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Heide Wrobel Nørgaard


Associate Professor, PhD

Primary affiliation

Heide Wrobel Nørgaard

Areas of expertise

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeometallurgy
  • Material sciences
  • Material culture
  • Metal Ages
  • Prehistory

Contact information

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Research project Viksø re-investigated: an archaeometallurgical biography of the Viksø helmets

financed by the Cultural Ministry Denmark Slots og Kulturstyrelsen FORMW.2022-0039, Moesgaard Museum

This project serves the purpose of fully understanding the Danish Viksø helmets place within the Bronze Age European craft traditions through an interdisciplinary investigation of the helmets. As ideological connections between far away regions can first be truly identified when the items' stylistic, materialistic and technological origin are known, this project's results will greatly advance the discussion on the position and meaning of the Viksø helmets within the European Bronze Age networks.

The project aims to create a complete artefact biography, including:

  • A thorough craft-technical investigation of the helmets from a biographical perspective, answering questions regarding origin, import, transformation, and lifespan.
  • An examination of the organic remains, from the inside of the helmet horns, to shed light on the questions of additional adornment.
  • A comparison of the AMS radiocarbon dates with European Bronze Age armour to allow a well-founded classification of the find in the LBA material culture.
  • A comparative provenance investigation of the helmet's metal to identify or exclude local manufacture (by comparison with contemporary cast debris) and define related networks.

The project aims are related to open questions concerning the appearance of the slightly twisted horns, their iconographical connections, and assumptions concerning the crafting by non-craftspeople. As a goldsmith, I was 2018 able to have a first look at the helmets and, as part of an investigation into the origins of the Bronze Age metallurgy, new organic- and metal samples were obtained. Hence, the proposed project will base its investigation on the newly published AMS radiocarbon dates, trace elemental and lead isotope data of the metal used in the crafting of helmet B13552 and a detailed craft technical investigation of both helmets.

Research project "Investigating connections between mobility of people and shifting trading networks during the Middle Bronze Age" financed by the Danish Cultural Ministry 2020-2021, Moesgaard Museum

This project offers a number of innovative aspects with the potential to advance the two involved academic disciplines, geochemistry and archaeology, to role model future interdisciplinary collaboration in the field. This project will combine craft technology and geochemical studies to reconstruct the complete chaîne opératoire from processing to production from a social perspective. Via truly interdisciplinary thinking the micro-perspective (workshop relations) and the macro-perspective (exchange networks) of Bronze Age society are identified to answer questions regarding the connection between the mobility of people (specific women) and the shifting metal trading networks in the middle Bronze Age in southern Scandinavia.

DFF-Sapere Aude postdoc project: An archaeological fingerprint: Isotopes as a key to trace Denmark’s metal supply and routes of transfer in Early Bronze Age (2100-1500 BCE). 

2016-2019 Aarhus University/ Curt-Engelhorn Centre for Archaeometry/ Heidelberg University

As early as 2100 BCE, societies in Denmark became metal-using and for the first time-dependent on one exogenous resource. Our knowledge concerning the cross-Europe interconnectivities and dependencies, in the early Bronze Age, is insufficient. These intriguing mechanisms that formed the Nordic Bronze Age can only be understood, when we are able to reconstruct the metal trading routes 2100-1600 BC. With led/tin isotope analyses of 600 bronze artefacts, this project will radically change the picture, as it presents enough data for reconstructing transport routes, and the social circumstances that formed a society based on long-distance trade. The project involves novel tin-isotopy to detect a possible deviating origin of copper and tin, hence exploring the possibility of unknown trading routes. These interdisciplinary analyses will add a reliable amount of data to identify and model major changes in the transfer routes that sustained the initial phases of societal formation in the NBA.


PH.D.-project within the FP7 Marie-Curie ITN network "Forging Identities":

Title: Craftsmanship, Production and Distribution of Metalwork in the Early and Middle Northern Bronze Age

Keywords: northern Bronze Age, jewelry, craftsmanship, distribution area, neck collars

Description: Workshops and their sphere of influence is an important factor in the identification of social groups who are contained within and related to what we term workshop. Here the specialization within the workshop based on certain forms and behaviors can be linked to the education and knowledge of social groups. Statements about the origin of foreign objects can help to clarify social interaction in Bronze Age Europe, as described in theories of traveling ideas or moving cultures. The project aims not only to find the centers of production and their distribution areas but also to examine their role in the creation of social identities. The aim is furthermore to examine the techniques used by the Bronze Age smith of magnificent decorated bronze objects from period II and III in Scandinavia, Northern Germany and Poland.


Selected publications

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