June Pieces Of My Mind #2

Boiled cauliflower is bland and boring. But try slicing it and baking it at a high temperature in the oven with oil and salt. Good stuff! Archaeoscience friends! The other day when I was feeling happy I had the idea that you guys should develop a method to measure lifetime happiness in human bone. Preferably…

June Pieces Of My Mind #1

My wife receives her second university degree today. In addition to her 15 years in journalism, she is now also a trained psychologist. Go YuSie!!! I assume 45’s lawyers cleared the covfefe tweet? Small but very satisfying discovery. In 1902 a Medieval coin is found at Skällvik Castle. The finder makes a detailed drawing of…

Palaeobotanist Jennie Andersson has analysed four soil samples for me, all from floor layers inside buildings at Medieval strongholds that me and my team have excavated in recent years. There’s one each from Stensö, Landsjö, Skällvik and Birgittas udde. Results were sadly not very informative. Comments Jennie: “Overall the fossil and carbonised botanical material in…

Swedish Academia Is No Meritocracy

After almost 14 mostly dismal years on the academic job market, I find it a consolation to read an opinion piece in Times Higher Education under the headline “Swedish Academia Is No Meritocracy“. In my experience this is also true for Denmark, Norway and Finland. In Norway, for instance, the referee board that evaluates job…

May Pieces Of My Mind #3

I didn’t like any of this year’s Hugo-nominated novels, so I’ll be voting ”No award” there. But the short-story category really has me confused. The novels aren’t great, but most of them are certainly science fiction. Only one of the six shorts though is scifi as opposed to fantasy. Is there no longer a difference…

LinCon & SweCon 2017

Ascension with its four days off is shaping up to be the geekiest time of the year. This time I had three big events to choose from: the LinCon gaming convention, the Kontur/SweCon scifi convention and the 45th anniversary of the Tolkien Society. Tolkienians do things in nines. I decided to spend two days at…

May Pieces Of My Mind #2

I don’t know what “the winter of 1473” means. January and February? November and December? Just got home from a sunny bike ride that was also incidentally my least successful geocaching expedition ever. I was in Hammarby Sjöstad, a recently built and densely populated urban area. The only way a geocache survives in such an…

Dungeons & Archaeologists

The original roleplaying game, 1974’s Dungeons & Dragons, set the template for a hugely popular genre that persists to this day as RPGs, boardgames (such as Descent) and video games (such as World of Warcraft). The core activity in these games is to enter underground complexes of rooms and tunnels (dungeons), defeat their various inhabitants…

Activities and Roles at the Castle

I’m writing an interdisciplinary book about lifestyles at Medieval strongholds in Östergötland province, Sweden. The central chapter “Activities and roles” is currently 8,900 words. Here are the section headers. Agriculture at arm’s length Baking bread Brewing Animal husbandry and the eating of meat Hunting and the eating of game and wildfowl Fishing and the eating…

Supported by a grant from the King Gustavus Adolphus VI Foundation For Swedish Culture, osteologist Lena Nilsson has analysed the bones we collected during excavations last year at two Medieval strongholds. Two weeks with 19 fieldworkers at Birgittas udde produced only 0.4 kg of bones, because the site has no culture layers to speak of and the sandy ground…