Archaeology

Category archives for Archaeology

Scanty Copper Alloy From Landsjö

Late Iron Age settlements are full of copper alloy objects, making them the preferred site category of metal detectorists. High Medieval castle sites, on the other hand, are quite poor in these often distinctive and informative finds. The picture above shows all the copper alloy and lead that my team of ~15 found in over…

I write these lines on the day after we backfilled the last two trenches at Landsjö, packed up our stuff, cleaned the manor house, hugged each other and went our separate ways. It’s an odd feeling to take apart the excavation machine while it still runs. It’s been four fun and successful weeks! Since my…

Like Stensö, Landsjö Castle has half of a rare perimeter wall and is known to have been owned by a descendant of Folke Jarl – or rather, by his daughter-in-law, the widow of such a descendant. Last year we found that the high inner bailey has a previously unseen southern wall with a square tower…

Balancing available labour and a pre-decided excavation agenda against each other is not easy, particularly when you’re doing investigative peek-hole fieldwork on a site whose depth and complexity of stratification you don’t know much about. At Stensö we had two of three trenches and all five test pits backfilled in time for Wednesday lunch’s on-site…

This year’s first week of fieldwork at Stensö Castle went exceptionally well, even though I drove a camper van belonging to a team member into a ditch. We’re a team of thirteen, four of whom took part in last year’s fieldwork at the site. All except me and co-director Ethan Aines are Umeå archaeology students.…

Fornvännen’s Winter Issue On-line

Issue 2014:4 is now on-line on Open Access. Otto Blehr on Stone Age elk hunting in northern Sweden. Laila Kitzler Åhfeldt on the terminology used by 11th century rune masters to denote their own work. Pia Bengtsson Melin on High Medieval magic rings. Timo Salminen on a 20s & 30s debate over whether the Corded…

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…

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…

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…

Fornvännen’s Autumn Issue On-line

Today’s my 16th anniversary as editor of Fornvännen! Issue 2014:3 is now on-line on Open Access. Ole Thirup Kastholm on dugout canoes from before AD 1 on the Scandinavian peninsula. Ole Stilborg on Late Bronze Age pottery from Östergötland. Peter Tångeberg on recently uncovered Medieval murals in Kil church, Närke. Påvel Nicklasson on early 19th…