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.

Guldgubbar are tiny pieces of gold foil with (usually) embossed motifs. They most commonly depict single men, then embracing couples, then single women, all in fine clothing. They date from the Vendel Period (540-790) and seem to have been religious artefacts. Usually they are found in the remains of elite residences, concentrating in and around…

Secrets of the Runic Lion

The Lion of Pireus is a large 4th century BC marble statue that was moved from Pireus, the port of Athens, to Venice in 1688. It is now at the city’s Arsenal. The Lion has unmistakeable Swedish 11th century runic inscriptions which have been known to Scandinavian scholars since 1798/99. Clearly they have something to…

February Pieces Of My Mind #2

Started reading Jacobsen’s Midt i en klunketid, laughed helplessly on first page. Da. klunketiden literally means “the time of big tassels” and refers to a furnishing style of the 1880s and 90s. Dryden is hugely popular with badgers. It never ceases to annoy me that when application reviewers explain why they don’t think I should…

Nudge, nudge

Only one of these books was given a title with the word “nudge” in it by people with a frame of reference similar to mine. Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness. Thaler & Sunstein 2008. Monty Python and Philosophy: Nudge Nudge, Think Think! Gary L. Hardcastle et al. 2006. Nudge: Awakening Each Other…

February Pieces Of My Mind #1

Listened to this guy on In Our Time who had a particularly unattractive verbal tick that I’ve come across now and then. When other people get a question and need to think before replying, they will go “errr”, “well” etc. This guy sighed in a pained and exasperated way every time. I guess this really…

I’ve blogged before about the woebegone Solutrean hypothesis, and I’m happy to say that it is now dead. The oldest well-characterised archaeological culture in America is the Clovis culture. Its main diagnostic type is a large knapped stone spearhead with a fluted base. The Solutrean hypothesis starts from a comparison with spearheads from the Solutrean…

Fornvännen’s Summer Issue On-Line

Fornvännen 2013:2, last summer’s issue, is now on-line in its entirety on Open Access. My friends Mattias Pettersson and Roger Wikell on the Stockholm area’s earliest post-glacial settlement site, covered here on Aard during fieldwork in 2010. Tony Björk and Ylva Wickberg on an early-1st millennium linear monument related to a cemetery and a river…

Ceci Est Une Pipe

To help people understand that this is a coffee cup, we have decided to decorate it with instructive pictures of coffee cups. As my buddy Marcus Widengren commented, “Now they only have to add the words ‘This is not a coffee cup’ and take Magritte to the next level.”

I Unwittingly Manipulate A Citation Index

The list of misdemeanours that identifies an Open Access science journal as predatory and not bona fide is long. One of them is attempts on the part of the publisher and editors to manipulate the journal’s citation index, for instance by demanding that authors cite earlier work published in the same journal. If many scholars…

January Pieces Of My Mind #2

Rare religion sighting: we put up two charming Iraqi ladies for the night because of a friend’s birthday party, and they turned out to be Mandaeans, Gnostic believers in John the Baptist as Messiah. One of my best old friends calls me, grieving, and tells me his old roomie died this morning of cancer. Age…