Dr. Martin Rundkvist is a Swedish archaeologist, journal editor, public speaker, chairman of the Swedish Skeptics Society, atheist, lefty liberal, board gamer, bookworm, and father of two.

2014 Castle Excavation Reports

Last year I headed four weeks of excavations at two previously unexplored castle ruin sites near the Swedish city of Norrköping: Landsjö in Kimstad and Stensö in Östra Husby. Finds and written sources suggest that both were built and inhabited in the 13th and 14th centuries. All known owners were members or close relatives of the…

I Believe In Robert Lind

Here’s my translation of a classic 1979 revue routine by Hans Alfredson and Tage Danielsson. Kramfors is a town of 6000 inhabitants in central Sweden, near the 62nd parallel. —– TD: New religions keep popping up like mushrooms, and now it’s time for the – ubiquitous in entertainment these days – Religious Corner. Sitting next…

May Pieces Of My Mind #1

After some instruction I’ve given Jrette & buddy free range with the little row/motorboat. They’re having lots of fun, learning lots and are clearly pleased with themselves. Eider males swimming around in a little posse going “woo-OOO, woo-OOO”. The villain in the endless Neal Stephenson novel I’m reading is named Abdallah Jones. This causes the…

Pickwick Afterlife

The final third of Stephen Jarvis’s upcoming novel Death and Mr Pickwick continues in the same rather kaleidoscopic fashion as before. The asides and Chinese boxes are innumerable. We never do get an important female character. The frame story is never developed much. In fact, the book only really has Robert Seymour the artist and Charles…

Guest Digging At Birka

When I tell people I’m an archaeologist, they often ask ”So have you dug at Birka?”. As of yesterday I can finally proudly reply ”yeah, a bit”. ”Birka” is a Latinate attempt to write Biærkey, ”Birch Island”. It’s an island in Lake Mälaren, two hours by slow boat from Stockholm. For a bit more than…

April Pieces Of My Mind #2

I keep getting ads for “Game of War”. They seem to be mixed up with ad clips for a game likely to be called “Gratuitous Breasts”. Sw. massiv means “solid, unmixed, not hollow”. Eng. massive is almost exclusively used to mean “big”. For decades I thought this was sloppy / slangy / colloquial. Today I…

Young Autists Next Door

My house is near an LSS housing unit. Lagen om stöd och service till vissa funktionshindrade, “The Law of Support and Service for Certain Disabled People”, mainly caters to the needs of people with autism and the like. In 6½ years on Boat Hill, the young people living there have never caused us any trouble…

Gun Stash Suddenly Unavailable

A colleague of mine has left contract archaeology to work for the police as a civil utredare, that is, someone with a university degree who works on crime cases despite not being a policeperson. He told me a pretty neat story about Gubbligan, the Old Man’s Gang. The OMG were three professional bank robbers who…

Dendro Dissidents

Afternoon tea with my friends Åke and Petra inspired me to re-run this post from March 2010. Professional dendrochronology is still almost entirely a black-box in-house endeavour, that is, it is still not great science. Field archaeologists: when you saw your wood samples for dendro, get two samples and send one to the amateur community! They…

Sketches of Boz

In the second novel-length third of Stephen Jarvis’s hefty Death and Mr Pickwick, artist and caricaturist Robert Seymour starts in earnest to put ideas together for the Pickwick Papers. Yes, that’s right: here (as maybe in reality) it is the illustrator who comes up with the concept for the book, but being dyslexic and proud…