The Bronze Lurs
[The Revheim lurs]
The Museum of
The bronze lurs dates from the Nordic Bronze Age
(1500 - 500
The name "lur":
The Danish archaelogist C. J. Thomsen (1788-1865) was the first person
to take scientifically interest in the bronze lurs. When they were
first discovered they were called horns, but Thomsen used the old
nordic word luðr. It has been suggested that this means
"hollow log". In Sweeden and Norway a wind instrument of wood, trumpet
blown, is also called lur. See the [wooden lur]
The bronze lur is made
bronze. There are two forms of lurs. The latest and most developed is
"S-shaped". This lur can be described as a thin-walled, conical
about 1 meter 50 cm to 2 meter 25 cm. The lur on the picture from
Norway was of the shorter type (1.50 meter) while the famous lurs from
Denmark, the [Brudevælte] lurs
about 2.20 meter long.
The other older form of lurs,
less developed, was shorter, slightly bent and lacking the endplate.
The "Wismar horn" from Germany - an older lur type.
peat in 1886, tenant farmer
Ole Rasmussen found two fragmented lurs at Rørlykke
Mose (ca. 1100-900 B.C. Mus.nr. B3671-2). These lurs has more
of a S-shape
than the "Wismar horn".
Map of finds
- South in Norway and Sweden, whole of Denmark and North in
There are currently 60
finds. Of these, 37 have been found in Denmark, 4 in Norway, 13
in Sweden, 5 in Germany and 1 in Latvia.
Most of the finds dates back to the 19th century. All of them were
found by private persons, in peat bogs og in other wetlands. None of
the finds were retrieved by experts. The latest find, in 1988 at
Ulvkær, North Jutland (Nr. 19) - a pair of lurs. One of the lurs
was wrecked by a mechanical digger.
In some rock carvings one can see people blowing on lurs. One example
of this can be found on a rock carving at Kivik, Skåne, Sweden.
Here is a photo of
this carving taken by Per-Olof Johansson, and here an article (in Danish) by him
about the Brudevælte lurs.
Some of the lurs found in Denmark, Sweden and Norway have been played
on by professional brassplayers. The first to take a serious
interest in the sound of the lurs was the Danish musicologist [Angul Hammerich] (1848- 1931). In 1893
he held a lecture in Copenhagen and had two musicians demonstrate lur
In 1925, Angul Hammerich held
a lecture about the bronze lurs and had musicians demonstrate on the
lurs. This was made into a recording on Nordisk Polyphon Aktieselskab
at the National Museum, Copehagen (May 12th, 1925). The 78 rmp
gramophone record was called Danmarks gamle lurer -
In 1966, a recording was made
in Denmark, called Klange
(Music blown on lurs from the Danish Bronze Age).
331/3 rpm disc.
It was performed by Palmer Traulsen
and G. A. Wilkenschildt. They use the Brudevælte lurs. One pair
is in C, one in D, one and a half in E flat, one in E and one in
G. The Brudevælte pair in C (Museum no. 8116), are
presumably those in the best playing condition since they occupy the
whole of side 1.
Nationalmuseet NM 67-001.
In 1977, a recording was made at Nikodemuskirche, Berlin, Germany by
Stephan Maier. The recording is called Die
Luren - Klingende Zeugen der
Bronzezeit. Maier used the Brudevælte lurs.
Music archaeologist Cajsa S.
Lund produced a recording called Fornnordiska klanger
(The Sounds of Prehistoric Scandinavia) - "12000 year in 60 minutes" for Musica
Sveciae in 1984. There are 41 tracs on the recording. The lur
tracks are played on Danish bronze lurs.
LP 1984, nr MS 101,
CD 1991, nr MSCD 101
with illustrated booklet in Swedish
Royal Danish Brass made a
CD in 1999 called [Bronze & Brass]
(Rondo Records, RCD 8366). On it are 3 tracks played on Danish
bronze lurs (Burdevælte and Folrisdam).
In 1961 a trombone player at the
Norwegian Broadcasting Orchestra,
Gunnar Rugstad, played on the Revheim lurs (see
picture above). But already in 1958 the pair of lurs were played
on by two hornplayers from Stavanger, Franz Dørr and Georg
Dørr (father and son).
in MP3 format:
Note: All links enclosed in [
.. ] are internal / sub-pages here. The rest are external links.
Brattegaard for sound clip, photos, and other infos about the Revheim
Per-Olof Johansson for
information and help.
Edward Tarr for info about the book "The Bronze Lurs".
Jørgensen for sending me the CD [Bronze
Olle Hemdorff and Mari Høgestøl at the Museum of Archaeology,