An Interview with Martin Rundkvist of Aardvarchaeology


Page 3.14 interviews are back! Somehow it's taken many moons for veteran SciBling Martin Rundkvist, of Aardvarchaeology, to answer our barrage of questions. The Swedish archaeologist (pictured at right with his daughter) made headlines recently when he discovered, while metal-detecting on the island of Djurö, a 92-centimeter, 16th-century sword. Much more below the fold...

What's your name?
Martin Rundkvist

What do you do when you're not blogging?
Four days a week, I'm a threadbare gentleman scholar doing research in the 1st Millennium AD archaeology of Sweden. One day a week, I'm the managing editor of Sweden's main archaeology journal, Fornvännen. Seven days a week, I wait for the Boomers to retire.

What is your blog called?

What's up with that name?
Aardvarks are cool nocturnal diggers in South Africa. Also, their name is the only word in the English language that begins with AA, which is good for blog-roll purposes.

How long have you been blogging, anyway?
Two years: I began in December 2005.

Where are you from and where do you live now?
I live two miles from my childhood home in a suburb of Stockholm, Sweden. No, I can't help anyone get the Nobel Prize.

Would you describe yourself as a working scientist?
Yeah, I work, though I only do fun stuff since I have no boss.

Any educational experiences or degrees you'd like to mention?
I'm a PhD. My most humbling educational experience was the two times I flunked my driver's license. Oh, I cried.

What are your main academic interests, in or out of your field?
I'm into prehistoric Scandinavia, mainly portable artifacts or "small finds" as they are also known.

Last book you read?
I dropped the last book I started. Jonah Lehrer's Proust was a Neuroscientist is full of romantic ideas about parallels between art and science. My take on this is that art is mainly just random outpourings of intellectual noise, and that if you look at large enough a sample of this noise you are bound to find something that fits the scientific model you have in mind.

What is your idea of a perfect day?
One involving sunshine, the outdoors, good food, friends and family, and no obligation to make small talk for too long.

What's your greatest habitual annoyance?
The fact that there's an unemployed Swedish archaeology PhD behind every shrubbery and only about three jobs in the entire business.

Who are your favorite writers?
Tolkien, LeGuin, Lovecraft, Gould, F.G. Bengtsson, F. Nilsson Piraten.

Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?

Your favorite heroes in real life?
Professionally, my old colleague Mats P. Malmer, the clear-thinkingest archaeologist ever. Privately, I don't really have heroes. Heroes, to my mind, tend to be made after the fact for propaganda purposes.

What's your most marked characteristic?
A silly and lewd sense of humour.

What's your fatal flaw?
Hey, I'm still alive and procreating—they don't look all that fatal to me!

What would you like to be?
A university lecturer!

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