Skamby Visit, Farewell to Daub


It’s always bittersweet to return to sites you’ve dug. I guess I’m particularly susceptible to this nostalgia since I tend to feel it very shortly after moving on from anything or any place. And since I usually only dig during the sunny season I remember my old excavations as summer country.

Two days ago I checked in with the boat inhumation cemetery at Skamby in Kuddby parish, Östergötland. Me & Howard Williams and his students dug there in 2005. The turf and flora have regenerated nicely over our trench and a flock of broad-snouted sheep now grazes on the cemetery hill. They seem to like lazing in the boat-shaped grassy hollow we reconstructed in the grave. When someone re-excavates it they’ll find neat drystone walls to the boat depression. They weren’t there originally, but team member Bryn Morris (a PhD student and big gamer) had grown up on a Welsh farm and knew how to build field walls.

Today was kind of an important day for the Skamby dig. I drove to the museum stores in Tumba and handed over the finds (except the gaming pieces, which are on display in Linköping) to the Museum of National Antiquities. Finally I’m rid of those 18.1 kg of burnt daub!

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