Scandinavian archaeology, history, skepticism, books and music
May Pieces Of My Mind #2
Spreading traditional Chinese wisdom in Skövde: teaching road diner staff that you can make tea in large Duralex drinking glasses.
Chapter 18 of Fleming’s From Russia With Love has a ridiculous pornographic fight scene between nude Roma women who are rivals for a young man.
German interwar movie heartthrob Lotte Lenya starred in the first production of the Dreigroschenoper and plays a top Soviet intelligence officer in From Russia With Love.
Never a frown with Gordon Brown
Reading about Swedish white supremacists I get these mixed feelings. Of course I oppose their politics. But I also marvel at how naïve and uneducated their ideas about national identity are. It’s as if they have heard someone describe what a few Swedish intellectuals believed 200 years ago, without actually reading anything that these people wrote. It’s the weakest kids in class, who have very little to show for themselves, trying to be proud about something nobody else actually admires. As Tegnér put it, all our learning is in the final analysis a smallholding thrown together on someone else’s land, and the only innate national characteristic of the Swedes is barbarism.
All around Sweden when I meet local amateur archaeologists they tell me about interesting sites in their area and complain that “If this was around Stockholm, sites like ours would be excavated immediately!” I wish this were true. Because then there would at least be one part of Sweden where interesting sites get excavated swiftly as a matter of course. In fact, all over Sweden the only sites that get excavated are the ones that end up in the projected line of a highway or railway. And those projects are designed to avoid interesting archaeological sites as far as possible.
Found another castle bailiff in my ancestry. I already knew about a 16th century one at Stegeborg in Östergötland. Now also Christen Mårtensson Hoffgard, an 18th century bailiff at Maltesholm in Scania. Funnily, the place has been owned for ages by members of the Palmstierna family. So when my aunt married her first husband, it was a descendant of the bailiff marrying a descendant of the lord.
Playing Call of Cthulhu for the first time in a quarter century (over Zoom). Horrific scenes, confused mental patients and a tense search through an unfamiliar building!
Hey archaeologists, when you suggest an interpretation of the material, never ever preface it with “It cannot be excluded that”. Because that is the weakest possible kind of statement you can make. Archaeology can hardly ever exclude anything. It’s completely redundant to say that. Either you stand by your interpretation because you find it reasonable, or you don’t mention it at all.