Copper in the early modern period

A comparative study of work and everyday life in Falun and Røros.

This is a joint project by the University of Oslo and the University of Uppsala. Collaborating partners include the University of South Wales.

This project seeks to further our knowledge of copper production in Scandinavia in the early modern period. We bring to the analysis a combination of two important developments in history writing - global history and practice oriented studies - to tell the stories of Scandinavia's two largest copper mines, Falun and Røros. A global perspective is required since the mines were linked to each other and to markets, ideas and movements far beyond the region.

A central question is how Falun and Røros tackled the new circumstances that developed from the early 18th century when the world market for copper changed and a new production centre at Swansea in Wales rapidly developed. To this macro perspective we add a micro-history perspective. We aim to make a detailed study of life and work at the mines and examine local production against the background of global developments in metallurgy.

The aim of this project is to make a renewed analysis of Scandinavian copper production in the early-modern period, against the background of global developments in metallurgy. The rationale for this is the fact that most of the earlier studies are very old. Heckscher's path-breaking research in the field is almost 75 years old and the most thorough study of Norwegian copper production at Røros was published in the 1940s. The ambition here is to combine two recent trends in history writing to tell the story of Scandinavia's largest copper mines, that of global history and that of practice-oriented studies. The former tradition has, ever since its appearance some two decades ago been equated with "comparisons and connections", and this project builds upon both.

Project start



The research council of Norway


Kristine Bruland, professor emeritus
Kristin Ranestad, postdoc, University of Lund
Ragnhild Hutchison, historian, University of Oslo
Göran Rydén, professor, economic history, IBF
Sven Olofsson, fil dr, history


Ranestad, Bruland: Skandinavisk kobber: Lokale forhold og globale sammenhenger i det lange 1700-tallet 

Last modified: 2022-12-06