Frag of a brooch decorated with embossed silver foil. 5th century. Photograph Tobias Bondesson.
Our site in Kimstad parish looked even better than I’d thought. This was one of many cases where I’ve come swooping in to sites that I’ve never visited before and directed metal detecting. In Kimstad, I had been attracted by ÃstergÃ¶tland’s only (probable) Viking Period wetland weapon sacrifice, a fine sword found during drainage work. But I didn’t want more swords. They’re too expensive to conserve, and my project is about the settlements of people who could afford to sacrifice that sort of thing. So I got permission to check out the fields around a nearby hilltop cemetery instead, which looked like a good place for an abandoned farmstead.
I hadn’t realised what the topography would be like. The hill turned out to be really high, with an awesome view, and there were plenty of really good surfaces for settlement on its flanks. I knew from the map that there were many little islets of rock and clearance stone in the fields around the hill. Very promising.
Yet we found almost nothing in 13 man-hours. We haven’t cleaned the finds yet, but I don’t think there’s anything older than a 18th century book clasp. A little disappointing, but I’m glad we went there so I could see the amazing landscape and fraternise with a bunch of horses.
Crumpled-up highly ornate disc brooch. As yet unclassified. Best guess — Viking Period? Photograph Tobias Bondesson.
After lunch we returned for the fourth time to the site in Kaga parish that I’ve been blogging so much about for the past two years. Much of the surface was stubble, which is bad because it keeps the detector’s disc off the ground. But still, 20 man-hours netted us a fine early-5th century brooch with a semicircular head decorated with embossed silver foil, a 9th century brooch in the shape of an equal-armed cross with animal-head terminals reminiscent of Irish manuscript art, and loads of other weird & wonderful stuff.
9th century brooch in the shape of an equal-armed cross with animal-head terminals reminiscent of Irish manuscript art.
A fine day ended in a very fine way when Mr & Mrs LL of Arkland invited us to dinner. LL took us for a drive around BjÃ¤rka-SÃ¤by at sundown, beautiful landscape with meadows and hoary oaks, and then we ate and talked and took our pick of LL’s archaeological library, which he has decided to slim down before moving to Visby.
Six sites in three days, whew! And it’s given me both a databurst for the book and excellent camaraderie.