aardvarchaeology

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Martin R

Dr. Martin Rundkvist is a Swedish archaeologist, journal editor, public speaker, chairman of the Swedish Skeptics Society, atheist, lefty liberal, board gamer, bookworm, and father of two.

Posts by this author

October 16, 2017
As I learned a few hours ago, and as a few other Sb bloggers have already announced, Scienceblogs.com will shut down at the end of this month. I'm going to move Aard and continue my blogging, but I haven't figured out where to move it yet. Suggestions from you, Dear Reader, are most welcome. It…
October 11, 2017
I don't read much in Swedish. On a whim I decided to check what recent Swedish books I've read and liked outside work. Turns out they're all popular history. Alla rekommenderas varmt för den som delar mina intressen! Kring Hammarby sjö. 1. Tiden före Hammarbyleden. Hans Björkman 2016. Local history…
October 10, 2017
Medieval account books were so common in Germany and considered to be so worthless, that into the early 19th century they were used as fuel to heat certain archives. Got nominated to the municipal council. Not likely to be high on the list, but still, feels good to be considered useful. I was…
October 5, 2017
Ben Aaronovitch = Benjamin Aaronson wrote The Rivers of London. I wonder if it's a pen name for my grandpa's grandpa Aaron Benjaminson, who was a farmer in Tanum. Two students are trying to play verbal chess while digging. The board is in their heads. "Well, I'm not the world's most physical guy /…
October 3, 2017
Habilitation, docentur, is a symbolic upgrade to your PhD found in Scandinavia and other countries with a strong element of German academic traditions. You can think of it as a boy-scout badge. It confers no salary, but it opens certain doors including that of supervising doctoral candidates.…
October 2, 2017
Oslo colleagues have asked me to give a fuller account of the spring 2017 hiring that I called the most egregious case I’ve seen. This is not because they're trying to make the University of Oslo's Museum of Cultural History look good, but because they feel that I unfairly singled out a single hire…
September 29, 2017
I recently received a long-awaited verdict on an official complaint I had filed: there was in fact nothing formally wrong with the decision by the Dept of Historical Studies in Gothenburg to hire Zeppo Begonia. Since the verdict didn't go my way, as planned I am now turning my back on academic…
September 20, 2017
Planting a gingko and listening to early Black Sabbath. Sailboat owners around Älgö have a lot of trouble with their wind indicators. The local crows use them as merry-go-rounds, which messes them up. Me: "I am daft today." Autocorrect: "I am Daddy Toast." Friendly local fellow gladly gave us…
September 12, 2017
In archaeology, we distinguish osteological sex from artefact gender. Osteo-sex is with very few exceptions (odd chromosomal setups) the same thing as what your genitals are like. Artefact gender is the material correlate of a role you play according to the conventions of your time: e.g. whether…
September 11, 2017
Five years since my first teaching gig. Still temping today, still enjoying it, still think I should have a steady job. LinkedIn suggests that I might apply for a job as home language teacher of Kannada, a Dravidian language spoken in southern India. 15% of full time. Did Timothy Leary use…
September 2, 2017
I'm confused. For years and years this boy lived with me. Now instead there's a tall young man studying engineering in Jönköping. I somehow helped make this happen. It's strange to me. The most common surnames among my DNA relatives are Johansson, Nilsson and Persson. All three are among the ten…
August 19, 2017
I don't get it, safe deposit boxes, Sw. bankfack. Are they a disappearing bank service? Do I know anyone under the age of 50 who has one? What do you guys keep there? Do you wonder if I've got my shit together? I'll tell you. I have street maps of Helsinki from visits in 2002 and 2009 instantly…
August 17, 2017
I was pleased to learn from Current Archaeology #330 (p. 65) that Chris Catling shares my distaste for the habit scientists have recently picked up of prefixing their answers to interview questions with ”So...”. Q: Where did you find the new exciting fossil? A: So we found it in Mongolia. Q: How…
August 16, 2017
The 75th World Science Fiction Convention took place in Helsinki and seems to have had the second-highest attendance ever: more than 7000 people in the Messukeskus convention centre, 2000 of whom had (like myself) never attended a WorldCon before. There were 250 programme items only on the Friday…
August 9, 2017
Reading Matt Ruff's new novel about black Americans in the 50s. Annoyed to find that nothing in the dialogue would sound out of place if spoken by a white American sci-fi fan in 2017. Feared 45 would be the sort who gets the trains running on time and starts wars. Actually can't get trains running…
July 29, 2017
"Ways of knowing" = alternative facts. I am on a WorldCon panel about the Medieval mind and fantasy literature. I just had the (unoriginal) idea to say that the High and Late Medieval aristocracy lived largely in an Arthurian fantasy world of their own creation. Last night a skinny cat came…
July 22, 2017
Yesterday we had a guest entry from Lars Amréus, the Director General of the National Heritage Board about the signage with fringe theories at a much-visited archaeological site in southern Sweden. As I read it, the main take-away message is ”Sorry, I know this used to be our job but it isn't any…
July 21, 2017
Los Alamos means "the poplars". A friend lent me J.P. Hogan's 1980 novel Thrice Upon A Time. It's set in 2010 but has pre-PC "mini" computers the size of fridges, with text terminals and command-line interfaces. Four years before Neuromancer... 1970s computer designers: "What? You folks run your…
July 21, 2017
It seems that my comments yesterday on the small issue of signage at Ales stenar touched a nerve regarding something bigger, having to do with the National Heritage Board's overall societal role in relationship to archaeology and public outreach. Lars Amréus is the Board's Director General, an…
July 20, 2017
Bob Lind has yet again managed to get the National Heritage Board to abdicate its responsibility at Ales Stenar, a beautiful 7th century AD burial monument near Ystad in southern Sweden. Bob has self-published odd interpretations of the site that have found no traction among professional…
July 12, 2017
Swedish 1960s translation of the Game of Life. I just found a uranium mine. According to Boardgame Geek, there are 13,879 better boardgames than this. I bought a Kindle and I like it. Better than reading on my phone. No screen glare. Weeks between recharges. Bigger page. As a boy I was shocked to…
July 8, 2017
Abisko national park is in the mountains of extreme northern Sweden, Sámi country, reindeer country, where half of the year is lit by constant sun and the other half is frigid darkness and aurorae. Getting there takes 17½ hours by train from Stockholm Central. There's a sleeper train with no…
July 1, 2017
It would be quite nice if writers feared for their lives over the difference between publishing city and printing city in bibliographies. Then they would be more motivated to get it right. My parents are great. They've got so much hiking gear, at 74 they still know exactly where they keep it, and…
June 27, 2017
Academic recruitment procedures in Sweden are a mess. There are at least four strong contradictory forces that impact them. Meritocracy. As Head of Department you are legally obliged to find and employ the most qualified person on the job market, even if it's just for six months. This is after all…
June 20, 2017
On a whim I searched for my surname in the Sites & Monuments Register and was awarded with a distribution map of fieldwork I have directed Boiled cauliflower is bland and boring. But try slicing it and baking it at a high temperature in the oven with oil and salt. Good stuff! Archaeoscience…
June 10, 2017
Poppies along our fence My wife receives her second university degree today. In addition to her 15 years in journalism, she is now also a trained psychologist. Go YuSie!!! I assume 45's lawyers cleared the covfefe tweet? Small but very satisfying discovery. In 1902 a Medieval coin is found at…
June 3, 2017
Palaeobotanist Jennie Andersson has analysed four soil samples for me, all from floor layers inside buildings at Medieval strongholds that me and my team have excavated in recent years. There's one each from Stensö, Landsjö, Skällvik and Birgittas udde. Results were sadly not very informative.…
June 2, 2017
After almost 14 mostly dismal years on the academic job market, I find it a consolation to read an opinion piece in Times Higher Education under the headline "Swedish Academia Is No Meritocracy". In my experience this is also true for Denmark, Norway and Finland. In Norway, for instance, the…
May 31, 2017
In the time of the lilacs, in the month of laburnum I didn't like any of this year's Hugo-nominated novels, so I'll be voting ”No award” there. But the short-story category really has me confused. The novels aren't great, but most of them are certainly science fiction. Only one of the six shorts…
May 29, 2017
Ascension with its four days off is shaping up to be the geekiest time of the year. This time I had three big events to choose from: the LinCon gaming convention, the Kontur/SweCon scifi convention and the 45th anniversary of the Tolkien Society. Tolkienians do things in nines. I decided to spend…