Kickass Archaeological Sites Register On-Line


With its extremely late urbanisation, Sweden doesn’t have much of an archaeological record compared to Italy or China or Peru. But we keep really good track of the stuff we have: active organised surveying for ancient monuments has been going on for over 70 years, aided by the fact that Sweden has no trespassing laws and affords land owners no ownership to archaeological remains.

Sweden’s National Heritage Board has been placing its sites and monuments register on-line gradually over a period of years. At first, it was only accessible to professionals, offering a crappy map and working only under Internet Explorer (i.e. only under Windows). Then a public search facility was added, without any map. And today a completely new site has been launched, available to anyone: with a really sweet map and working under other browsers such as Firefox, that is, under other operating systems such as Linux! Professionals who log in get the full database, everybody else on the net can access one where sensitive sites (e.g. hoards) have been stripped out.

I’m proud to say that my buddies and Aard regulars LL of Arkland and Johan of Arkeologiforum are on the team behind this kickass new search facility. Dear Reader, even if you’re not in Sweden, take a look at the site and demand that your country’s Heritage Board give you something similar ASAP! You see, this is the way to do it.

(Now, LL and Johan, if I could only wish for one thing — could you guys finally get rid of the senseless requirement to add “:1” to an Raä number when you search for it? Pretty please? Just let me type “Grötlingbo 54”. Thank you.)

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8 thoughts on “Kickass Archaeological Sites Register On-Line

  1. Fornsök is for sure a great application! One of the reasons to this is that I have NOT been involved. Creds to David, Malin and the others project members!


  2. One of the great new features is that you can get the boundaries for parishes and “landskap” in your map. For archaeologists, this is a wonderful help not only since the prehistoric sites traditionally are given a parish-number (a.k.a Grötlingbo 54), but also since many stray finds are registered under parish name in the database of the National Museum of History, which is also online. This makes the two of them far more compatible.

    And yes, I concur, the irritating rule that you have to add a sub-number must go. Just bring on all of Tortuna 238 and let me do the sorting…

    BTW, I had planned to attend the launch but had to cancel due to stupid departmental meetings I had to attend. :-/
    Congrats to the team, it is a HUGE improvement (I got a sneak peek as an ‘average-jane’ test person earlier this spring).


  3. This is both heartening and sickening. Heartening because it’s a great resource; sickening because a friend of mine has basically got her Ph.D. by doing this sort of mapping for one area of England in the early Middle Ages, for lack of this sort of investment that should have the information she’s pulled together publically available in the first place! Our heritage ministry has a way to go here! Many congratulations to those involved.


  4. Congratulations, Sweden! … and about time. Finally Denmark is ahead of Sweden in something – very unusual in regards of archaeological progressiveness and technology. In DK a base like this has existed for several years (since the mid 90’s) already. INCLUDING access to EVERYTHING for EVERYBODY.

    Seemingly nobody has misused information from the database for unsolicited detector looting so far.

    Perhaps that’s because Denmark is so small and flat, that there is no where you can walk with a detector without being seen from somebodys window.

    PS! The Swedish site is so much more user friendly and nice looking… ARW, you got us again.


  5. Thank you for the nice review! It took a while but finally we got there.

    About the requirement to add “:1” – you probably have already found out but just in case. If you add * (as in Grötlingbo 54*) you´ll get Grötlingbo 54:1 and 54:2.


  6. Errr… Yeah… You know, that isn’t an obvious way to do it. And the :1 requirement even affects sites that has no :2, :3, :4 etc. The sub-number requirement really has to go.


  7. Sure, I realise that Grötlingbo 54* isn´t a very user friendly way of searching. However making it possible to do it the way you want would demand building rather a lot of background logic into the question. First search for Grötlingbo 54, and if that doeasn´t exist search for Grötlingbo 54:1, 54:2 etc and if that doesn´t exist search for Grötlingbo 54* (and then you would get 540 etc). It´s possible and we might do it in future versions but right now we haven´t got the resources.


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