One of the founding fathers of Norwegian archaeology and place-name scholarship was Oluf Rygh (1833-1899). In 1875, he became Scandinavia’s first professor of archaeology. One of the most enduring parts of his legacy is his 1885 book Norske Oldsager, “Norwegian Antiquities” (re-issued in 1999). Not because many read either the Norwegian or the French text in the book any more: Norske Oldsager is used to this day for its illustrations. Hundreds of beautiful drawings of exquisite finds, all reproduced through the late 19th century’s signature printing method, wood engraving.
If I want to talk about a certain type of Norwegian tortoise brooch from about AD 800, then people in the know understand me if I say “R643“: figure 643 in Rygh’s book.
A little-known archaeological resource on the web, hugely useful to anyone who works with Scandinavian small finds, is found at the following URL.
Except for a handful of missed pics, this site has all the illustrations in Norske Oldsager available by figure number. But no database interface, no search facilities, no thumbnails page.
You simply have to type numbers into the URL. Or write a perl script to copy all the pics down to your local hard drive…