Cool Sb Widget for Bloggers

Dear Reader, have you got a blog or other web site? Seed now offers widget that will put a handy ScienceBlogs Latest Posts feed on your site. This is what it looks like:

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Damage Assessed at Ravlunda Iron Age Cemetery

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Yet another piece of news about Bob Lind’s most recent archaeoastronomical caper (previously covered here and here).

The Scania County Archaeologist has had an independent contractor assess and document the damage done to an Early Iron Age cemetery by Lind and former geology professor Nils-Axel Mörner. The men’s interventions will be repaired and the site’s protected area will be enlarged, but no charges will be pressed. It’s an unusual case as Lind made his unauthorised interference with the site known through a press release!

Here are a few choice quotations from contract archaeologist Lasse Wallin’s report. I translate:

“The amateur archaeologist has issued a press release where he enumerates 55 stones on the central hillock, that is, within and immediately outside registered site 169. This may be compared to the Sites and Monuments Register’s “c. 19 stones”. Furthermore, eight stones on the eastern hillock are used in alignments, as are two on the western one. Many of these stones have clearly been excavated or de-turfed in the past few weeks. A number of pits have also been dug, of which some have been backfilled. Their depth seems to have been 0.1-0.2 meters. In two shallow pits, about 0.05 meters deep, flat stones have been placed. These stones apparently mark the centres of stone circles someone has envisioned.”

“Repairing the damage to the site is important as the uncovering of selected stones according to a preconceived idea gives a doubtful impression of the monument.”

“To possibly restore the site, in the sense of returning it to its original state [on the day of the last burial, one imagines] would be impossible without a very thorough investigation with non-destructive methods, and perhaps an excavation. Such a radical restoration would be neither feasible, nor, in our opinion, desirable.”

“Fig. 8. Digging damage at 7. No stone was found at the desired spot!”

In other news, I have learned that Lind is not only an amateur archaeoastronomer, but also a practicing homeopath. Why am I not surprised?

Update 11 January: Clas Svahn covers the report in Dagens Nyheter.

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Skeptics’ Circle 76 – Oh Look, a Dish Brush!

i-9c0faa708c14af1ae96cfeb520b25df7-diskborste.jpgDear Reader, welcome to the 76th instalment of the Skeptics’ Circle, your bi-weekly portal to the best skeptical blog writing on this or any other world-wide web.

Well, folks, that’s all for this time. Tune in to Whitecoat Underground on J.R.R. Tolkien’s 105th birthday, 3 January, for the next carnival. And don’t forget to submit good stuff!

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Impressions of Birka

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Responding to my call for archaeopix, Dear Reader Kristi offers us two pages out of her June 2005 travel journal, recording a visit to Björkö / Birka, site of Sweden’s first town c. AD 770-970. Explains Kristi:

“I sketched the things that made an impression on me, from the island and the Birkamuseet. […] Art journaling, such as that in my scan, is very popular as a means of documenting amateur archaelogical, historical, and biological interests”

News to me, though I’d heard of scrapbooking which seems to be somewhat similar. Any more art journalers or scrapbookers around here? Somebody should write a Wikipedia entry about it!

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Anthro Blog Carnival

The thirtieth Four Stone Hearth blog carnival is on-line at The Greenbelt. Archaeology and anthropology to satisfy even the most demanding of connoisseurs!

While I’m at it, Dear Reader, let me ask you to please send me some good archaeological photographs or drawings, with a brief explanation of what they show, to be published here on Aard. Fame and link love can be yours!

My Year in Blogging

Here’s one to send you into the vaults, Dear Reader: following John Lynch’s lead, I offer links to the first Aard entry of each month this year, each with its first sentence (disregarding carnival announcements).

  • Jan. “I miss the porn surfers.” [link]
  • Feb. “One thing I’ve never fought about with my ex-wife nor my wife is money.” [link]
  • Mar. “My friend Stefan Kayat is a truly original man of many talents.” [link]
  • Apr. “Archaeological periods are defined by artefact types.” [link]
  • May. “Archaeology consists of a myriad of weakly interconnected regional and temporal sub-disciplines.” [link]
  • Jun. “A few words about a new novel I read half of and didn’t feel like finishing.” [link]
  • Jul. “Spent Friday working for my friends Mattias Pettersson and Roger Wikell, digging on one of their Mesolithic sites in the Tyresta nature reserve south of Stockholm.” [link]
  • Aug. “Recent discoveries by my friend Lars got me thinking about New Age archaeology.” [link]
  • Sep. “My Norwegian buddy Torkel reminded me of the wonderful site TOP 10 MOST RIDICULOUS BLACK METAL PICS OF ALL TIME.” [link]
  • Oct. “Aided by many volunteers and using tools borrowed from my dad and the Stockholm County Museum, I’ve spent the day getting the Djurhamn sword out of the ground.” [link]
  • Nov. “Jean François Revel once wrote, ‘Let there be no discussion about methods except by those who make discoveries’.” [link]
  • Dec. “Today, the Swedish Skeptics Society celebrated its 25th anniversary with an afternoon seminar in Stockholm.” [link]

A Blast From the Future

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Johan Jönsson of Månskensdans has identified a lookalike of my future self: German musical singer Jerzy Jeske, “Multitalent und Darsteller bei mehr als 40 Premieren in 5 Sprachen”. Go Jerzy!

There’s also a British actor who looks like I do currently, but I’ve forgotten his name. I think he was in a TV adaptation of the life of Tsarevna Catherine the Great, but I can’t seem to find him in IMDB.

Two Years of Blogging

In early October two years ago, we had a party. During that evening, a journalist friend helped my wife set up a (pseudonymous, s3kr1t) blog on Blogspot which persists to this day.

I didn’t catch on immediately. I’d been a BBS aficionado since the late 80s, regularly spending an hour or two a day conversing on-line. But after two months of reading my wife’s blog, I started to feel that maybe blogging might be something for me too. After all, I was already writing on-line anyway, but for a small audience of longtime BBS friends who didn’t necessarily share my obsessions. Also, the BBS format neither permitted illustrations nor invited longer pieces. (In fact, BBSes taught me compact argumentation to avoid boring the readers, a skill I have found very useful as an academic.)

Two years ago to the day I wrote my first blog entry, and when I had amassed a little collection I went public and e-mailed my friends about what I was doing. For two years now I’ve blogged pretty much daily, dropping out of my old BBS hangout and concentrating those evening hours on blogging instead. The other day, somebody characterised my blog as “quirky and popular … opinionated”. I can live with that!

Saturday Amusements

i-4759427260c03ea486a681117031ff0d-kill.jpgYesterday myself & Junior met up with Paddy K. Sr. & Jr. and went to Cybertown, a laser-game place in central Stockholm. Here we paid SEK 60 ($11) per head and donned vests with laser sensors and attached laser guns, forming Team Blue. Teams Red and Yellow each consisted of five ten-year-olds, and Team Green was a dad and his daughter. Then we entered a blacklit dry-ice-smoking dark labyrinth and spent 20 adrenaline-soaked minutes happily sniping at teams Red, Yellow and Green. We won! Not very surprising, given that our team was the only one with two dads. Individually, though, Green Dad was the best player. And Paddy Jr. was the best kid!

We had lunch at a Dovas, an excellent greasy spoon (Sw. sunkhak) full of grizzled heavy dudes drinking daytime lager, and then went to the English Shop, a bona fide immigrant store full of British foodstuffs & books, complete with a notice board advertising English-speaking party clowns and an on-line forum for expat mothers. I bought mince pies, breakfast-inna-can and Ty.phoo tea.

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The afternoon was spent in the company of our Rundkvist ladies at Swedish Grandma’s making Xmas ornaments, while I cleaned out the hard drive of her old computer and napped. Kids to Jr’s mom. In the evening, I dressed in imitation of the sleeve of Kraftwerk’s immortal 1978 album The Man-Machine, borrowed some lipstick and went with my stunning wife to the Hootchy Kootchy Club (of which I told you back in February, Dear Reader). Here we enjoyed various musical and burlesque entertainments (including the fabulous Scotty the Blue Bunny, the delectable Paula the Swedish Housewife and the gleefully transgressive Empress Stah), stared in fascination at beautifully (and rather scantily) clad people, received not inconsiderable admiration ourselves, and shook our beauté to good music into the small hours.

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Swiftly home, to discover that the ground-floor lock that hasn’t worked for eight years had suddenly begun to do so, and that we were locked out of the house. On to my dad’s place, rousing him & extra mum (who wondered at first if I had been kicked out of my house in a marital spat), and sleeping very soundly in the big guest room.

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All in all an excellent Saturday. What did you do, Dear Reader?

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More Mind-Bending Ideas From Bob Lind

This is really great. Everybody else has realised that Bob Lind’s new “discovery” was a canard. But today, local paper Ystad Allehanda’s credulous reporter nevertheless conveys the man’s ideas that

  • Standing stones are unlikely to mark cemeteries. (They are in fact enormously common in early-to-mid-1st Millennium AD cemeteries in Sweden.)
  • Many of the stones in the new cemetery Lind has been spinning his astronomical yarns about hardly protrude above the turf. The reason, he says, is that the ground level in the meadow has somehow risen 80 cm since the stones were put in place, and nearly buried them. (This simply doesn’t happen. Our geology doesn’t work that way.)

Please, bona fide amateur archaeologists of Scania, you can’t let Bob Lind act as an example of your community like this! He’s a complete embarassment.

Thanks to Sven-Åke of Arkeologiforum for the link.

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