October 23, 2013

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - ,,, No comments

Viking jewels stolen from archaeological museum in Sweden

by A. M. C. Knutsson

The Historical Museum in Lund was struck by a theft in the early hours of Tuesday morning. 02.47 the alarm went off and when the police arrived at 02.52 the thief was already gone. The culprit was traced as far as Lund cathedral to which he had made his way on foot. The vicious rain had rinsed away any further trace and it is uncertain whether he continued from the location by car. [1] One man was caught on CCTV but the police has not excluded the possibility that he was working with others. [2] Detective Chief Inspector Stephan Söderholm of the Lund police has said that the thief knew exactly what he was after. In only a minute and a half the man managed to remove the ballistic glass from a window on the ground floor, enter and break open a display case with 8 mm thick Plexiglas, remove half of the display and disappear.[3] The Chief of Security at the Museum, Per Gustafson, exclaimed that even though he is unsure exactly what was taken, a complete inventory will not be possible until the police have finished their investigations -- it appears that the most valuable items were left behind but a significant amount was damaged.[4] Meanwhile, a local newspaper has reported that the man escaped with gold jewelry from the archaeological site of Uppåkra.[5]

The site of Uppåkra, is one of the richest archaeological sites in Sweden. More than 20,000 objects were found when the site was excavated a few years ago. Artifacts of bone, bronze, silver and gold were recovered. Uppåkra is a rare site, giving an insight into the life of the Scandinavian region prior to the period commonly considered the Viking Age. Traces have been found of kings, priestesses, and warriors, Roman as well as Hun. The site was active from 200 AD until around 1000 AD and is unique in Sweden. The first excavations were conducted in the 1930s but not until the 21th century were serious efforts made to excavate the sites. [6]

Söderholm has indicated that professional criminals might have conducted the break-in. He has said that the items might have been stolen in order to sell them on to a collector, or the gold itself might have been the temptation. A professional break-in would indicate the former. [7] This was the first theft in the Sweden’s second largest archaeological museum since the 1950s.[8] Per Gustafson told Tidningarnas Telegrambyra that "People will do whatever it takes to get what they want these days. That is the world we live in."[9]

Sources:
Thomas Lindblad, http://www.alltomvetenskap.se/nyheter/sveriges-rikaste-fyndplats, accessed 22 Oct 2013;
Joakim Stierna - http://www.skanskan.se/article/20131022/LUND/131029851/1012/-/vikingsmycken-stals-fran-museum, accessed 22 October 2013;
http://www.dn.se/nyheter/sverige/inbrott-pa-historiska-museet-i-lund/, accessed 22 Oct 2013;
http://www.thelocal.se/50936/20131022/, accessed 22 Oct 2013

[1] Joakim Stierna - http://www.skanskan.se/article/20131022/LUND/131029851/1012/-/vikingsmycken-stals-fran-museum, accessed 22 October 2013
[2] Joakim Stierna – skanskan.se
[3] Joakim Stierna – skanskan.se
[4] http://www.dn.se/nyheter/sverige/inbrott-pa-historiska-museet-i-lund/, accessed 22 Oct 2013
[5] Joakim Stierna – skanskan.se
[6] Thomas Lindblad, http://www.alltomvetenskap.se/nyheter/sveriges-rikaste-fyndplats , accessed 22 Oct 2013
[7] Joakim Stierna – skanskan.se
[8] http://www.thelocal.se/50936/20131022/, accessed 22 Oct 2013
[9] thelocal.se

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