Ole Crumlin-Pedersen


Ole Crumlin-Pedersen, founder of the Viking Ship Museum, has died.

dr. phil. h.c. Ole Crumlin-Pedersen, 24th Feb 1935 - 14th Oct 2011. Photo: Werner Karrasch

dr. phil. h.c. Ole Crumlin-Pedersen
24th Feb 1935 - 14th Oct 2011

Obituary by Tinna Damgård-Sørensen

Last Friday, 14th October 2011, Ole Crumlin-Pedersen passed away after a long period of illness, aged 76.  Ole Crumlin-Pedersen, born 24th February 1935 in Hellerup, Denmark dedicated his life to maritime cultural heritage, maritime archaeology and old ships. He was a pioneer, who through his professional engagement and an almost unbelievable capacity for work developed an entirely new area of archaeological fieldwork. He changed our view of the world of the past, and gave us new glasses with which to view history. The Viking Ship Museum at Roskilde stands as the most striking trace of what he leaves behind.

Ole’s remarkable career began with the five Viking ships from the Roskilde Fjord, and the construction of a museum around them. This was a pioneering job, which demanded ingenuity, new thinking and co-operation across disciplinary borders. The result was worthy of admiration, and the methodology became the model for work with archaeological ship-finds throughout Europe.

» Read all of the obituary by Tinna Damgård-Sørensen...


Support Sunita School

The family of Ole Crumlin-Pedersen have requested that donations be made to Sunita School in Nepal, in place of flowers.

Sunita School offers a two-year practical and theoretical education to illiterate girls over 12 years old, providing them with a foundation from which to build a new life for themselves and their families.

Donations can be made to Sparekassen Thy,

Reg. no.: 9111
Account no.: 0001692275
IBAN: DK2891200001692275


Photo series: 58 years in the service of maritime archaeology

  • Ole Crumlin-Pedersen at the Skuldulev excavations in 1962. Photo: H. Petersen
  • Ole Crumlin-Pedersen displays a well-preserved ship-fragment from one of the Viking ships from the Roskilde Fjord before a curious press. Photo: Høver
  • Ole Crumlin-Pedersen and museum curator Olaf Olsen in the combined office and illustration studio, which was established on the artificial island at the excavation site, on the Roskilde Fjord in 1962. Photo: Viking Ship Museum
  • Roar Ege is launched, 25th of August 1984. Photo: Bo Nielsen
  • Ole Crumlin-Pedersen and Søren Vadstrup at the launch of Roar Ege, 25th of August 1984. Photo: Bo Nielsen
  • Ole Crumlin-Pedersen sailing with the ship Lille Dan in 1981. Photo: Viking Ship Museum
  • ‘When you put a boat in order, you do it like this Tine!’ Children Jens and Tine, 1967. Photo: Private Collection
  • Ole Crumlin-Pedersen and museum curator Anton Englert at the release of the book, ‘Archaeology and Sea in Scandinavia and Britain’ in 2009. Photo: Werner Karrasch
  • Investigation of the pile-barrier at Helnæs in 1972. Ole Crumlin-Pedersen in the process of taking in/gathering in a so-called ‘pontoon’. Photo: Lars Kann-Rasmussen
  • A combined office and illustration studio was established on the artificial island at the excavation site, on the Roskilde Fjord in 1962. Photo: Viking Ship Museum
  • Ole Crumlin-Pedersen displays an exciting ship-fragment from one of the Viking ships from the Roskilde Fjord before H.M. Queen Ingrid, during the royal visit to the excavations in 1962. Photo: Svend Aagaard
  • Ole Crumlin-Pedersen holds a speech at the launch of Roar Ege, 25th of August 1984. Photo: Bo Nielsen
  • Morten and Jonas join their father at the launch of Roar Ege. Photo: Private Collection
  • Ole Crumlin-Pedersen with the Keith Muckleroy Memorial Award, which he received in 1985. Photo: Werner Karrasch
  • Co-ordinators and delegates of the meeting between the NMF’s International Advisory Committee and Dansk Råd gather, while the building of the reconstruction of Skuldulev 1 takes place in the background in 2001. Front row from left: Knut Helle, Michael Müller-Wille, Birgitte Possing, Ulla Lund Hansen, Christer Westerdahl, Søren H. Andersen, Patrice Pomey, Ole Crumlin-Pedersen. Back row from left: Flemming Rieck, Jan Bill, Fred Hocker, Horst Nowacki, Steen Hvass, Tinna Damgård-Sørensen. Photo: Viking Ship Museum
  • The ship-conservation hall at Brede, where the Viking ships from the Roskilde Fjord were treated, received many interested visitors. Here, museum curator and civil engineer, Ole Crumlin-Pedersen introduces the finer points of Viking ships to some schoolboys. Photo: Høver
  • Ole Crumlin-Pedersen goes through the difficult conservation processes that take place in the conservation hall in Brede. Photo: Hakon Nielsen.
  • Gathering of personnel from the Viking Ship Hall and the National Museum’s Historical Ships Laboratory in 1969 on the internal stairs next to Skuldelev 3. Photo: Viking Ship Museum
  • Ole Crumlin-Pedersen is thrown in the water at the launch of Roar Ege, 25th of August 1984. Photo: Bo Nielsen
  • Ole Crumlin-Pedersen at the dramatic raising of the Vejby Cog in 1977. Photo: Per S. Phillipsen
  • A lecture is held for the boat guilds to mark the jubilee of the excavations in 2002. Photo: Jens Husby
  • Ole Crumlin-Pedersen on board Kraka Fyr, a reconstruction of Skuldelev 6, in 2008. Photo: Werner Karrasch

Obituary by former Keeper of National Antiquities, Olaf Olsen

Ole Crumlin-Pedersen began his glorious career as a maritime archaeologist in 1956, when he came to the National Museum as a young naval construction student to make us aware that some ship-fragments from a wreck in the Roskilde Fjord, known locally as ‘Queen Margrete’s Ship’ were in fact from the Viking Age.

He was evidently right about this, and that was the beginning of a tremendous collaboration, the first phase of which culminated with the excavation of the five Skuldelev ships and the construction of the Viking Ship Hall in Roskilde. This secured his employment at the National Museum, where with a foundation in his own experiences from the reconstruction of Viking ships, he developed into an eminent researcher, who earned an international reputation due to his knowledge of the fascinating development of the wooden ships of Northern Europe, from prehistory through to the present day.

He was also a willing and helpful collaborator, someone that one could always go to in confidence and we are many who will miss him and remember him with deep respect and gratitude.


Obituary by professor Jan Bill, Museum of Cultural History in Oslo

Ole – mentor and master in memoriam

Ole – ol’ crumblin’ Predersen as he often called himself with a smile – is dead. For me as for many others, he was a constant presence, and a kind of benchmark for our own work. That he is no longer with us seems unreal, and as the end of an era.

» Read Jan Bill's obituary...


Orbituary by Museum Director Flemming Rieck, Køge Museum

With the death of Crumlin, a star has been extinguished in the sky of international research.

Ole drew me into the world of maritime archaeology with his unsurpassed academic understanding and precision.

He will be missed by colleagues the world over.

Flemming Rieck, Museum Director, Køge Museum,
Former leader of Maritime Archaeology Research at the National Museum


Obituary from Björn Varenius, Chief of Staff, State Maritime Museum, Stockholm

Ole has been of enormous significance, both on the scientific and personal plane. On the scientific plane, he has influenced the majority of maritime archaeologists in Europe through his unique combination of knowledge of the source material and methodological original thought. Under Ole's leadership, the Maritime Archaeology Research Centre in Roskilde developed into the world leader within that field.

On the personal plane, Ole was a mentor and source of inspiration. We are many - also beyond the borders of Denmark - who thought we had a special relationship with Ole. We all received support and encouragement from him, along with some difficult questions. But he always listened to what was said, and you can be sure, that he said what he meant. If he was positive, it meant it really was good. If he was doubtful or critical, he voiced that too, but in a way that made you want to embrace his opinion and rethink the problem one more time. Ole had an extreme and exceptional for making others feel intelligent.


Obituary by Gitte, soul mate to Ole Crumlin-Pedersen

Poor is the one, who has lost a friend,
No one can count such a cost.
But ten, yes a thousand time poorer are they,
Who never have had such a friend to be lost.

I have lost my soul mate. That hurts very much. But I am deeply grateful for every single day we had and the many unforgettable moments we shared.

I came to know Ole’s true self. Ole was a richly facetted person, loving, considerate and with a humanistic attitude to other people. Modest and unassuming, he never boasted about all that he had done.

My children, my grandchildren, my family and my close friends knew Ole as an open and giving person.

It is Ole the man that we cared so much for. Naturally, for others it was his professional side that had the greatest meaning. I know that he was a firebrand, one who was committed to tackling enormous tasks as a researcher, writer and so on. During his long and difficult period of illness, he worked on finishing his final, great task. He succeeded and rounded off his life’s work in the best of ways.

I was able to follow Ole all the way to the end, together with his children.

Ole was serene, went calmly to meet his death, and fell asleep to the sound of beautiful classical music, which was a daily part of his life.

Ole made a strong impression on many and gave much that was worthy, strengthened by his honesty and ethical ideals.

Let us honour his memory.



Links about Ole Crumlin-Pedersen

» Book release from the Viking Ship Museum’s publishers...
An article in connection with the publication ‘Archaeology and the Sea in Scandinavia and Britain’, in which Ole Crumlin-Pedersen gives a fascinating overview of more than forty years work in the service of maritime archaeology.

» Publications by Ole Crumlin-Pedersen...
We have collected a list of publications from over the years

Share or add bookmark

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Funeral service and memorial reception

The funeral service for Ole Crumlin-Pedersen took place on Saturday 29th October, 11:00 at Himmelev Church in Roskilde.


Lecture about Archaeology and the Sea

Link to the Viking Ship Museum WebTV

In connection with the release of of his last book, Ole Crumlin-Pedersen presented an illustrated lecture in Danish at the Viking Ship Museum.

» See the lecture here...

See also Ole Crumlin-Pedersen’s last international lecture at the University of Tennessee:

» Session one...
» Session two...


Vikingeskibsmuseet: Vindeboder 12 . DK-4000 Roskilde | Tlf.: +45 46 300 200 | museum(at)vikingeskibsmuseet.dk | vikingeskibsmuseet.dk



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