New steps towards Uppåkra Archaeology Centre
22 August 2012
An archaeological centre is set to open at the Iron Age excavations in Uppåkra in conjunction with Lund University’s 350th anniversary in 2017. This is the goal of Lund University and Region Skåne, the two largest partners in the Uppåkra Archaeology Centre Foundation.
Assistant Vice-Chancellor Sven Strömqvist has recently been commissioned by the Vice-Chancellor to draw up a proposal together with the Historical Museum and the Department of Archaeology for an agreement on the divisions of responsibility for the legal and financial aspects of a centre of this kind.
The area around Uppåkra Church is the largest, artefact-richest and most long-lived Iron Age settlement in Scandinavia, inhabited from the first century BC to the 11th century AD. Uppåkra is considered to have been the political, religious and commercial centre of power in the region in its time.
There is already a small visitors’ centre at the excavations. Regular guided tours are given during the summer and large events are sometimes held, the next one being Uppåkra Day on 26 August. However, the plans for Uppåkra Archaeology Centre are for something much larger. All four aspects of archaeology – research, management of finds, conservation and education – are intended to take place on the same site. In this way, the public can gain a direct insight into the archaeological process, while Uppåkra could become a meeting place for international archaeological expertise.
A feasibility study for the project, which was completed at the start of the year, estimated the number of visitors at around 100 000 a year. The study also estimated the cost of construction at SEK 235 million and the operating costs (minus revenue) at around SEK 30 million a year.
However, it is unlikely that this level will be reached in 2017.
“I expect something to be ready for the University’s jubilee. But the work will probably take place in stages”, says Sven Strömqvist.
He thinks it is a nice idea that the ‘knowledge highway’ could run not only from the centre of Lund north towards MAX IV and ESS, but also south towards Uppåkra. This would make it clear that the University not only incorporates the latest, most advanced and pioneering technology, but also important research on Sweden’s heritage.
Vice-Chancellor Per Eriksson agrees:
“There has been talk that with MAX IV and ESS the University could veer entirely towards engineering, science and medicine. Uppåkra Archaeology Centre can highlight the strength and importance of the humanities at LU.”
Per Eriksson also stresses that a future science centre in Uppåkra would need many legs to stand on. More stakeholders must be involved, preferably at national level, and both public and private financing is needed.
Text: Ingela Björck
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