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The 12-15th centuries are reckoned as Sweden’s Middle Ages. Politically, it was a highly volatile period, where the average tenure of a ruler was less than 11 years. One trait that can look modern to a present-day observer is that some of these tenures were divided up into several separate terms interleaved by other rulers.…

Fornvännen 2013:3 is now on-line on Open Access. Morten Axboe and Magnus Källström on a classic find of runic gold bracteates from Trollhättan, recently expanded by a metal detectorist who would have been better informed about how to go about things if Swedish law had encouraged responsible metal detector clubs. Lennart Bondeson et al. on…

April Pieces Of My Mind #1

I want my spell-checker word list to reside in the cloud so that I won’t have to start from scratch, adding names of Swedish provinces and archaeologists to the list, separately for each computer I work at. I’m tired of Star Trek and Star Wars. Let’s forget about them. The Space Odyssey took place 13…

Pimp My Book Manuscript

Since late ’09 my main research project has concerned the Bronze Age in the four Swedish provinces surrounding Lakes Mälaren and Hjälmaren. I’ve looked at the landscape situation of the era’s deposition sites, which is pretty much where you find bronze objects. Yesterday I finished the first draft of the book (except the descriptive gazetteer,…

The New Face of Old Uppsala

This little guy is the new face of Old Uppsala. Most likely a religious amulet, being too small for a gaming piece, he showed up as a corroded lump in a cremation grave of the Late Vendel Period, early-8th century. The same grave also yielded a lovely millefiori glass bird gem, glass beads, and very…

March Pieces Of My Mind #2

Swedish Mail’s money transfer numbers usually have eight digits. My mother’s number has four. This is because the account was originally opened by her grandfather in 1925, shortly after the service started. Kipling was quite conservative in many things, but still a recurrent theme in his short stories is a deep sympathy for women who…

As detailed here before, a few Samsung laptop models have a firmware bug that makes them liable to becoming inert bricks if you install Linux. It’s a one-way process. This happened to me when I bought an ultrabook from the Elgiganten big-box store last summer. Both Samsung and the store refused to reimburse me for…

Two Medieval Ruins

I drove down to Norrköping Thursday morning to look at two small Medieval castle ruins for my new project. The one at Landsjö in Kimstad is difficult to reach because it’s on a small island in a lake where nobody keeps a boat. So I had bought one of those big tractor-tyre things (that people…

Recent Archaeomags

Current Archaeology #287 (February) has news of a roundhouse foundation that really caught my eye. English Iron Age roundhouses are usually visible simply as a circular ditch or a post circle. This house, at Broadbridge Heath in Sussex, had a foundation ditch shaped like a slightly open number 6: a spiral! I also enjoyed Nadia…

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…