Sarnes Internat

Archaeological Aesthetics


  • Bjørnar Olsen UiT, Arctic University of Norway
  • Þóra Pétursdóttir UiT, The Arctic University of Norway



Sarnes, gathering past, abandonment, ruination, things, photography, material memory


Boarding schools used to be a common feature in the vast but sparsely populated region of Finnmark in northernmost Norway. For many these schools became a second home, a home away from home, and many of the desolate school buildings thus house childhood memories of generations. One such institution is the now abandoned and ruined school building at Sarnes in the municipality of North Cape. Closed down as an internat school in the 70s the building took on several different uses until finally abandoned in 2001. Yet, the building itself, its interior and things still speak starkly to its boarding school past, evoking memories of joyful play, discipline, work and home longing. This photo essay is based on photographs and observations made on repeated visits to Sarnes during the last years. It is an attempt to grasp and mediate the memories evoked through redundant things and the ruined materiality of present day Sarnes Internat.


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Author Biographies

Bjørnar Olsen, UiT, Arctic University of Norway

Professor in Archaeology, Department of Archaeology and Social Anthropology

Þóra Pétursdóttir, UiT, The Arctic University of Norway

PhD Student



How to Cite

Olsen, B., & Pétursdóttir, Þóra. (2014). Sarnes Internat: Archaeological Aesthetics. Journal of Contemporary Archaeology, 1(1), 57–72.



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