Archives for November, 2007

Åke Hyenstrand 1939-2007

Professor Åke Hyenstrand, chair of archaeology at the University of Stockholm from 1988 to 20013, died on Wednesday 28 November, aged 68. He was mainly known for his large-scale analyses of the Swedish sites and monuments register and for studies of late-1st Millennium political organisation. A characteristic piece of his work is the 1978 opinion…

Psycho Killer Not Psycho Enough

Back in June I posted a translation of a remarkable opinion piece written by two senior psychiatrists, commenting on their examination of a mentally ill man who had just committed his second murder. Today the papers report that Socialstyrelsens Rättsliga råd (“The judicial council of the social directorate”) has found the man insufficiently crazy to…

A Runic Farewell

From about 1845 to 1930, Sweden saw massive emigration to the United States. According to one estimate, about a third of the country’s population left. In 1900, more Swedes lived in Chicago than in Gothenburg. Many factors conspired to send people on their way: population expansion, a lack of agricultural land, failed crops, economic recession,…

Reading a good paper by Sten Tesch (in Situne Dei 2007) about porphyrite tiles scavenged from Roman ruins and re-used as portable altar slabs in 11th century Scandinavia, I was reminded of St. Ursula and the 11,000 virgins. It’s a really good story about relics, up there with the cross of Jesus being tens of…

Yay, for once somebody at Sb except me is writing about European archaeology! SciBling Chris at Highly Allochthonous offers a long thoughtful writeup of a recent geology paper on the post-glacial flooding of the Black Sea basin and its possible effect on neolithisation. With a beautiful colour map of the European neolithisation wave! Note that…

A royally furnished inhumation cemetery of the 7th century has been excavated at Loftus in Teesside, north-eastern England. The finds are sensational as they hail from the “final phase” of furnished burial, when England had already been re-Christianised and grave wealth was in steep decline. Among the remarkable finds are gold-and-garnet jewellery in a southern…

Viking Army Councils

The other day, I started writing my Östergötland book in earnest, and I’m really enjoying myself. Here’s a snippet of today’s work. The oldest known territorial unit in Östergötland is the härad district (etymologically, “army council”), of which the province originally had eighteen. This division is generally taken to have been established at a single…

Them Doggone Carnies

Blog carnivals! The twenty-eighth Four Stone Hearth is on-line at Hot Cup of Joe. Archaeology and anthropology to a most awe-inspiring extent. The next open 4SH hosting slot is already on 5 29 December. All bloggers with an interest in the subject are welcome to volunteer to me. No need to be an anthro pro…

Fornvännen is one of Scandinavia’s main scholarly journals about archaeology, Medieval art and adjacent disciplines. Its first volume appeared in 1906, and for the past several decades it’s been issued quarterly. I’ve been an avid reader since 1990 and one of the journal’s editors since 1999. I’m very proud to announce that the first 100…

For a Swede, I believe I have an unusually small environmental footprint as my income is low and my habits relatively ascetic. But compared to most people in the world, anyone with half my standard of living is of course a huge culprit. The only thing I might brag about is having relatively few children,…