Helsinki isn’t far from Stockholm. It took me a bit more than four hours from home to my hotel here, and I could have shaved more than an hour off of that if I had taken the bullet train to the airport and a cab to the hotel instead of going by bus.
I’m at the 11th Nordic Bronze Age symposium, which for the first time includes a bunch of Baltic colleagues as wall. Everybody’s very friendly and the atmosphere is informal. It’s a pretty sizeable conference as these things go in my discipline: about 60 registered participants, of which I have made the acquaintance of at least half by now. For reasons unclear to me, I was made the afternoon’s discussant, which was fun and flattering.
I’m here to learn what Bronze Age scholars in my part of the world are doing right now, because I’m planning to become one of them. So far I’ve been able to understand everything reasonably well, though I lack basic skills of the trade for the period in question. Menace me with a Bronze Age sword, and I will generally not be able to place it in the right Montelian phase to save my life. (Unless you lend me the sword so I can look it up in the literature. It’s safe, I’m a pacifist. Come on now, just hand it over.)
Here are the main themes touched upon in today’s presentations:
- Building a new model of how Bronze Age society in Southern Scandinavia was organised.
- Current Bronze Age research in Estonia.
- Past and present interpretations of the Early Metal Age and Bronze Age in Finland.
- Why does the Hajdusamson-Apa sword type occur both in Scandinavia and in Carpathia?
- Is it possible to find a northern border of the Nordic Bronze Age culture along the coast of Norway?
- The Bronze Age in the Stockholm archipelago (Mattias & Roger reporting on their on-going Ornö dig!).
- Recent rock art surveys in Södermanland province.
- Is it possible to radiocarbon date bronze?
- Bronze socketed axe found with a piece of the shaft inside, this has been dated, sadly the typological date didn’t match the radiocarbon.)
- The ethnic and social background of various find types in the Finnish Bronze Age.
- A Late Bronze Age seal-hunting centre in Ostrobotnia.