The Cover of My Upcoming Book

i-b617ccfa440e65b095f641fadbc10fe9-Mead-halls cover.png

Ever since I started blogging in 2005 I’ve been talking about my Östergötland project, where I’ve been chasing the elite of the mid-to-late 1st millennium in one of Sweden’s richest agricultural provinces. This project has produced a number of journal papers, talks, radio appearances, archive reports and additions to museum collections. But there hasn’t been a book (though Dear Readers John Massey and Deborah Sabo have helped copy-edit a manuscript).

Soon there will be one.

I’m very pleased to be able to show you its cover, designed by Tina Hedh-Gallant (who is also laying out the contents) around a photograph by James P. Wilby.

The title is Mead-halls of the Eastern Geats, the ISBN 978-91-7402-405-0, and the book will be published by the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters in its venerable Proceedings series. It is a considerable source of pride to me that I get to share a billing with the people who have put out books in that series since 1789.

I finished correcting the first set of PDF proofs today. We’re printing 400 copies, due out for the Göteborg Book Fair on 22-25 September where I’ll be on stage, and six months later the Academy will also publish the whole thing for free on the web as an Open Access book.

My doctoral thesis treated a similar theme, powerful people in the mid-to-late 1st millennium. But since those lived on the island of Gotland, most colleagues working with similar issues on the mainland have not had reason to use that pair of volumes. I believe the new book will have a considerably wider appeal both within and without the archaeological profession.

Author: Martin R

Dr. Martin Rundkvist is a Swedish archaeologist, journal editor, skeptic, atheist, lefty liberal, bookworm, boardgamer, geocacher and father of two.

24 thoughts on “The Cover of My Upcoming Book”

  1. With “Mead-halls” as the title word, can we hope for a mead recipe or two perhaps, in a sidebar if nothing else? Something about the likely food?


  2. Sadly no. And even worse: the book details my search for mead-halls, which ended before I had actually found one of the damn things. But at least I’ve established a pretty solid platform for future research.


  3. Thanks Matte! The building is a reconstructed Viking period army barracks near Slagelse in Zealand. Note the wind-power mill on the horizon! I opted not to have it retouched.

    And congrats on your book! I look forward to hearing you perform that tune.


  4. No Grendel sightings? No bones with signs of holmgÃ¥ng axe wounds? (of course, some areas practised cremation 😦 )

    (OT) Mask of Eris
    Check out the “pagan” entry category. The pre-historical Finns had basically the same taste for drinking and feasting as their neighbours across the Bothnic sea.
    (The later history was determined by which group of missionaries (west or east) got to the various Finn-Ugric people first).


  5. I didn’t see the wind-power station until you pointed it out. Is that the wind-mill grinding the crops for the mead, perhaps?


  6. Congratulations on your pending publication. I will look forward to finding a copy (price?) and reading it.


  7. Thanks! I don’t know about the price of the paper version. But from March 2012 until the Mayan apocalypse you will be able to read the Open Access version for free.


  8. Those barracks (set up by Harold Bluetooth) are a good example of how wrong the idea of disorganised viking hordes is. If I recall correctly, Harold set up a force of professional warriors as the kernel of his invasion force (this does not necessarily disprove that previous attacks on England were conducted by rather loose bands).
    Just as the Spartan army at the battle of Plataiai was a quite different army from the one that tried to stop the Macedonians 150 years later, so the “vikings” were not a static or homogenous group.


  9. Congratulations Martin. It will be interesting to read both regarding the topic and see your style of writing in a book. Political Geography also sounds interesting.


  10. Any opinions on the indications of the boss of Trelleborg casting his net fairly widely, in a bid to make up the numbers?

    the young men in its cemetery were largely recruited from outside Denmark, perhaps from Norway or the Slavic regions. Even persons buried together proved to have different origins, and the three females sampled were all from overseas, including a wealthy woman with a silver casket. Trelleborg, home of Harald Bluetooth’s army, was a fortress of foreigners with vivid implications for the nature of his political mission.
    (Don’t have the wherewithal to penetrate the paywall)


  11. Dustbubble, considering how pragmatic Norse rulers proved elsewhere, it would not be surprising at all if Bluetooth recruited from vendic slavs as well a Norwegians, Swedes or from East of the Baltic. And with the intense contacts, there would be many half-danes spread over the continent, some of them opting to serve with an up-and-coming Danish ruler (especially if they were younger sons).


  12. Thomas, thanks!

    Dustbubble, my professional opinion is that the research you refer to is so fucking cool. Price almost got a chair in Stockholm at one point. Too bad he didn’t!

    Birger, now we know why Half-Dane was such a common name! (-;


  13. (OT) The climate is truly messed up!
    “North Swedish town hottest in Europe”
    I am just waiting for the conspiracy theorists to notice this one. Commie plot to make the boreal zone/sub-arctic more popular than Florida? Notice that we call these heat episodes “Russian Heat” (Ryssvärme).


  14. Looks like another title I’ll add to the ‘wish list’ Martin.
    BTW speaking of mead-halls, have you read Steve Pollington’s ‘The Mead Hall’?

    I see also Neil Price has a re-evaluation of the Viking Piracy in his fourthcoming publication

    Move over Jack Sparrow!

    Also have you read Lotte Hedeager’s new book, if so what are your thoughts?


  15. Pollington’s and Hedeager’s books look interesting. I haven’t read them. I am skeptical of wide-ranging mythical interpretations.

    I heard Price present on his Viking pirates in Kirkwall a few years ago. Good talk!


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