Major Museum Struts My Stuff


In an an artist’s CV, you’ll read what museums own pieces of their work and what galleries have shown their exhibitions. A field archaeologist keeps no such list, but we sure keep track in our heads of when our finds get exhibited. Because to any scholar who wants to communicate with the public, it is a source of pride to have uncovered something that people are actually interested in. Most archaeological finds are of course unexhibitable drab fragments, but we love them anyway for their scientific potential. Still, every now and then something pops up that you know is going to be able to speak directly to the public.

The Skamby gaming pieces are shown in the County Museum in Linköping, placed on a reconstructed gaming board. Under the pieces are little holes that allows fibre-optic wires to light each chunk of amber from below. They glowed like embers when I was there a few weeks ago, and I was very proud.

Earlier tonight I had the pleasure of taking part in opening night for the new exhibition on Swedish history in the Museum of National Antiquities. Meeting colleagues, making new acquaintances and mingling with celebs was very nice. And so was being guided through the exhibition by my friend Linda Wåhlander (though she had to lead us through all ten rooms in only 20 minutes.) But best of all was seeing the Djurhamn sword exhibited in the 16th century room alongside a full-figure portrait of Mad King Eric XIV.

For at least the next five years I’ve got a find in a major exhibition in the country’s main archaeological museum, an institution that I consider to be my alma mater. Happy digger! All Aard readers are encouraged to check out the exhibition if you find yourselves in Stockholm.


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  1. #1 David Ng
    May 27, 2010

    That is so awesome! Well done!

  2. #2 William
    May 27, 2010

    Congrats! The sword looks great in the exhibit.

  3. #3 Dan J
    May 27, 2010

    I’m not likely to be in Stockholm, but the sword exhibition looks awesome! Keep up the most excellent work, Martin.

  4. #4 JoeBuddha
    May 27, 2010

    Dude! Looks like you lost the duel! Bummer!

  5. #5 Sandgroper
    May 28, 2010

    Congratulations, Martin. I wish I could be in Stockholm to see it.

  6. #6 kai
    May 28, 2010

    Yay! [adds to excursion schedule]
    And you look really hot in your work clothes as well 😉

  7. #7 Thinker
    May 28, 2010

    Congrats, Martin!

    Although the sword in and of itself would be reason enough for me to go, and I probably will, what was your impression of the whole exhibition? (The reason I ask is that I have visitors coming in from abroad, and they might be interested in an exposé of Swedish history, but they are not extreme history buffs. Would you think this would be a good exhibition to take them to?)

  8. #8 Martin R
    May 28, 2010

    It would be unfair of me to pass any judgement on the exhibition after running through it in only 20 minutes. I saw no obvious bloopers. But even if someone were disappointed with the new exhibition, it is right next-door to one of the world’s finest collections of Medieval church sculpture. So you can’t really lose.

  9. #9 Thinker
    May 28, 2010

    Re the exhibition: thanks! I suppose it’s fair enough to not judge too quickly; I thought you had maybe had a chance to go back after the initial guided run-through.

    Re Medieval church sculpture: sorry, wrong thing to lure me somewhere — I start yawning before I even get to the third weeping madonna… Maybe it’s just that I don’t know enough to see past the stereotypes, but I actually find most other kinds of historical displays a lot more thought-provoking!

  10. #10 Tobias
    May 28, 2010

    Well done! Do they convey that it is a detector find? Very few Scandinavian detectorists have been able to cross this one off theis list, so I guess you’re in the inofficial hall of fame. Keep it up!

  11. #11 Martin R
    May 29, 2010

    Thanks everybody!

    Tobias, no mention is made in the exhibition about how individual finds were gotten out of the ground.

  12. #12 Roger Wikell
    May 30, 2010

    Big up!

    How many similarities with Tyrfing, Excalibur and other legendary swords??

    Rock on Martin!!

  13. #13 PsyberDave
    May 30, 2010

    Good for you, Martin. Enjoy.
    I wish I could go look for myself.

  14. #14 red pepper
    May 31, 2010

    I have visitors coming in from abroad, and they might be interested in an exposé of Swedish history, but they are not extreme history buffs. Would you think this would be a good exhibition to take them to?)

  15. #15 Martin R
    May 31, 2010

    If you’re only taking them to one museum in Stockholm, make it the Wasa. Nothing like it anywhere else.

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