Skamby Boat Grave Cemetery Map

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The excellent Markus Andersson has made a cemetery map out of the field measurements me and Howard Williams and our collaborators took at Skamby in Kuddby parish the summer before last. This is the prettiest of Östergötland’s three boat inhumation cemeteries. We excavated grave 15, as I have blogged about repeatedly, and found it to contain a burial of the 9th century with unusual furnishings.

Now that the plan is done, all that remains is snapping pics of the finds post-conservation, and then I can stick all the report materials into one big PDF file for the delectation of the world’s boat grave aficionados.

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Celebrating Your New Henge


Mike Parker Pearson and team have excavated part of a huge Neolithic settlement at Durrington Walls above the Salisbury plain, not far from Stonehenge. Finds are abundant and suggest that the place was a seasonal ceremonial feasting site. Says MPP, “We’re talking Britain’s first free festival. It’s part of attracting a labour force – throwing a big party”. And you know what that labour force did? Yep, among other tasks they pulled massive blocks of rock on sledges from Wales to Wiltshire and built something that still stands after several millennia.

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Estonian Conference: Rank, Gender and Society


Marika Mägi, my old co-student from grad school, is head of the archaeology department at Tallinn university in Estonia. She’s organising a conference titled Rank, Gender and Society around the Baltic 400-1400 AD on 23-27 May in Kuressaare on the island of Saaremaa. Interested scholars are welcome to present papers, and Marika tells me that the registration deadline has been extended to 1 March. Here’s a flier with registration details.

I’m tempted to go. Saaremaa is sort of Gotland’s twin sister and it’s the kind of place I’d most likely never visit unless prompted by a conference. And the theme is right up my street. Anybody else going?

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Musical Skiing


Dear Reader, I’ve just passed a lovely hour skiing on the golf course, and I am very happy.

It’s -6 centigrade, loads of snow and Mr Sun is shining from a blue sky, accompanied by his pale-countenanced Sister Moon. People and dogs were out in force and we all smiled at each other as we met in the tracks.

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Linnaeus 300

i-4f7e9e73a4366e3e3ebf79dba3d35462-linnaeus300.jpgAs I’ve observed before, enlisting bloggers to do marketing offers some interesting possibilities and limitations. Unlike the case with mainstream media, you can choose exactly which person will receive an advance copy of your product (preferably someone who will like it), and the blogger is likely to feel flattered that you even took her seriously enough to contact her. A blog often also has a tightly defined readership, so by choosing the right blogger you can usually reach a very specific target market. The main drawback is of course that of readership: you can be reasonably sure to get a favourable review from a blogger, but it won’t reach as many people as the MSM do.

I recently registered Aardvarchaeology with, a Swedish blog ratings site with thematic sections. The science section isn’t very large and consists almost entirely of blogs in Swedish, so mine immediately plonked down on numero uno. And it didn’t take long before I received an invitation from the Swedish Institute for the 25 January unveiling of, their web site celebrating Swedish science and the tricentennial anniversary of Carolus Linnaeus.

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The Gothenburg Nasty

Most archaeologists work with rescue excavations for land development, “contract archaeology”. And because of the Field-Archaeological Paradox, operative in all Western countries with strong legal protection for archaeological sites, they get to dig a lot of really nondescript things. It’s not Tut-ankh-amen’s tomb every day, kids. This is one of the reasons that I do my best to stay out of contract archaeology.

One of the types of ancient monument that Swedish contract archaeologists get to dig quite a lot, but which is seen by many pretty much with heartfelt loathing, is colloquially known as the Gothenburg Nasty: Göteborgsäckel.

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Classic Norwegian Finds Pics On-line


One of the founding fathers of Norwegian archaeology and place-name scholarship was Oluf Rygh (1833-1899). In 1875, he became Scandinavia’s first professor of archaeology. One of the most enduring parts of his legacy is his 1885 book Norske Oldsager, “Norwegian Antiquities” (re-issued in 1999). Not because many read either the Norwegian or the French text in the book any more: Norske Oldsager is used to this day for its illustrations. Hundreds of beautiful drawings of exquisite finds, all reproduced through the late 19th century’s signature printing method, wood engraving.

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