900 Years Ain’t Old Enough

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This entry was first published over the cell-phone network on my old site, without pix, on Thursday 12 April.

This morning we wrapped up our 20 person-hours in Varv, joined by regular Dear Reader Lars Lundqvist. The weather was great, but we found nothing older than the 11th century. A fragment of interlace-decorated jewellery with the openings between the tendrils marked crudely by round holes reminds me of Urnes brooches of c. AD 1100. A pear-shaped pendant with an obliguely hatched cuff feels vaguely like it might be a piece of High Medieval dress ornament. Together they may mark the spot of a 12th century farmstead, which is rare but later than my research period. Finally a rim-sherd of a brass tripod cooking pot, Late Med or Renaissance.

On to Hagebyhöga, where we found a ploughed-out 10th century cemetery last year. I wanted to know what was in the area apart from that cemetery, and so had applied for a permit excluding it. I had missed one of the land-owners when securing permits, and he got pretty angry when he found us in his rapeseed field. Talking to him cost me my lunch hour in Vadstena.

Most of the stuff we picked up during 16 person-hours in Hagebyhöga is from the High Medieval village plot, and nothing pre-dates that period. There’s a nice big piece of tripod brass pot, a Medieval Viking Period padlock, a 17th/18th century coin and some less identifiable bits.

From the viewpoint of my research project (aristocratic sites, 5th through 10th centuries), we have a bullseye in Kaga parish and duds at the other four sites we’ve done. A 4th century wetland deposit in Östra Husby, a 12th century farmstead in Varv, a still inhabited village in Hagebyhöga, an unassuming Iron Age smelting site in Askeby. Lets hope for something good in Heda tomorrow.

After work we went to Älvestad and checked out the burnt-down church I blogged about the week before last. It’s in a sorry state, but I was somewhat heartened to see that what has been destroyed was largely a product of radical 18th century re-building. The remaining 12th century masonry is confined to the tower which is the least damaged part of the church after the fire. The spire and the bells have collapsed into the tower, but it still looks structurally sound. [Pics here.]

Sundown found me geocaching at the church site of Högby. It’s a pretty spectacular place. Just like in Varv, Philistine parishioners here tore down their Medieval church in the mid-19th century. But while Varv is an inhabited village on an asphalt road, the Högby site is on a dirt track under the eaves of a forest with just a few farm buildings in sight. Very Medieval. Three 11th century rune stones and a decorated limestone cist slab were salvaged from the wreckage of the church, and the largest stone, a beautiful piece of epigraphic sculpture, now stands on the site of the former church. Highly recommended.

Comments on the finds in the pic above are most welcome!


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The Lundqvist in action at Varv. Is that a spade in your pocket, Lars?


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The team at Varv, shot by the Lundqvist.


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Comments

  1. #1 Lars L
    April 17, 2007

    No, I´m just happy to see you…metal detecting!

  2. #2 Martin R
    April 17, 2007

    We were all very impressed by your equipment.

  3. #3 Mattias
    April 17, 2007

    Well, it do look like some urnestyle brooch type… thing (Ah, blessed be the Lord of the rings)and the other seems to be a button.
    Shall see what I can find upon that one…

  4. #4 Pierre
    April 17, 2007

    Could also be a pice of a belt- or strap mounting. The other thing does look like a button to me too. I can ask around a bit and see if I got a better answer.

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