Help Ben Study Medieval Scabbard Chapes

Here’s a guest entry by my correspondent Ben Bishop who’s doing a project on Medieval scabbard mounts using data from the Portable Antiquites Scheme (PAS). —– I am researching medieval English scabbard chapes formed of folded copper alloy. They date from the period c. AD 1050–1300. The overwhelming majority are fragmentary when found and recognisable…

All Unconserved Finds Must Die Die Die?

Several colleagues have told me this bizarre rumour that I hope is unfounded. Contract archaeologists at two sites on Öland and in Småland have found more Medieval coins than their conservation budget can cover. So they have to prioritise which coins to conserve. So far so good, and congrats on the lovely finds. But. According to this…

August Pieces Of My Mind #2

Getting your fridge filled with rusty Medieval nails isn’t actually as hard as many people think. Just marry an archaeologist! It’s been decided that from now on the word is pronounced ever-yone or ever-yawn. Jrette joined me and Lasse for tonight’s sailing mini-race. She steered throughout the race, she enjoyed herself and we finished in…

Back In The Saddle Again

I’ve been away from my various desks for almost two months while excavating and then enjoying some time off. Here’s what’s on my plate right now. Saddle. I mean my saddle, in which I’m back. Landscape archaeology conference, three days in Uppsala. I’m giving a paper on my Bronze Age project. European Association of Archaeologists,…

August Pieces Of My Mind #1

I just meta-mimed singing into my electric shaver. I wasn’t miming singing. I was miming someone in a movie who mimes singing. Family spooked at one in the morning because a burst of engine noise has been heard. Have burglars arrived at the island? Nope, no strange boat at the dock. Investigation reveals that Jrette…

The Lovecraftian Horror of French

I bought a used copy of Maurice Lévy’s Lovecraft ou du fantastique (Paris 1972) at the Fantastika 2016 scifi con, and now I’m picking my way through it with the aid of a dictionary. S.T. Joshi has published an English translation, Lovecraft: A Study in the Fantastic (Detroit 1988). Here’s how little of Lévy’s literary…

July Pieces Of My Mind #3

Excavation finished, team scattered. Now for three weeks’ vacation! This Walter Jon Williams story has two Andean pan pipe bands and a Californian figure swimming troupe that all operate as secret intelligence agents. Interesting jetsam around the shores of the island today. The flip-flop was pretty good. But the rifled camera bag was exceptional. It…

Detectorist John Kvanli is the chairman of Rygene detektorklubb and one of Norway’s most prominent proponents of collaboration between amateurs and professionals in field archaeology. Of course he has a tattoo! It’s an Urnes brooch from c. AD 1100, in the final exquisite Christian style of Scandinavian animal art. John tells me he has found…

I wonder what motivates people to start companies that make or provide boring stuff. What causes a person to devote decades of their life to an organisation that manufactures soap or installs archive shelving? It doesn’t surprise me that people take boring jobs: everybody needs a job and most jobs are boring. But what makes a…

Our second week at Skällvik Castle proved a continued small-finds bonanza, and we also documented some pretty interesting stratigraphy. More of everything in Building IV. In addition to more coins of Magnus Eriksson, dice and stoneware drinking vessels, we also found a lot of points for crossbow bolts. It’s starting to look like the castle…