Skamby Boat Grave Paper Published


When you’ve finished an archaeological excavation, you always produce an archive report describing the results. Most excavation units these days actually publish their reports in small print runs. If you’re lucky enough to find something really interesting, you should also try to publish it in a journal, anthology or monograph. This is good for you, because it enhances your academic qualifications, and it’s good for research, because it makes new data available to colleagues and opens up a discussion of the new finds.

In the summer of 2005, me and my friend Howard Williams directed the excavation of a 9th century boat grave in Östergötland. The post-excavation work has been a recurring theme in my blogging ever since (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here). I finished the archive report and put it on-line in February 2007.

Now myself and Howard have published a long meaty paper on the boat grave in Medieval Archaeology 52. The title is “A Viking Boat Grave With Amber Gaming Pieces Excavated at Skamby, Östergötland, Sweden”. Download it and have a look! (Medieval Archaeology is ERIH grade A, I’m proud to report, and published by Maney.)

Now all that remains for me to do before I can lay the 2005 dig behind me is to hand in the finds, including 18.1 kg of burnt daub. The reason that I haven’t done so long ago is that the State Board of National Antiquities still hasn’t decided which museum should receive the stuff for safekeeping.

And BTW — I’d like to thank the American voters for finally electing someone with brains and decency. The past eight years in US politics have been ugly and scary. It’s very hard for us in the world at large to ignore your internal affairs.

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17 thoughts on “Skamby Boat Grave Paper Published

  1. It’s very hard for many of us in the US to ignore our internal affairs! Pitiful that after 8 years of insult upon injury upon disaster upon deception we still only had about 64% of the eligible population actually vote…


  2. Woof! You think our politics are nasty when you see them from across the water — you should see them up close! Oy vey! They REALLY stink in the small towns!! And not just in the last 8 years either! But at least here in Texas, in this last election we actually got to mark a paper ballot (not a machine that made the vote disappear) and there was no politicking in the polling place. That was a first for me! Still no secret ballot, as found in other states. Well, maybe we’ll reach the 20th century standards of other states by the time the 22nd century arrives. Who knows? Under Obama, it might even be possible to have a secret ballot before I die!! I actually met two other whole, live human beings who also voted for Obama in Texas — I nearly fainted from astonishment!


  3. I generally find it strange that the US doesn’t have a harmonized voting system, at least for national (federal) elections. And certainly after the cock up in the 2000 elections. Has it been discussed in the US?

    Nice article, Martin. Despite of the name of the location, you have nothing to be ashamed about 🙂

    (For those who lost me there: Skamby translates to Shame Village)


  4. Just a quick follow up – yes, US politicians spend embarrassingly large sums of money to run campaigns, much of it spent on TV and other media advertising. McCain tried to make much hay out of the fact that Obama went back on his pledge to take “public funding” (read: tax money to run campaign) and instead went with donors. However, Obama’s donors numbered in the millions, with the average donation running about $83(US). That’s a far-cry from recent elections where donors tended to be corporations and special-interest groups only – and the average donations were in the thousands of dollars.
    While I’d rather see an election cycle where the only money spent was to haul candidates around the country for debates, I will accept Obama’s staggeringly huge political coffers as a positive change in US politicking. I feel like my new president is now beholden to millions of smallholders instead of to a few major donors.


  5. Yet nothing in the system prevents somebody very rich from putting in a LOT of money. And the electorate in the USA’s bipartisan system is very nearly tied 50/50.


  6. Thanks for publishing quickly, Martin! It seems like there is still a problem with some archaeologists waiting many years before publishing interesting sites in full (or not finishing publishing them at all). And also thanks for making your paper available for free online.


  7. [Sean M.]It seems like there is still a problem with some archaeologists waiting many years before publishing interesting sites in full (or not finishing publishing them at all).

    That’s nothing. I’ve heard that some of the sites they excavate are thousands of years old 😉


  8. There are limits – Granted, that limit is $108,200(US)… Most individuals put in far less. Candidates have been known to “donate” or “loan” millions of their own money to their candidacy with mixed results. Hillary Clinton is a recent case-in-point.
    Even if/when we get viable third or fourth parties in our national elections, they’re going to need a lot of cash to get their message out. Distasteful, but it’s the reality of American politics.


  9. Regarding serious lag-times in publishing, in the US if one is a member of the Register of Professional Archaeologists (a self-policing ethics and standards organization), one has 10 years to publish. “Failure to complete a full scholarly report within 10 years after completion of a field project shall be construed as a waiver of an archaeologist’s right of primacy with respect to analysis and publication of the data…” There are obligations for data-sharing.
    I don’t get the impression that this has sped up any reports from projects long-since finished, but it’s a start.


  10. The European Association of Archaeologists sets the limit at five years. But, mind you, that’s for publication. Your archive report should preferably be filed before you embark on your next dig.


  11. As for American politics, it’s sad to see how stupid the electorate really is. If they were critical thinkers, then there wouldn’t be any strong correlation between the amount of TV advertising time and the election results. It’s not about “getting a message out” — people simply vote for the guy they’ve seen more of on TV.


  12. Essentially, the elections are decided by people with money manipulating the ones without money through advertising. This is of course a global problem for democracies — they only really work when every single voter is smart and well educated. But even a half-assed democracy is better than other known systems of government.


  13. If they were critical thinkers, then there wouldn’t be any strong correlation between the amount of TV advertising time and the election results.

    Advertising works, dude. It works even on people who know how it works (although much less effectively). Nobody’s perfectly rational.


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