One of the perks of keeping Aard is free magazine subscriptions. I make it worthwhile for the publishers by writing these “Recent Archaeomags” entries, which may look a little strange since it’s the New Media reporting on stories in the Old Media. But I concentrate on stories that interest me, and most of the mags I get are probably not read by many Aard regulars, and so I hope you, Dear Reader, don’t mind.
The Danish Skalk is one of my favourite periodicals, and it’s not just because its editors tell me they like what we do with FornvÃ¤nnen. In the August issue (2010:4), I particularly like the feature story about the archaeology of the aurochs in Denmark. A piece about a 17th century brassworks in Elsinore is also good. I wouldn’t have complained though if the ten pages about the cult of Breton saints in Medieval Denmark had been halved to make room for some more prehistory.
Sweden’s closest equivalent of Skalk is PopulÃ¤r Arkeologi, and its issue 2010:3 has a lot of interesting new stuff. Among other good things, there’s the latest underwater results from the harbour of the Viking Period town of Birka, a heartbreaking 18th century execution victim from Gotland (a very young woman, severely disabled from childhood, decapitated and buried shallowly near the gallows, most probably as punishment for infanticide or incest), and a 4-page overview of the extremely rich Late Mesolithic river-bank site in Motala. I was surprised though to find a rewrite of the Skalk piece about the Elsinore brassworks (duly credited). There must be many readers who take both mags.
Archaeology Magazine’s Sept/Oct issue (63:5) ranges widely, as always, but failed to grab my attention. I was depressed by stories of mismanagement, looting and political abuse of the archaeological record in Jerusalem and along China’s Yellow River, and I don’t care enough about dogs to want to read ten pages about their archaeology worldwide. There must be many readers who love Archaeology Magazine’s selection criteria, but sadly I am not one of them. Give me stories about Europe and about contract archaeology in the US, please! And no more elite burials in Mesoamerica.