First Week of 2021 Excavations at Aska: Three New Gold Foil Figures

At Aska near Vadstena in Östergötland is a massive earth platform on which geophys has revealed an almost 50-metre mead-hall. Six radiocarbon analyses date its lifetime to c. AD 660-950. Last year we opened a few square metres over the mead hall’s northern wall line and one roof-support, just east of the building’s centre, and … Continue reading “First Week of 2021 Excavations at Aska: Three New Gold Foil Figures”

Gold Foil Figures and Backfilling: Week Four at Aska

We found the first gold foil figures, guldgubbar, on Monday of week 3. Eventually we ended up with 23 of them, though a few may be parts of the same foil. There are only seven known sites with more recovered foil figures than Aska. To avoid unwanted attention during fieldwork, I released this information only … Continue reading “Gold Foil Figures and Backfilling: Week Four at Aska”

And Yet Another Gold Foil Figure Die from Zealand

Guldgubbar are tiny pieces of gold foil with (usually) embossed motifs. They most commonly depict single men, then embracing couples, then single women, all in fine clothing. They date from the Vendel Period (540-790) and seem to have been religious artefacts. Usually they are found in the remains of elite residences, concentrating in and around … Continue reading “And Yet Another Gold Foil Figure Die from Zealand”

Another Gold Foil Figure Die from Zealand

Another one of the rare production dies for 6/7/8th century gold foil figures has come to light, again on Zealand! This is an unusual design depicting a lady from the front. She’s wearing a long dress, a cloak and two bead strings. She seems to be cupping her hands around a ring at her abdomen. … Continue reading “Another Gold Foil Figure Die from Zealand”

Kaga Gold Foil Figure Model

This entry was first published over the cell-phone network on my old site, without pix, on Monday 9 April. This morning I woke up in an unexpected and not very welcome winter wonderland. Driving the 2.5 hours to Linköping on summer tyres was scary. But the snow was gone by lunch. An icy wind persisted. … Continue reading “Kaga Gold Foil Figure Model”

New Foil Figure Die From Zealand

Working with the Gothenburg Historical Society’s metal detector group at Sättuna near Linköping in the spring of 2007, I was fortunate enough to be on site when Niklas Krantz found the thirteenth gold foil figure die known to scholarship. These dies were used in the 6th, 7th and 8th centuries to make tiny images of … Continue reading “New Foil Figure Die From Zealand”

September Pieces Of My Mind #3

Reading about Nordenskiöld’s July 1883 expedition onto the inland ice of Greenland. Sleds full of food and equipment pulled across extremely uneven ice by men, sweating from their exertions despite the cold. After 17 days they turn around because of hopeless ice. But Nordenskiöld asks two men to don skis and backpacks to go a … Continue reading “September Pieces Of My Mind #3”

Second Week of 2021 Excavations at Aska

Extended trenches from 84 to 112 sqm. The County Museum’s Lotta Feldt and Linnea Hernqvist surveyed our visible features with an RTK GPS. Found more gold foil figures for a maximum total of 33 from Aska. This number may prove lower when fragments are fitted. But we are certainly past Helgö’s number now. Identified many … Continue reading “Second Week of 2021 Excavations at Aska”

February Pieces Of My Mind #3

Movie: Tenet (2020). Ostentatiously confusing high-speed techno thriller where people and things can flip their time arrow. Watch out for future you running around backwards with a gun that sucks up bullets! Grade: OK. I bought some RPG scenarios for $16. I expect them to entertain at least five people for at least 32 hours, … Continue reading “February Pieces Of My Mind #3”

February Pieces Of My Mind #2

In the 70s, adopting an orphaned child was cheaper from a poor country than from a rich one. For this reason, skin colour in 70s adoptees correlates with family income and social class in Scandinavia. (Possibly later and elsewhere too.) For the first time, one of my same-age buddies has become a grandparent. If my … Continue reading “February Pieces Of My Mind #2”