Ulf Bodin and his team at the Museum of National Antiquities in Stockholm have built a really, really sweet database and search interface for Hjalmar Stolpe’s Birka graves. Between 1871 and 1895, Stolpe dug about 1100 graves in the cemeteries surrounding the Viking Period town of Birka on an island in Lake Mälaren near Stockholm. His painstaking fieldwork and documentation ensured that the Birka record will always be one of the standard databases for Viking studies. And now it’s all on-line and searchable! A massively useful research tool.
This morning I attended Anna Linderholm’s viva/disputation, where she defended her thesis on lab-based approaches to the study of prehistoric migration. Groundbreaking work, said her opponent enthusiastically, and his job was to try make the thesis look bad. Anna defended herself most successfully. I hardly understood a word when they went into technicalities. (Åsa Larsson’s thoughtful opinions are here and here and here.)
At one point during post-viva mingling, I was talking to friends, a Birka scholar and a senior numismatist. Birka Scholar was carrying her new baby boy. I was wearing my Hello Cthulhu teeshirt. Senior Numismatist, who is not a science fiction nerd and had no idea what the tee was about, pointed at my chest and suggested that Birka Scholar’s next baby might be named Cthulhu. Yes! The stars are right!
Apart from Anna Linderholm’s thesis, I have recently received fresh dissertations from my colleagues and buddies Nanouschka Myrberg and Fredrik Hallgren. All three books look like they’re gonna be classics. Real science, taking things forward, the way archaeology should be. Congratulations, Dr. Linderholm, Dr. Myrberg and Dr. Hallgren! You strengthen my faith in our discipline!