Sweden’s traditionally divided into 25 landskap provinces. They live on in people’s minds despite having been superseded by a new län division in 1634. The boundaries of the landskap go way back into prehistory, and so they don’t respect the country’s cities much, these generally being much later in origin.
Stockholm is a case in point. Today’s urban area is neatly bisected by the boundary between Uppland and Södermanland provinces. And therefore, myself and other Stockholmers only get half of our High Medieval itches scratched by a new archaeological guide book, Det medeltida Sörmland by Johan Anund and Linda Qviström.
The book’s not covering Uppland isn’t exactly a major complaint here. It offers many cool sites to visit and lots of high-quality supplementary information on the period c. 1100-1550. I read the book from one end to the other and enjoyed it greatly. The illustrations are very good too. But I have a few suggestions for how a second edition could easily be made more useful as a guide book you consult on specific points, which is after all what it says on the cover.
- A table of contents that covers subheadings as well, not just the top-level chapter headings.
- Individual page headers identifying tersely what each page is about.
- GPS coordinates for the recommended sites .
To anyone in Södermanland who likes the Middle Ages, or indeed anyone with such interests who drives regularly through the province e.g. from Norrköping to Stockholm, I highly recommend this fine guide book.