2014 Castle Excavation Reports

Things are coming together with the post-excavation work for last summer's castle investigations so I'm putting some stuff on-line here.

  • I've submitted a paper detailing the main results to a proceedings volume for the Castella Maris Baltici symposium in Lodz back in May. There are no illustrations in the file, but you'll find all you need here on the blog in various entries tagged ”Castles”.
  • Osteologist Rudolf Gustavsson has completed his reports on the bones from the two sites (LandsjöStensö).

For the Dear Reader who doesn't read Swedish, a short summary of Rudolf's results is in order. As expected, there are no human bones: this is food waste. The material from both sites is dominated by youngish pigs followed by sheep/goat and cattle in roughly equal fragment numbers. Pig parts represented at Landsjö suggest slaughter on site. Chicken was also eaten at both sites. Both sites have fish species that would have been available in the body of water overlooked by the castle. Landsjö's trench D has large parts of a fox whose femur shows a healed break. It's from the top layer that probably represents post-Medieval, post-castle slope erosion, and thus doesn't seem to have anything to do with courtly hunting.

Questions and comments on the documents are most appreciated!

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As with the bones from the 2014 fieldwork at Stensö Castle, Rudolf Gustavsson of SAU in Uppsala has again analysed the bones we found this year (report in Swedish here). And as expected, there are no human bones: this too is mostly food waste. The body parts represented indicate that trench D just…
I spent last week in Denmark at a friendly, informative and rather unusual conference. The thirteenth Castella Maris Baltici conference (“castles of the Baltic Sea”) was a moveable feast. In five days we slept in three different towns on Zealand and Funen and spent a sum of only two days presenting…
Medieval walls are usually shell walls, where you construct an inner and outer shell of finely fitted masonry while filling the space between them with a jumble of smaller stones and mortar. Usually the facing stones don't project much into the core. When the wall is allowed to erode, once the cap…
With two days of digging and one day of backfilling left at Stensö Castle, trenches A and B have already given a rich harvest of new information. The northern tower was a green ruin mound when we came to site. We now know that the tower was built entirely of greystone, it was round with a diameter…

I expext that any future survey of nearby topsoil made from "night soil" will reveal similar things to what was found in this celtic settlement inhabited a millennium earlier. And the christian period might even have been filthier, with the disdain for the body. For avoiding disease, single houses away from other people would have been best.
A Dirty Past: "Parasite eggs from the Celtic period found" http://phys.org/news/2014-12-parasite-eggs-celtic-period.html

By BirgerJohansson (not verified) on 30 Dec 2014 #permalink

Thank you Martin, this is why I love your blog: more cool papers per post than any other archaeology blog I've come across. Would love to see speculative sketches of your castles as reconstructed incorporating your discoveries if you have them just laying around. Somebody on that dig had to have been a little artistic!

Thanks Kevin! I promise not to withhold any cool reconstruction drawings that may be fortcoming.

Hej Martin!
Din rapport är jätteintressant. Men din samfattning på tyska är tyvärr inte helt riktig. De mesta fel är inte så viktig, men "to falsify" är inte "verfälschen" i det här sammanhang. Du kan skriva "falsifizieren" ("Wir haben unsere Hypothese falsifiziert, dass...") eller du kan skriver "Es hat sich gezeigt, dass unsere Hypothese falsch war, dass ...". Vad du skriver betyder något som "we faked our hypothesis."
Tyska är mitt modersmål och jag vet att mitt svenska är inte heller så bra...
Hälsning, Julia

Thank you! I know my German is very shaky. A PhD buddy of mine from Hamburg corrected the abstract before I submitted the manuscript.