Special Exhibition: Dive In

– join the maritime archaeologist at work

New exhibition at the Viking Ship Museum on maritime archaeology and the exciting stories the seas around us contain, from the very first people and up to our own day.

Today, the rolling, hilly landscapes of the Ice Age lie submerged up to 30 m below the surface of the sea, and have done so, ever since the Stone Age seas washed in and inundated the dwelling places of the hunter-gatherers, thousands of years ago. The sea has sealed the ancient settlement sites under layers of sand and mud, so that today, maritime archaeologists can find well-preserved remains of Stone Age people’s meals and tools of wood and bone, which only rarely survive on land. People have sailed the seas for generations – with both peaceful and warlike intentions. They have left behind traces of jetties and defensive structures as well as countless shipwrecks from all time periods, which lie as little time capsules, hidden by the sea.

Dive into history

In the exhibition ‘Dive In – join the maritime archaeologist at work’ the sea floor’s treasure trove of artefacts and the stories they can tell us about cultural heritage from previous generations is recreated and brought to life, using interactive installations and film:

 “We can’t take museum guests under the sea in real life”, says project leader and maritime archaeologist, Andreas Kallmeyer Bloch, “But with this exhibition, it’s possible to virtually take our guests with us underwater where the work takes place. The public get an insight into the professional observations, questions and methods maritime archaeologists work with and the digital and interactive installations give the museum guests the chance to handle different artefacts and get a sense of the atmosphere on the sea floor”.

Development through collaboration

More than 100 students and a handful of researchers from Roskilde University have contributed creative ideas, knowledge and concrete installations to the exhibition. During the last two years, there has been a close collaboration focused on exploring various methods and technologies that can be used to shed light on maritime archaeology – something which is otherwise hidden from view for the majority.

“The original idea was that we should develop the individual elements of the exhibition together with smaller companies but the meeting with both the students and researchers gave a completely different dynamic. My ideas and thoughts were shaken up and new possibilities and technologies were presented. We’ve learned an incredible amount from that collaboration and it’s great to know that the students have also been awarded really good grades”, continues Andreas Kallmeyer Bloch.

In order to involve others and to see the exhibition with fresh eyes – and hereby make the result interesting and exciting for the public – the Viking Ship Museum invited four classes from Absalon’s School to act as test-users during the development phase. Both teachers and students have actively taken part in the evaluation process, which has led to both changes and improvements:

“The continuous evaluation of the exhibition which was carried out in collaboration with the students from Absalon’s School in Roskilde after they had tried the installations has given us incredibly valuable feedback on the exhibition. We really hope that we can continue with this collaboration in the future as children give merciless feedback”.

The exhibition is now open to the public but will be continually updated during the coming years, based on the feedback the Viking Ship Museum gets from schoolchildren, researchers, university students and last but not least, ordinary museum guests.

The exhibition has been supported by: 

Slots- og Kulturstyrelsen
D/S Orients Fond
Dansk Dykkerservice Aps (equipment)
Vangsgaard (floorgraphic)