One of the least archaeologically visible events at Fisksätra’s Viking Period cemetery was Saturday’s visit by a fine Jamaican food truck.
It’s been a fun and intense weekend!
On Friday the Fantastika 2018 scifi con opened, conveniently located half an hour’s bike ride from my home, and I moderated a panel on Ursula LeGuin with my old friend Florence Vilén, Saara Henriksson and Markku Soikkeli. My wife came home from China, and two friendly con-goers that I know from my years teaching in Umeå stayed in our guest room.
On Saturday morning I fed my Umeå friends breakfast and then we went to the con where I gave a talk about Medieval castles. Thence back to Fisksätra for the annual International Festival, where I spent the day manning the Labour Party’s tent and canvassing for votes. Then back to the con and sit on a panel about empires in scifi and fantasy with the charming Linda Carey and my old friend Anders Blixt, moderated by my friend Hans Persson, had dinner with my old friend Erik Andersson and gave him an interview for the Fandompodden podcast. And back home to water the garden.
On Sunday morning I fed my Umeå friends, cycled back to the con, attended Hans’s geocaching meetup in front of the venue, bought some used paperbacks (Ryman’s Air, Roberts’s Salt, Reynolds’s Revelation Space) and listened to an interview with Mike Carey, a lovely man whose fine novels about Felix Castor the exorcist (Aard regular Birger Johansson gave me those). Then I cycled back home, went skinny dipping in our nearby lake with my wife, napped for almost two hours, and drove the Labour tent & sundries back to my workplace. After dinner my Latvian Viking reenactor friend Artis Aboltins, who is visiting Stockholm for work, came by for coffee and sandwiches and to pick up a table he’d ordered for his sailing boat.
Oh, and Junior texted me that he’d namedropped me when talking to archaeologists at Slussen’s Open Day on his way to the Scifi Book Store, and my excellent Syrian driving pupil Obaida passed his driving test. ❤
All very good stuff! Dear Reader, what did you do?
Birgittas udde with our 2016 trenches. Plan by Ethan Aines.
Two years ago myself and Ethan Aines headed the first professional excavation at Birgittas udde, a small Medieval stronghold. It’s on a promontory into Lake Boren near the town of Motala, on land belonging to Ulvåsa manor. One of Ulvåsa’s first known inhabitants was a young strong-willed 14th century noblewoman who would one day become Saint Bridget of Sweden.
Our main results were these.
- The stronghold was built c. 1250-75, long before Bridget’s day.
- It was never used much, being kept in shape as a refuge but rarely inhabited.
- It sits on a Mesolithic settlement site coeval with the famous Motala sites nearby.
Get the report from Archive.org!
As has become my habit, I spent two days at LinCon, a big four-day gaming event in Linköping. This is two hours’ drive from my home, and my nearest big gaming con. For some reason Sweden’s capital where I live has nothing on a similar scale. I played eight games, seven of which are favourites of mine that I actually own but didn’t bring. There are several free lending libraries of games at the con.
- Gaia Project (2017). A re-skinned Terra Mystica, i.e. another highly replayable and varied Euro cube-pusher.
- RoboRally (1994). Program a robot using a random set of instruction cards and then see your plans unravel as another player’s robot bumps you off track and laser-zaps your rear.
- Tigris & Euphrates (1997). Tactics and resource management in Bronze Age Mesopotamia.
- No Thanks (2004). Short abstract push-your-luck.
- Steampunk Rally (2015). Build and drive your own brass-encrusted early 1900s scifi vehicle along a bumpy race track. Hadn’t heard of this one before, but I’d be happy to play it again.
- Qwirkle (2006). Abstract: illiterate Scrabble.
- Innovation (2010). Intricate card game about advancing civilization.
- Stone Age (2008). Worker placement game centred on a Neolithic village with surrounding natural resources.
At the con auction I bought Hanabi and Sid Meier’s Civilization – the good 2010 game, not the crappy 2002 one that I bought by mistake at last year’s con. I sold Death Angel, Hand of the King, Codenames Deep Undercover and Castles of Mad King Ludwig.
2018 was my sixth LinCon. Here are my impressions of last year’s con.
LinCon, a gaming convention famous for its free tea, finally has an official tea mug!