Exceptional Migration Period Excavation Crowdfunding Now

Pompeii situations, where daily life at a settlement has suddenly and catastrophically been terminated and the site has then been abandoned, are extremely rare and extremely informative. As has recently been discovered, the Sandby fortified settlement on the island of Öland offers a Pompeii situation from about AD 500. The settlement has been attacked, its inhabitants killed or abducted, and then the aggressors just closed the doors and never came back, leaving their victims and all their considerable wealth still inside the houses.

So far the Kalmar County Museum's excavations at Sandby have been small and poorly funded. But now they've launched a Kickstarter campaign for continued fieldwork! Their goal is 400,000 kronor ($53,700, €43,200), and with a month to go they already have pledges for 79,000 kronor.

Dear Reader, I've backed the project. Please check out their page and consider doing so you too! I know these people, and I know they get things done.

Side note: the dome-shaped gilded silver mount above features an unusually early example of a motif I've written briefly about 20 years ago. It's the "warrior as beast": a helmeted human face whose lower face extends into the long toothy snout of a wolf. It's common on fine shield-handle terminals of the period 540-700.

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Done. I'm slightly worried about this as a funding method for archaeology projects, but it sounds like a really interesting site!

I am a bit worried that the publicity may attract looters. Is the site an open area where interlopers will stand out?

By BirgerJohansson (not verified) on 02 Dec 2014 #permalink

Love the triskelions.

By Max Milhayser (not verified) on 03 Dec 2014 #permalink

I don't know many people who study the early middle ages, but I will see what I can do to pass this on. Max, good point about the triskelia!