Send Me Archaeopix Please

Grrlscientist is showing this gorgeous picture of a snake that one of her readers sent her. She’s actually running sort of a photo publishing service, giving her readers’ photography a bit of exposure. I’ve got to try this myself.

Dear Reader, if you have taken a really good archaeology photograph that you’d like to share with your fellow readers, feel free to email it to me, along with information about the subject and how you’d like it to be credited.

Rich First Century Burials Found on Lolland

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A rescue excavation at Torreby on the smallish Danish island of Lolland has turned up two wealthy inhumations of the 1st century AD. One is an adult female with silver and gold objects including a finger ring, two S-shaped bead-string hooks, a pear-shaped filigree pendant and a “beaker”, as well as a large set of beads. The other is a boy of about 10 with spurs on his feet, a sign of hereditary status. Early Roman Period Lolland is known for the Hoby burial with two exquisite Mediterranean silver drinking cups sporting Homeric motifs in high relief.

I don’t know much yet, but here’s some information in Danish.

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Danish Dolmens

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The first type of megalithic tomb occuring in Scandinavia is the dolmen, a table-like structure built of huge stone slabs and covered with a barrow. They were built in the Early Neolithic, c. 3600-3300 cal BC, and then re-used for centuries afterwards as other megalithic tomb types came and went. Just the other day, the indefatigable Klaus Ebbesen published a hefty catalogue of 404 particularly well-preserved Danish dolmens and the finds made in them, lavishly illustrated with 19th century watercolours. Out of almost 400 pages, only about 50 are text, the rest being glorious data.

“Dolmen” is a funny word. It’s Celtic in origin, meaning “stone table” in Breton. (You only see the table once the barrow’s been removed.) In Swedish, it means “the stuffed cabbage leaf” (Gr. dolma), or “the penis”. Our word for the tomb type is dös.


Klaus Ebbesen. 2007. Danske dysser. Danish dolmens. Attika. 384 pp. ISBN 87-7528-652-1.

Chasing Ancient Kings

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Dear Reader, let me tell you about my on-going research.

Written history begins late in Scandinavia. The 1st Millennium AD is an almost entirely prehistoric period here. Still, Scandinavian archaeologists have long had a pretty good general idea about late 1st Millennium political geography. The most affluent and powerful regions show up e.g. in hoard finds and expensively furnished graves. The distribution of Romanesque stone churches from the 11th and 12th centuries appears to correspond closely with the political heartlands of the preceding centuries, and with where there’s good arable land for Medieval agriculture. We know where the petty kings held sway: Jutland, Funen, Zealand, Scania, Bornholm, Västergötland, Östergötland, Öland, Gotland, the Lake Mälaren provinces, the coastal provinces of southern Norway.

Continue reading “Chasing Ancient Kings”