My Autumn's And Winter's Work


Dear Reader Fiona asked me to write more about archaeology, which reminded me that I haven't said much about what I've been doing in my study these past months. I find that the last time was actually in late August when I dug in the cave with Margareta and Magdalena.

So, what have I been up to during these months when no Swedish archaeologist wants to do fieldwork? I have:

  • Written the archive reports on my 2011 fieldwork.
  • Checked for fits between some copper alloy fragments we picked up at an Uppland hoard site and the hoard itself in the Historical Museum. We found no fits but two likely candidates for belonging to highly incomplete objects.
  • Distributed my Mead-halls book to colleagues and libraries across northern Europe.
  • Test-lectured for a teaching job that I almost got except they realised at the last moment that they didn't actually have the money to employ anyone.
  • Written a popular account of the cave dig for the Swedish Caving Society's journal.
  • Written two papers on the picture stones of Gotland: one about their re-use in the last phase of Pagan graves before the islanders started to build stone churches in the mid-12th century, and one on how to classify and date a picture stone that has lost its pictures, leaving only its dimensions and outline shape. Then I translated them into Swedish. Unusually, the same symposium report will be published in separate Swedish and English editions at the same time.
  • Edited two issues of Fornvännen.
  • Copy-edited a symposium report on the Swedish/Norwegian province of Jämtland before 1645. This wasn't my own work but it was interesting and paid well.
  • Not done anything about the Bronze Age project lately except some reading.

More like this

At the request of Aard regular and archaeologist Mathias Blobel in Freiburg, Germany, here's a summary of a recent paper in Swedish. In Fornvännen 2007:3, husband & wife historians of archaeology Drs Ãsa Gillberg and Ola W. Jensen note that there are currently ongoing attempts to train dogs to…
In October, I wrote about a ruling of the European Commission against Sweden's restrictions on metal-detector use. The angle, kind of irrelevantly one may think, was that our rules counteract the free mobility of goods, which is of course a central concern of the EU. On 30 November Sweden's…
Few Swedish caves contain any known archaeology, and those that do mainly feature Mesolithic and Neolithic habitation layers. The Pukberget ("Devil's Mountain") cave near Enköping is a rare exception. In the mid-20th century a fox hunter crawled into the cave and felt his way around. His questing…
Having read yesterday's entry about what I need to get hold of before I can dig a site, Apel Mjausson asked me on Facebook, "How do you decide where to dig? Sweden is lousy with unexplored sites. Are you following a specific story, looking at place names, take nominations...?" Disregarding sites I'…

"...during these months when no Swedish archaeologist wants to do fieldwork"

Bears have a pretty good idea about what to do with caves during these months.

By Birger Johansson (not verified) on 07 Feb 2012 #permalink

At least they didn't realize that they were out of money -after- you had moved your family to another country and started immigration proceedings for the job, as happened to a Dutch historian I know. The academic job market is cruel.

Is southern Sweden frozen solid this time of year, or cold and slushy? I'd imagine that all that water would moderate things.

Poor bastard, your historian friend. )-:

It's been negative 5-15 Celsius for weeks in Stockholm and a skiable amount of snow, after two winter months at about zero with no sno.

SM, is there any possibility of a lawsuit against the schmucks?

Today Umeå has only -17 degrees. A village in Lapland had 42.8 a couple of days ago, not good for skiing...
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(OT) Here is something you can do to fill your abundant spare time:
Valentine's Day Pie With 'Aphrodisiac' Bull Testicles… -Who comes up with these ideas? Carl Pilkington?

By Birger Johansson (not verified) on 07 Feb 2012 #permalink

Fuck! After the coup in the Maldives, a crowd of islamists stormed the national museum and smashed buddhist statues.
Deja vu. "Under onsdagsförmiddagen stormade även en folkhop Maldivernas nationalmuseum och slog sönder buddhistiska statyer."

By Birger Johansson (not verified) on 08 Feb 2012 #permalink

It would be interesting to ask the vandals what they believe they accomplished. What the results of the vandalism will be. Not what doctrine told them to do it.

Bugger about the teaching job. :(

Do you normally write articles in English and translate back to Swedish? I know you do so much in English that it must flow easily, but I still expected that you would think in Swedish and therefor write it more easily.

The question of what the vandals are thinking, is interesting. I suspect their answer would boil down to either eliminating the competition or hiding the fact that there is competition.

The last time I published a research paper in Swedish without a prior version in English was in 2009, when I was invited to contribute to a Swedish-language anthology. It's fun to write in Swedish but I avoid it for any subject that has a potential audience beyond Scandyland. Even in English the interested readers are few enough given the abstruse nature of my research.

I have a feeling that the vandals aren't thinking much about outcomes, acting instead from doctrine. "We destroy religious statues because they are against the tenets of our religion. Any further outcomes of this are irrelevant. The important thing is to act according to our religion."