Archaeology

Category archives for Archaeology

Sacrificing The Gods’ Share

I found an excellent argument in a recent paper by Svend Hansen,* clinching something in a particularly satisfying way. Certain Bronze Age hoards in Northern Europe contain a lot of fragmented objects. But the pieces rarely add up to complete artefacts. In 2001 Stuart Needham argued that this may be due to a custom similar…

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…

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 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…

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…

Bronze Age Axe

I’ve started to assemble pictures and maps for my Bronze Age book. Almost all known objects from deposition sites in the Lakes Mälaren and Hjälmaren areas have already been illustrated elsewhere. But here’s an exception: a socketed bronze axe found before 1963 in a bog at Eklunda in Bred parish, near Enköping, Uppland province. It’s…

Read Up, Write, Repeat

I’m doing the final library work for my Bronze Age book. When working on a big research project, I always find it a little difficult to calibrate the most economical way to schedule my reading. Of course, I have to know early on what’s in the literature on the subject I’m working with. But I…

Recent Archaeomags

Skalk 2013:6 (December) has a nice piece about shell middens and Mesolithic oyster cooking, recalling a few points I made back on my first blog. You can’t open a fresh oyster without a steel knife. But if you heat the oyster even just slightly, it opens. I was also interested to learn about a harbour…

The Swedish Higher Education Authority (Universitetskanslersämbetet) has evaluated our basic university programmes in a long series of subjects. The results for archaeology were published yesterday, based on the status 2012. There were 21 BA (3 yrs), Mag.Phil. (4 yrs) and MA (5 yrs) programmes at the country’s archaeology departments. The median grade they’ve received is…