrices used in their production. The remainder of the research materials in this series are loose photographs of such objects, many with some data added.

Much of the data collected in Series I served as the basis for Oldeberg's three major synthetic monographs, Metallteknik under forhistorisk tid (1942-1943), Metallteknik under vikingatid och medeltid (1966), and Die altere Metallzeit in Schweden (1974-1976), and many of the images found in the archive are published within these volumes. The time frame of these publications provides a rough date for the material in Series I, and indeed for the archive as a whole.

The second, much smaller, series in the archive contains materials related specifically to the analysis of metal artifacts. The majority of the material here consists of another group of cards with data and photographs. These cards include much of the basic identifying data mentioned above, but the focus is metallurgical. Most cards include detailed metallurgical analysis and the photographs attached to each card document the metal itself, through photomicrographs or radiographs, rather than the finished object. Also included are several heavily illustrated laboratory reports on samples submitted for testing by Oldeberg.

Arrangement note

Organized in two series:
Series I. Artifact research data, circa 1940-1975
Series II. Analysis of metal artifacts, 1952-1965, undated



Open for use by qualified researchers.

Publication Rights

Contact Library Reproductions and Permissions.

Indexing Terms

Subjects - Topics

Archaeology, Medieval--Sweden
Bronze Age--Sweden
Iron Age--Sweden
Viking antiquities--Sweden

Subjects - Places


Genres and Forms of Material

Gelatin silver prints
Photographic prints
Research notes

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Andreas Oldeberg papers, circa 1940-1975. Research Library, The Getty Research Institute, Accession no. 930009

Acquisition Information

The archive was acquired in 1993.

Container List

Series I. Artifact research data, 1940-1975 4.7 linear feet (19 boxes)
The organization and sequencing of the materials in this series preserves Oldeberg's original arrangement. His inventory of artifacts falls into three initial groups. The bulk of the material is a group of cards cataloging objects made from a variety of metals. The metals represented here include gold, silver, iron, bronze, copper and lead. This main group of objects is supplemented by a separate, small group of silver objects, as well as a group of related wooden objects. Oldeberg's large initial grouping of general metal objects is further subdivided into four chronological and cultural groups. Each box in the container list below holds the contents of one of Oldeberg's original boxes. The original boxes were labeled with a chronological period, but the intended order of the multiple boxes for each period and the precise relationship of the cards within each of these boxes remains unclear.
1-17 General metal objects
1 Bronze Age 191 items
2-7 Iron Age 1346 items
8-13 Viking Age 1072 items
14-17 Middle Ages 696 items
Includes 5 frames of negatives and 1 color transparency.
18 Silver objects 140 items
19 Wooden objects 204 items
Arranged geographically, from south to north.
Series II. Analysis of metal artifacts 1952-1965, undated 0.8 linear feet (2 boxes)
Box Folder
20 1-4 Photomicrography and radiograph images of objects, undated 224 items
Box Folder
21 1-2 Reports on analyses of metal objects, 1952-1965 60 leaves
Reports on the microscopic analysis of metal objects from the Institut för Metallforskning.