The Lur is a Bronze Age musical instrument. Lurs were usually made in symmetrical pairs, with identical tuning.

The Lur is known from Norway, Sweden and north Germany but most, 37, have been recovered from Danish bogs. The earliest find is from the end of the 18th century.

The treatment these Lurs have received shows clearly how conservators have been influenced by changing ethical standards.

In earlier times the metal was cleaned in acid or heated "so that the bronze acquired its natural light yellow colour." Bulges were smoothed out and the sections of tube were soldered together, using copper tubes. The idea was to make the lurs playable, to investigate their pitch and timbre.

A fragment of a Lur from Nyrup (centre), with enlargements of an ancient repair (above) and a recent repair (below). This section was found in two pieces in 1910 and sent to the National Museum in 1926. By that time the two pieces had been soldered together. The museum register records: "... in the Bronze Age the tube had been repaired with a 0.035 m wide plate, that is still attached, at a point 0.2 m from the under side of the edge of the mouth cup. This patch must cover the joint between the lur's first two sections..." .

This X-ray picture shows the ancient repair, in the middle. The modern repair can be seen, with an enlargement, at the left of the picture.

We conserve more modestly now. A pair of lurs recovered in 1988 from a peat stack in Ulvkær in Vendsyssel provided an opportunity to investigate an unconserved pair of instruments.

Lur from Ulvkær, in 1988, before conservation. The close up shows polishing marks from the original Bronze Age surface. We cannot be sure that traces found on the lurs discovered in the last century are original, or the result of a restoration.

Restoration and mounting of the lur from Ulvkær. The mouthpiece was found in several pieces. An ingenious support allows the instrument to be hung for exhibition without using glue or solder.

Back to the introduction