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.

Fornvännen’s Spring Issue On-Line

Fornvännen 2016:1 is now on-line on Open Access. Anton Seiler on a weapon grave with fragments of a Vendel helmet found at Inhåleskullen near Uppsala. Some of the metalwork is interestingly decorated in Salin’s Style III/E and must be late additions to the assemblage. Rune Edberg and Johnny Karlsson on the bone skates of Birka and…

Boardgaming Retreat

This past weekend saw my seventh annual boardgaming retreat: 43 hours in good company at a small hotel (in Nynäshamn for the first time), all meals included. My buddy Oscar organises everything. This year we broke the attendance record, with 28 participants, mainly guys in our 30s and 40s. Before Sunday lunch I left early…

Uneven Sites & Monuments Attention

The Swedish national register of archaeological sites is one of the best in the world. But if you ever consider using it for any kind of research purpose, have a look first at the register’s map of sites just west of Örkelljunga in Scania. The diagonal line is the parish boundary between Tåssjö and Rya.…

November Pieces Of My Mind #1

Fear me! I make bad puns in really, really bad Mandarin! One Celsius and sleet. I have to drive for four hours today, so I’m switching tyres first. Skänninge is dying. So many empty shop premises and housing properties. Facades flaking. Railway has cut off the eastern approaches to the town square. Last wave of…

Autumn Speaking Schedule

For the first time since 2011 I haven’t got any teaching this autumn semester, which is really bad both for my finances and for my troop morale. (I feel like my colleagues would celebrate or not even notice if I got eaten by a grue tomorrow.) To boost both I’m instead seeking paid extramural speaking…

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…