Recent Archaeomags

i-1adad3a4c44d052143e9178665c4609e-263cover-228x300.jpgBritish Archaeology #122 (Jan/Feb) has a good feature on the origins of Roman London, presenting and collating evidence from excavations in the 90s and 00s for a military camp immediately post-dating the AD 43 invasion of Britain. The editors have slapped a silly headline on the thing though, playing up a short passage about human heads deposited in the Walbrook stream as if this were the main issue dealt with in the piece.

The unsigned last page discusses the important work of Raimund Karl (in The Historic Environment: Policy & Practice Oct 2011; read it on-line), who has compared the results of the English/Welsh and the Austrian legal attitude to metal detecting and other situations where members of the public make archaeological finds. In the former case, the Portable Antiquities Scheme encourages the public to report their finds voluntarily. It was instituted in 1997, and reporting immediately exploded in volume. Year after year the PAS is seeing an exponential increase in the number of reported finds, and it’s not just metalwork either: fieldwalking flint enthusiasts are also participating very actively. Meanwhile, Austria has put a tight lid on things: if you find anything you’re legally obliged to report it within two days, only archaeology graduates can dig, and only archaeology graduates with a licence can metal-detect. The result? Reporting of the finds that are always made went down and stayed down.

“The conclusion must be that when it comes to the practice of public archaeology, openness, co-operation and education trump suppression. The law-breaking, abusive minority of English and Welsh detectorists, however should be exposed and stopped. They poison the atmosphere for everyone.”

I’d like to add that law-abiding amateur archaeologists (with or without metal detectors) are not a problem that the discipline (grudgingly) must deal with. They represent an enormous resource in free labour, political clout and local knowledge that should be celebrated and made good use of. Archaeology and heritage management has incomparably better chances of reaching their goals with the public as participants than as spectators.

Archaeology Magazine #65:1 (Jan/Feb) has a great piece on underwater archaeology at the site of the naval Battle of the Egadi Islands off western Sicily in 241 BC. The Roman’s beat the Carthaginians here, but there are no shipwrecks to be seen on the sea floor: shipworm has eaten the wood and recent trawling has bulldozed what was left. Still, there is one find category that survives: large cast bronze objects, such as ship rams and helmets. And Florida-based non-profit RPM Nautical Foundation is locating and lifting these things with the aid of remotely operated subs. They have six of the huge rams now! And every one of them pinpoints a spot where either a ship went down or a ram was dropped after a collision. Few naval battles of the 2nd millennium AD are mapped to such precision.

On thing that takes me aback however is the ads. Advertisers are usually pretty savvy about who the target audience of a given media outlet is. You won’t see ads for home mortgages or cars on the Disney Channel. And the ads in Archaeology Magazine show clearly who reads the mag: people who might want to buy collectible coins, cruises in the Mediterranean, “The world’s simplest computer … designed for seniors”, running shoes that “defy aging”, simple-to-use stripped down cell phones, hearing aids, cultured pearl necklaces and staircase lifts. I wonder if the publishers expect the next generation of senior citizens to start subscribing when they retire, or if the mag will fold when the current readership kicks the bucket. It reminds me of when Skeptical Inquirer used to run an ad in every issue inviting readers to provide for CSICOP in their wills (are they still doing that?). Doesn’t give a very forward-looking impression.

In issue #263 (Feb) of Current Archaeology, one of my favourite pop-arch mags, is a piece on a great new find from the famous Flag Fen in Cambridgeshire: a silted-up river channel with six well-preserved Bronze Age canoes, a fish-weir and some sacrificed weaponry. The canoes were left in that river from about 1300 to 700 BC, which opens for several possibilities: it’s continuity either of everyday boat management, or of boat sacrifice, or (less likely) of where the natural waterflow liked to deposit stuff that floated downstream.

Likewise fascinating is a feature on Irish souterrains, secret underground stone-walled passages dug as refuges at ordinary farmsteads in the Viking Period. An early type allowed people to escape into the open air, but later they decided that it was better to simply crawl into the passage with your kids and a spear and stay there until the Vikings left, as if the passage was just a corridor-shaped cellar. The passages zig-zag and so it was impossible for people on the surface to find the end chambers where people were hiding at short notice. Similar passages occur in Pre-Roman Denmark a thousand years previously.

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Rediscovering Ancient Landscape Rules

My current project on the siting of Bronze Age sacrificial sites aims to rediscover some of the the period’s landscape rules. In other words, I’m building an heuristic model which might allow archaeologists to search actively for such sites instead of waiting for farmers and drainage workers to find them by chance. I was encouraged to read the following in David Yates’ and Richard Bradley’s paper “The siting of metalwork hoards in the Bronze Age of south-east England” (Antiquaries Journal 90, 2010).

“For some time it has been obvious that metal detectorists have been extraordinarily fortunate in locating previously unrecorded hoards. The same people have found them on a number of different occasions. Discussions with the finders have made it clear that this did not happen by chance. Long before prehistorians had realized that the siting of hoards might follow topographic ‘rules’, metal detectorists had reached the same conclusion. Their ability to make new finds is the clearest indication of the usefulness of taking a fresh approach to this material.” (p. 30)

It’s a good paper. Drop me a line.

Boat Carriers

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Yesterday my dad had his boat lifted out of the water like he does every autumn to keep the ice from damaging it. I hadn’t seen the lift they used before: it’s a remote-controlled motorised thing, fast and nifty. Note the yellow control box.

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This reminded me of a fairly common motif in Bronze Age rock art, the boat carrier. Boats are extremely common, and sometimes you’ll find a guy lifting the boat, crew and all. I think this is probably a depiction of the Sea God. But it may also be a human lifting a wooden ship model. We have a few bronze figurines that look like they may have adorned such models. Or it may be both: people perhaps played the role of the Sea God in cult drama, brandishing ship models.

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One of the most elaborate boat carrier images is the Brandskog ship near Enköping.

Halland Archaeology Journal

Back in February I wrote about a new issue of Halland County Museum’s periodical Utskrift. And now I have already received two new issues! I’ll talk a little about #12 here as I haven’t read #11 yet.

The volume is an homage to Lennart Lundborg on his 80th birthday. Lundborg is a beloved figure in Halland archaeology and a former employee of the museum. Fittingly, five of the twelve papers deal with the Bronze Age in Halland province, the man’s main field of study, and three with other aspects of his work, including the many comics he’s drawn!

The three longest papers (all 14 pp.) are a report on an undisturbed but sparsely furnished Early Bronze Age barrow inhumation by the late Tore Artelius, an essay on Bronze Age art by Joakim Goldhahn and a report on a soapstone casting mould for an EBA dagger blade by Ola Kadefors.

Artelius’s report is refreshingly down-to-earth and demonstrates fine fieldwork, but it contains a piece of slightly spurious reasoning. He says that a) the barrow was unusually well preserved, with an intact brim, and b) it was unusually large, 25 m in diameter. Then he compares it to other large coeval barrows in the province. But the barrow only had a large diameter because the flat brim was still there to be measured, which as he points out is very unusual in Halland. Looking only at the tall central part of the barrow, it was in fact a barrow of ordinary size.

Goldhahn points out that geological shapes and patterns in stones and outcrops that we can see today could also be seen during the Bronze Age, and that there are cases where Bronze Age rock art clearly incorporates or references such pranks of nature on purpose. But in my opinion he then overstresses the point in a pretty pretentious manner. Goldhahn goes on to say that John Coles once failed to document such a relationship between nature and art “probably because he embraces a dichotomy between nature and culture with its origins in Descartes’ 17th century philosophy which then was strengthened and solidified during the 19th century Romantic era” (p. 46). In fact, Goldhahn clearly embraces the same dichotomy since he too distinguishes between shapes caused by geological happenstance and shapes caused intentionally by Bronze Age rock carvers. The difference between him and Coles is just how narrowly they define their remit when documenting rock art. Goldhahn, who is a sensible man, would never document something vaguely boat-like in the geology of a cliff unless there were clear human-made carvings or structures nearby.

Kadefors does a good job of presenting the dagger casting mould and has even located a dagger in the museum stores that fits well enough in it. Kudos for that. But he makes this really weird argument about whether the object should be called a sword or a dagger (p. 66). The blade’s length is only 23 cm. But Kadefors decides to call it a sword because he has somehow decided that a dagger, Sw. dolk, is not a weapon, and the blades cast in the mould were only useful as weaponry. This is just wrong: daggers are weapons by definition. And it makes the rest of the paper difficult to evaluate since we aren’t told whether he always means “swords + daggers” when he says “swords”, or just sometimes when he feels like it. Kadefors’s grasp of the language is further shown to be slipping when on the same page he uses deponi (“landfill”) for depÃ¥ (“hoard”) and bronset (“the bronze medal in sports”) for bronsen (“the bronze alloy”). Linn Mattson also hits us with bronset on p. 90, and I wince and groan.

As with last winter’s issue, thus, Utskrift still does not have a competent copy editor who can save contributors from looking silly. I certainly wouldn’t accept the colloquial verb modifier -andes for -ande like Utskrift does, but that may be a dialect thing. This criticism is not an attempt on my part to score another copy editing gig, by the way. As I wrote back in February, “This task should be entrusted to someone’s retired school-teacher aunt next time.”

Alf Ericsson always writes something interesting though. In his six-page contribution he introduces us to “mill hogs”. Apparently, grain mills and hog pens have always gone together because pigs get fat quickly on the mill’s by-products. This is visible in Medieval taxation records, where millers are often required to pay their taxes in grain and fattened hogs. The next time you excavate a Medieval mill site, Dear Reader, make sure to look for the hog pen.

Despite my critical remarks, all in all I found Utskrift #12 to be another fine read about a Swedish province with fine archaeology.

Sun Horses

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Scandinavian Bronze Age art features a number of motifs having to do with the movement of the sun through the heavens during the day and the underworld during the night. Here on Aard, we’ve previously seen a recently found sun-chariot rock carving, which most likely depicts a wheeled bronze model. But more commonly, there’s a horse pulling the sun’s disc across the sky without the benefit of wheels. This motif is known from several rock art sites on Sweden’s west coast.

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Awesome rock art surveying team Roger Wikell, Sven Gunnar Broström and Kenneth Ihrestam have recently found the first two sun horses on the east coast. One is at Gärstad near Linköping in Östergötland (above), the other at Uggelbo in SmÃ¥land where Joakim Goldhahn’s project is active (below). The three have a paper about the Gärstad find in Fornvännen’s upcoming autumn issue!

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I’m not one of those knowledge relativists who claim that the archaeological source material is constructed by the preconceptions of archaeologists. But I think these horses are clear examples of how important it is to have Roger & Co’s deep and wide knowledge of the iconography in order to find and identify the rarer motifs. A successful rock art surveyor does not just go around looking for scratches in the rock and filling them in mechanically with chalk. S/he needs to know what to look for. Several scholars had documented the Gärstad horse before without apparently reflecting on what the strange “antler” groove sticking out of the horse’s head might be, nor noting that the groove extends all the way to the large cupmark representing the sun. It pays to return to the archaeological record with new knowledge.

Three Days Digging in a Cave

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Few Swedish caves contain any known archaeology, and those that do mainly feature Mesolithic and Neolithic habitation layers. The Pukberget (“Devil’s Mountain”) cave near Enköping is a rare exception. In the mid-20th century a fox hunter crawled into the cave and felt his way around. His questing hands encountered something on a ledge which he put in his coat pocket. When he came out into the open air, he saw that he’d found a bronze spearhead and a horse tooth. Both are now in the Museum of National Antiquities. The spearhead dates from the Late Bronze Age, about 700 BC.

I’ve spent the past three days at Pukberget in a joint bid with the Stockholm County Museum to find further archaeology there. With my hard-working colleagues Magdalena Forsgren and Margareta Boije, I dragged a lot of equipment up the hill and into the cave, which is a beautiful maze of cracks between huge gneiss blocks formed when the hill shattered in some ancient post-glacial earthquake. We opened two square-meter pits in the floor layer, dug them down to rock (c. 35 cm) and screened the layers in lamplight. Sadly we found no sign of any human presence beneath the late-20th century hiker’s fireplaces with their tea-candle cups, broken bottles and pieces of smashed flashlights. Instead there was just a layer of clean beige sediment deposited before the ceiling rock started to flake. A half-metre square in the toss zone below the fine overhang outside one of the cave entrances proved similarly unenlightening. It was fun and exotic to dig in a cave, though.

As my fieldwork habits go, 2011 has been a good year from a variety perspective, with work at six different sites within one project. My luck has not been great though: hardly any relevant finds at all. This is not unexpected since I’m playing a much higher-risk game this time around. You can’t miss the 1st millennium graves I wrote my thesis about. The coeval settlements that I’ve worked with in recent years are also pretty easy to pick up. Not so with the sacrificial sites of the Bronze Age.

Sacrificial Finds in the Late Bronze Age Local Landscape

Since the autumn of 2009, I’ve spent most of my research efforts studying sacrificial finds in the Bronze Age local landscape. I was thus pleasantly surprised (though a little disappointed because I missed the whole thing) when I learned that there had been a symposium on the theme “Sacrificial finds in the Late Bronze Age local landscape” at the museum in Viborg, Jutland, in March last year. Recently, only about a year after the event, a fine proceedings volume (104 pp., A4 format, 2-column text, colour printing) was published, and I was kindly sent a copy for review here on Aard.

The volume contains seven papers ranging in length from 5 to 26 pages. All deal with the Danish Late Bronze Age. Three don’t actually say much about sacrificial finds, but concentrate on other aspects of the landscape (mainly traffic routes, graves and assembly sites with many cooking pits) and mention the sacrificial deposits only briefly in relation to these. The shortest paper is a poorly referenced contribution by a revered senior scholar who mainly opines on why the metalwork deposits were made and says little about their landscape situation. This leaves three solid papers for me to comment on that fit the volume’s title and are relevant to my own work.

The longest paper, by Martin Mikkelsen, takes the FÃ¥rdal find as its point of departure. This large mixed bronze hoard from central northern Jutland dates from about 800 BC and is mainly known for a handful of rare and intriguing figurines that may once have adorned a ceremonial ship model, as depicted in the period’s rock art. Railroad workers found it in 1926, and Hans Kjær commented in Aarbøger 1927 that the site appeared to have a peripheral location: “The manner of deposition seems to emphasise the general trait that gifts to a deity are placed at spots where no-one goes.”

Mikkelsen recounts the results of excavations and collections since Kjær’s time and shows that he was quite wrong. The deposit was actually buried on one of the aforementioned assembly sites with many cooking pits, and within a few kilometres are several others of the same kind as well as coeval burial sites, settlements and sacrificial deposits. This brings the location of the Lilla Härnevi hoard to mind, that was buried about 500 BC on a probably recently abandoned very large settlement site in Uppland.

Lifting his gaze, Mikkelsen proceeds to look at five other sacrificial finds in their landscape situations. This is where it gets really interesting to me, as I’m interested in the generalities here, in “landscape rules”. And sadly, Mikkelsen concludes,

“The picture that emerges from this attempt is ‘motley’. … By extension from these results, we must conclude that those sacrificial finds that have been found ‘near’ assembly sites [with many cooking pits] display such variation that we cannot operate with any simple relationship between sacrificial finds and assembly sites.” (pp. 57-58)

In other words, the situation at FÃ¥rdal cannot be generalised, and though Mikkelsen’s study collects lots of interesting information about six individual sacrificial sites in their landscapes, it does not arrive at results applicable to the entire class of sites. Nevertheless, it’s an honest attempt and a good paper.

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In 2008, Lise Frost defended a PhD thesis on the landscape situation of Late Bronze Age metalwork deposits in the Himmerland (Cimmeria!) region of northern Jutland. Her contribution to the book is an 11-page summary of that unpublished work, with particular reference to four areas with evidence for repeated depositions. She sees a recurring (though far from universal) preference for bogs next to prominent hills, and for the vicinity of fords and probable road corridors, concluding in her summary,

“… depositions must be seen as an aspect of the spatial structure of a settlement complex. Centrality in this way can be connected to concentrations of hoard finds in areas significant for rituals. Areas, that can also lie close to important lines of transport and communication.” (p. 71)

This contact with settlement is something I see as well in the Lake Mälaren provinces of Sweden.

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Martin Mikkelsen returns with five pages about a fine bronze sword of c. 1000 BC found in 1930 near Rødding, Rødding hundred, in central northern Jutland. The find spot has long been misidentified in the literature as a parish with the same name in another nearby hundred. Now Mikkelsen has re-identified the spot with great accuracy and gives it the same thorough treatment as he did the Fårdal find. There is settlement nearby, but possibly centuries later, and the spot is a nondescript and rather steep slope below the spot of a destroyed barrow. Mikkelsen argues, quite well IMHO, that this find is likely to be a non-ritual deposition intended for retrieval. But we can never know.

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It really isn’t good enough for archaeology to continue sitting around waiting for the public to locate Bronze Age sacrificial sites, then look at each one in isolation as an interesting anecdote. We need to take a general look at the landscape situations involved, like Martin Mikkelsen and Lise Frost do, so that when someone makes a new find we can say “This is an expected spot” or “This is unusual”. And more importantly, we need to build models so that when given a piece of landscape to study, we can point to a spot on the map and say, “This is the most likely spot for a Bronze Age sacrifice”. The symposium publication discussed here contains much food for thought to anyone interested in this work.

Annual thematic symposia on Late Bronze Age landscape archaeology are planned to continue at Viborg and Holstebro museums until 2016. The next one, on burial, will take place in Viborg on 8 March 2012.


Boddum, S. et al. (eds). 2011. Depotfund i yngre bronzealderens lokale kulturlandskab. Yngre bronzealders kulturlandskab vol. 1. Viborg Stiftsmuseum & Holstebro Museum. ISBN 978-87-87272-94-0. [Order the book from Martin Mikkelsen.]

Boggy Test Pit

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In the Lake Mälaren area of Sweden, you rarely find any large pieces of Bronze Age metalwork in graves or at settlement sites. When the beautiful larger objects occur – axe heads, spear heads, swords, neck rings, belt ornaments – they almost exclusively come from odd find contexts that I for one feel comfortable with terming sacrificial deposits. My current main project aims to find out the rules that decided where people made sacrificial deposits. This entails looking at the finds we already know of and trying to trace the find spots, which is difficult as most finds were made about 1900 by members of the public. This strange time framing has to do with the fact that most of the sacrifices were made in wetlands, and the wetlands of the Lake Mälaren area were mainly messed with by the public during the decades to either side of 1900.

I want to be able to predict where these sites are and dig them in their untouched state, thus helping to reinvigorate a field of study that has languished for lack of new data for half a century.

This far into my studies, I’m not very optimistic about finding any useful regularities regarding the dry land sacrifices. They are a minority of the finds, and dry land occupies a great majority of the area involved. I’m afraid that any rules I may be able to propose will be too vague to tell me where to dig. But with wetlands, it may be another thing. Far more finds and a far smaller percentage of the area.

In the past weeks I have finished primary data collection on the known finds and run some simple numbers. Looking at finds that are at least potentially from wetlands by parish, Skogs-Tibble near Uppsala leads the field. And a closer look showed me that the numbers represent a belt of finds scattered through three parishes, from Österunda through Skogs-Tibble to Vänge, with some peripheral occurrences in parishes to the sides. So at this point in the evolution of my model, it’s basically like this:

Look in the Skogs-Tibble scatter. In wetlands. About 1.5 km from burnt mounds and rock-art sites.

And that’s what I did Friday. Near the site scatter’s centre of mass is an oblong lake basin in Skogs-Tibble that has steadily been silting up since getting cut off from the Baltic some time in the Neolithic (current surface 37 m a.s.l.). Only at the centre is there still a small area of open water, while the rest is all bog. In 1891, someone found a bronze flanged-axe head of c. 1400 BC while digging at an unspecified point in the eastern half of the basin. Most likely the digging had something to do with drainage, that is, reclaiming strips of dry land along the basin’s edges to improve forestry. I fought through the undergrowth at the basin’s edge, had a look around, and then settled for a spot to sink a test pit.

You’ll have to understand that I’m pretty new to wetland archaeology, which has never been a big pastime among my colleagues in the region. We don’t really have a tradition. Opening that test pit was a first step for me in learning about how these places really look under the spongy ground surface. And I made a stupid mistake that I could have saved myself if I had remembered what I learned while digging at Djurhamn and Finnestorp in recent years. Maybe you’ll laugh at me, but anyway:

A lake basin is usually deepest at the centre. And my pit was almost as near the centre of this basin as I could get without diving into the lake. I had to remove 1.5 metres of finely layered Phragmites australis reed-root peat before I reached open-water sediment. When I was finished, that pit was deeper than my wife is tall, and it was surrounded by an embankment of turves. And I was grimy from head to toe.

So, what did I learn? Well, in the reed peat were a few well-preserved (though very soft) sticks and other pieces of wood that showed no sign of human modification. They suggest drier woodland episodes. I only went beneath the peat on a 0.5 sqm surface, stooping in the shaft. There was no identifiable organic lake sediment, just a thin layer of coarse sand and sharp-edged gravel, then clean grey glacial clay that was laid down long before the Bronze Age. No artefacts. The spot has been a reed belt for thousands of years, probably since before the basin became landlocked.

Next time I’ll spend comparable labour digging several shallower pits instead, closer to the respective basin’s edge where the sediment pillar above the Bronze Age level is lower. Live & learn.

Classification Presupposes Type Definitions

Andreas Oldeberg (1892-1980) is rumoured to have had some pretty ugly political leanings. But just because you like cheese, you needn’t socialise with cows. If you’re into Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age metalwork from Sweden, there is absolutely no getting around Oldeberg’s huge illustrated catalogue from 1974.

I’m currently grabbing data out of the catalogue for my sacrificial sites project. And I’ve come across a funny detail that shows that old Oldeberg was not up to speed with his day’s archaeological methodology.

Whenever Oldeberg describes a spearhead, he classifies it according to a fairly new piece of work at the time, Gernot Jacob-Friesen 1967. This scholar named his types for find spots, such as Valsømagle, Bagterp etc. But quite often, Oldeberg isn’t sure what type a certain spearhead belongs to. He’ll say wahrscheinlich Typ Bagterp, “probably Bagterp type”, for instance. This is fully understandable if you only have part of a spearhead: the distinctive characteristics of various possible types may not be extant on the bit you’ve got. But Oldeberg does this all the time with complete objects. And that makes no sense whatsoever after 1962.

In his 1962 dissertation, Jungneolithische Studien, Mats P. Malmer established that an object type’s identity rests entirely upon a verbal definition. Material, dimensions, proportions, decorative details: a scholar must tell her readers clearly what the rules are for inclusion and exclusion in a type, or it isn’t a type. Do feel free to illustrate the definition with pictures of objects that belong to the type in question, but don’t ever think that it’s enough to say (as Jacob-Friesen did) that “Type Valsømagle is spearheads like figs. 1-3”. Because that doesn’t tell the reader what characteristics specifically make those spearheads members of type Valsømagle. And it doesn’t tell the reader what sort of variation is permissible within the confines of the type you’re proposing.

So the reason that Andreas Oldeberg often couldn’t tell what type a well-preserved spearhead belonged to was that Jacob-Friesen’s classification scheme is completely flawed and contains no stringent type definitions. Oldeberg could see that a given spearhead looked kind of like the pictures of Jacob-Friesen’s “type” Bagterp, but he had no way of telling whether Jacob-Friesen would have accepted it as a member of the type. Because Jacob-Friesen’s work does not contain instructions for how to make that call.

Freshly Found Bronze Age Rock Art

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I’ve reported before [12] on the on-going discoveries in the Tjust area of NE SmÃ¥land province. Here Joakim Goldhahn is employing the country’s best rock-art surveyors to work through an area that is turning out to be extraordinarily rich and diverse in Bronze Age petroglyphs. These years will be remembered as a time when the Swedish rock art map was redrawn in a dramatic fashion.

Here are two fresh finds from last week, pics courtesy of my friend Roger Wikell. Some of this rock art is pecked on quartzite, a material so hard that Roger compares it to bullet-proof glass. The cool thing about such images (the motif, apart from cupmarks as below, is usually boats) is that though they hardly scratch the surface of the rock, the pecking has caused microscopic fractures that change the quartzite’s colour. And so you can see these images clearly without filling them in even after 3000 years of weathering.

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Also cool and unusual is the placement of this particular image panel: it’s on the vertical face of an erratic block instead of on the standard softly sloping ice-ground bedrock surface. Roger points out that the shards that can be seen to have flaked from the block may still be under the turf at its foot, and possibly bearing images. Myself, I wonder if the flaking is due to a (ritual) bonfire lit there.

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Doctors h.c. Sven Gunnar Broström and Kenneth Ihrestam paint one of their most recently found cupmark panels with non-intrusive chalk powder + water prior to documentation with permanent marker on plastic film.

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While on the subject of Roger Wikell’s activities, let me mention that he kindly classified the lithics from my Nyköping site the other day. It turned out that out of about 25 collected fragments, most were clearly naturally fractured and only three were clearly modified by people. Damn quartz.