Archaeology

Category archives for Archaeology

A Norwegian Perspective on Stonehenge

Thanks to Daniel Lindskog for the tip-off.

23 years ago I started my undergraduate studies, and my hugely inspiring main teacher was Göran Burenhult, who had written our main textbook. Now I’m teaching a very similar freshman archaeology course for the first time, and the main textbook is again one written by Göran Burenhult. This two-volume work is titled Arkeologi i Norden…

Busy Time Ahead

After a languid summer of reading, swimming and some work I’m gearing up for an intense time with a lot of fun stuff during September and October. Accompany Junior’s class to Sevenoaks and London for music camp. For the second time, review grant applications for the main science funding body of a country in southern…

Diving For Bottles Again

The people who owned my mom’s summer house in the 60s and 70s threw household waste into the sea from the main dock. And they methodically filled their empty wine bottles with water and sank them there. (If you toss an empty bottle into the sea it floats away.) The water’s only about 2.5 m…

The Viking Age Is Really A Period

I have a problem with the term Viking Age. And it’s not likely that I will ever get satisfaction. Because I am a Scandy archaeologist, and the term is owned by UK historians and the general English-speaking public. The three-ages system was established by C.J. Thomsen in his 1821 book Ledetraad. It divides Scandinavian Prehistory…

Come September I’m scheduled to fulfil a major life goal of mine after over 15 years of impatient waiting. I’m going to teach Scandy Archaeology 101 for the first time, at the University of Umeå!* The fall semester is divided into four modules of which I am head teacher for three: 1) Introduction, 2) Stone…

Shield Maidens! True Or False?

My Wulfheodenas homie David Huggins asked me a good question. ”Shield maidens! True or False? Okay, that was a bit general, but female ‘warrior’ graves, symbolic or otherwise?”. I take this to mean “Were there female warriors in Northern Europe AD 500-1000?” Let’s start by examining why everyone accepts that there were male warriors. Indeed,…

Bornholm’s Golden Acrobat Girl

Smørenge is one of the sites on Bornholm that keeps yielding mid-1st-millennium gold mini-figurines. But in addition to the 2D representations on embossed gold foil known as guldgubber, an artisan employed by the magnate family at Smørenge also made nude 3D figurines. The fifth of these was found by one of the island’s famously skilful…

The Stone of Sälna is a runestone (U 323) erected about AD 1000 at Sälna hamlet where a major road crossed Hargsån stream in Skånela parish, Uppland. (This is not far from where Arlanda airport now sprawls.) None of this is unusual. But the stone’s great height, its inscription and its later fate are. Here’s…

Contract archaeology is the current term for what used to be called rescue archaeology: documenting archaeological sites slated for destruction through land development. (Swedes sometimes fall for a false friend and translate an old word of ours, exploateringsarkeologi, into “exploitation archaeology”, suggesting fieldwork undertaken by people in pimp/ho outfits to the soundtrack from Shaft.) Swedish…