Archives for September, 2008

Mad as a Potter from Lead Stalactites

Early experiments with tinned food led to a number of lead-poisoning cases, particularly among people who had nothing but tins to eat. Recent work by Norwegian researchers Ulf Aasebø and Kjell Kjær has documented yet another case, the hitherto mysterious deaths of seventeen seal hunters on Svalbard in 1872. Says Kjær, “Inside the tinned food…

Finntroll Bonus Track Lyrics

Sättuna excavation team member Peter Forrester is a big fan of Finnish folk metallers Finntroll. The other day he played me a funny untitled bonus track from the group’s 2007 album Ur jordens djup (“Out of the depths of the Earth”). The song sits at the end of the album’s closing track “Kvällning” after a…

Dong, Bong & Gong

I take a childish pleasure from the fact that Shanghai International Airport is named Poo Dong — snigger, snigger. Now, reading about tea, I find my scatological spot tickled further by the Poobong Tea Company in Calcutta. Poo bong. Stick that in yer pipe and smoke it! Makes me want to strike the gong in…

Jonathan Coulton – “Still Alive”

My son just played me a song he can’t get out of his head, “Still Alive”. It’s the closing-credits music of the 2007 computer game Portal, sung by a heavily vocoded Ellen McLain. As it turns out, the song was written by science fiction pop songster Jonathan Coulton, whose excellent love songs about robots and…

Second-Worst Possible Fieldwork Result

My excavation at Sättuna has taken an interesting turn. I’m not feeling particularly down about it, but the fact is that we’re getting the second worst possible results. The worst result would be to mobilise all this funding and personnel and find nothing at all. We’re certainly not there. The best possible result would be…

Stripping a Field

We finished machining away the ploughsoil today, and I reckon we’ve uncovered about 800 square meters. I have a permit for 1200 sqm, but I stopped here. The landowner doesn’t want us to expand in the most interesting direction where we have more cool metal-detector finds. And the directions that remain to us are out…

Sectioning Anonymous Pits Again

Adele and Laura joined us last night, and so we were thirteen people digging at Sättuna today plus Niklas the excavator virtuoso. We continued to strip away ploughsoil, uncovering lots and lots of dark splotches underneath, and the team sectioned and sieved about 25 such sunken features visible in the surface of the natural subsoil.…

Digging Starts at Sättuna

I’ve just sat down in a comfy chair on the top floor of our luxurious excavation headquarters at Tolefors. Phew! I am very happy after a first day of excavations at Sättuna where every little bit has fallen into place as planned. (Hope I don’t hit a frickin’ elk when I go to pick up…

Two D&D Virgins

With kudos to Mattias who sent me the link, here are Stephen Lynch & Mark Teich performing a fine song about being a 14-y-o D&D-playing young man. To those of our readers who currently fit that description, let me say that just a few years from now you will no longer have the least interest…

Home Owner

For the past ten years, I’ve lived with my family in rented apartments in a 1970s housing estate that covers the erstwhile infields of the poor tenant farm of Fisksätra. Yesterday, my wife and I signed a contract to buy a 114 sqm house on one of the surrounding hills, Båthöjden, “Boat Hill”! We need…