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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…

March Pieces Of My Mind #1

How come we have any idea of the diameter of the Oort cloud? And how does it relate spatially to the Kuiper belt? Ridiculous tiny Mac keyboard. No F keys, no delete key, tiny cursor movement keys. Research is a pretty open-ended activity that demands a certain amount of creativity. Among the many advantages of…

The lyrics to Dusty Springfield’s 1970 song ”Spooky” are slightly odd. They have a woman describing her relationship with a fickle, unreliable, flirtatious man. ”Love’s kind of crazy with a spooky little boy like you”. She constantly finds him winking with his “little eye” at other women. “I get confused and I don’t know where…

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…

February Pieces Of My Mind #2

Started reading Jacobsen’s Midt i en klunketid, laughed helplessly on first page. Da. klunketiden literally means “the time of big tassels” and refers to a furnishing style of the 1880s and 90s. Dryden is hugely popular with badgers. It never ceases to annoy me that when application reviewers explain why they don’t think I should…