The experience center “The Whale” at Andenes is expected to be the new lighthouse for northern Norwegian tourism. But a 1000-year-old find in the ground made it a joke for the project.
Norway’s largest farm mound from the Iron Age meant that the project with a price tag of NOK 400 million suddenly hung in the balance.
But now the county council has concluded:
The project has such great social significance that they grant a dispensation from the Cultural Heritage Act.
Therefore, they are allowed to build
Andenes was probably the largest fishing village in northern Norway in the Middle Ages, and here you can find remains from the settlement.
But despite important underground cultural monuments, they are now allowed to build.
According to county councilor Kirsti Saxi, a significant part of this farm mound will be lost during the development.
But that does not mean that it is free.
– We set a number of conditions. When we lose access to large parts of the important cultural monuments, we must take archaeological investigations in advance to gain more knowledge of what they contain. The archaeological investigation will be carried out before they start construction, Saxi says.
The county councilor believes that it is regrettable that cultural monuments are lost as a result of development, but that the consequences must be weighed in relation to the measure’s intention and social significance.
Hope to start construction next year
The county councilor hopes that they can put the shovel in the ground as soon as possible, once they have clarified the archaeological investigations.
– I hear talk that it can happen next year already. If it is possible, then it is very good, she says.
Surveys are likely to be cheaper than first thought
– As part of the case, we have therefore obtained advice from the Norwegian Arctic University Museum, and they have recommended that in this case a dispensation be granted from the Cultural Heritage Act.
There were also those who first estimated that the surveys would cost NOK 23 million extra.
But these are greatly reduced. The county council expects that the cost has now been reduced by at least NOK 10 million.
– It is important to emphasize that it is the National Heritage Board that, at a later date, will determine the scope and final budget for the archaeological investigations, she explains.
– This is the source we have
Section leader for cultural monuments in Nordland, Geir Davidsen, told earlier this week about the importance of cultural monuments.
– These are remains of houses, structures and waste heaps that over time have built up to several meters with cultural layers that lie untouched and tell this story, says Davidsen.
– Why is it so important to take care of such cultural monuments?
– Cultural monuments are perhaps our most important source of the lived life in prehistory. Written sources go back only a few hundred years, while we have settled in Nordland for the last 12,000 years. That is, what we find of clues is the source we have.