Skeleton Printouts On The Ground

Here’s a novel way to present a cemetery excavation to visitors.

At Broby in Täby, one of the world’s most runestone-rich spots, is the 11th century inhumation cemetery of the famous Iarlabanki family. My colleague Lars Andersson of Stockholm County Museum’s archaeology service has been excavating it bit by bit for years. Many graves are exquisitely preserved. After finishing each piece of the site he covers it again with the original ploughsoil, leaving no visible trace of his interventions. How do you present such a site to the many visitors? (Täby is an affluent suburb of Stockholm.)

Lars has had photographs of the graves in their finest prepared condition printed onto tarpaulin fabric by a company that otherwise makes the rain-proof advertisements hanging from highway overpasses. Every time he opens a new piece of the cemetery he puts the printed tarps of all the graves of earlier seasons in their spots on the ground using an EDM total station. And so when outreach officer Jennifer Shutzberg shows the site she can walk from grave to grave and demonstrate to people just what they were like and where they were even though the bones and small finds have been in museum stores for years. Well done Lars!

Author: Martin R

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

5 thoughts on “Skeleton Printouts On The Ground”

  1. Great Idea. The only problem being of course that printing these probably costs as much as the budget of most smaller excavations. So you definitely have to find a sponsor!


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