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.

A Medieval Lady’s Seal

My detectorist friend and long-time collaborator Svante Tibell found a seal matrix in the field next to Skällvik Castle this past summer. In the Middle Ages of Sweden, people of means didn’t sign their names to documents. They carried seals around, with which they made imprints into chalk-mixed wax, and these were affixed to paperwork…

October Pieces Of My Mind #3

Leonard Cohen got from the used books store to the cake shop ahead of me. /-: Wish somebody would demolish all the modern houses on top of the ruins of Visborg Castle. The ruin of St. Olav’s church in Visby is a protected ancient monument. It is being damaged by the ivy that covers it.…

October Pieces Of My Mind #2

The New Dawn rose I’ve been pampering has almost outgrown its trellis. Movie: Kubo and the Two Strings. Oddly titled Japanese fantasy story with beautiful imagery and sappy moral. Grade: Pass. The UK imports roughly the same amount of tea annually as the rest of Europe combined. About the Trump campaign’s response to the “just…

October Pieces Of My Mind #1

Movie: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Two film-making high school boys befriend a girl just as she is diagnosed with leukaemia. Grade: Pass With Distinction. Heard this ad for contact lenses offering prices that are “up to 70% of what you usually pay”. You may want to think that through again, guys. Swedish…

Odd Gender Pattern At Maths Olympiad

Cousin E pointed out something odd about the International Mathematical Olympiad. It’s an annual competition for high school students. And girls do super poorly in it. We ran some stats on the data for 2015 and 2016, and found that a national team with more than one female member gets less than half the median…

From 2014 on, Swedish metal detectorists have had to report all finds datable to before 1850 to the authorities. I have recently shown in a note in Fornvännen that this rule came about by mistake, and that it has broken the County Archaeologist system. It takes hours for a county heritage administrator to process one…

September Pieces Of My Mind #3

Just got the application referees’ evaluation for a job I’ve been hoping for. I’m afraid to read it. Taking a walk first. I’m really tired of this thankless shit. Impatient for December, when I’ll know if I’ll have money to write that castles book or if I should start calling people about a steady job…

September Pieces Of My Mind #2

The former school / functions venue in my housing area has been converted into housing for single male asylum seekers. I’m putting a note on their front door, offering to teach them some boardgames. Wonder if the weight-loss advertisers realise that the pics of amply built women they intend to frighten female customers with are…

September Pieces Of My Mind #1

Learned a neat German expression: Eier kraulen, lit. “to fondle the eggs”, means “to fondle someone’s testicles”, that is, “to stroke a man’s ego”. Lithuanian plumbers put the hot water to the right even though the colour coding on the taps is the reverse. This Romanian researcher thinks that the Yamnaya Culture is an ancient…

Announcing My New Essay Collection

In December of last year I finished a collection of short humorous archaeological essays. It’s my sixth book, my first one in Swedish, my first one aimed at the lay reader. Since then I’ve been waiting for established Swedish publishing houses to pronounce judgement on it. Five of them have now turned it down, none…