A miniature face on a gilded cast copper-alloy display buckle, 5th century AD
One of the many things us Swedish archaeologists envy our Danish colleagues is their numerous large and well-preserved finds of Iron Age war booty. Clearly people in modern-day Denmark had the custom of sacrificing war booty in holy lakes, and when they silted up and became bogs the anaerobic environment preserved many objects perfectly. Generally, the finds seem to be the campaign gear of invading armies, dominated by weaponry but also including tools, personal items and even a number of boats.
Sweden does have a few of these sites, but for long the only one that had been excavated to any useful extent was Skedemosse on Öland where preservation was rather poor. In recent years, however, my Gothenburg colleage Bengt Nordqvist and the Historical Society of that city have done fieldwork at Finnestorp in Västergötland, uncovering rich and unusually late sacrificial deposits from the Migration Period. The metal detectorists involved also work with me in Östergötland where they have made a great many important discoveries.
The Finnestorp project‘s web site went live today, and so far it offers a 76-page illustrated overview of fieldwork and finds from 2000 to 2004, written in Swedish. I’m sure it will be worth taking a look at the site every few months for new developments.