This weekand we visited Blankaholm on the Swedish east coast for the Blankaholm seminars arranged by archaeologist and local resident Michael Dahlin, who is also the man behind the Swedish archaeology blog Misterhultaren.
All seminars are connected via the prehistory or history of the Swedish east coast, the themes are varied as well as the periods. All in all it was a very nice session with many nice meetings, new and old, and lots of information.
The previous three seminars are available in the books Forntiden längs ostkusten 1 (2010) and 2 (2011) (Ancient times along the east shores) both edited by Kenneth Alexandersson et al.
I will not go into detail on the seminars but only give a short recap of them to present what can be expected of the coming Forntiden längs ostkusten 3 and the 2012 seminars.
The meeting started with a quick presentation of the seminars and Blankaholm by Michael Dahlin
followed by a seminar by the same on the late Neolithic and Bronze Age settlements on the east coast of Småland. On surveys from the 30’s until today and future projects. The seminars continued by another Swedish archaeology blogger Pierre Petersson the man behind the blog AHIMKAR. In this seminar we move forward in time to the middle ages and thoughts on living conditions for the nobility and ordinary man. Pierre put forward an interesting example site Kläckeberga church, its surroundings and the findings that has been done via archaeological excavations etc. From the
middle ages we take a big leap back in time. Kenneth Alexandersson from Kalmar County museum presented the results from a settlement excavation just south of Kalmar airport. The expected finds was an Iron Age settlement but they found a Stone Age site dated to ca 9000 BP instead. After this we move north to the south of Norrland as Michel Guinard and Therese Ekholm presents the project Nordic Blade
Technology network which concerns the earliest habitants after the latest Ice Age. Two sites, one that has been situated in the inland and one by the coast are currently excavated by students and scientists. Larforsen is located in Hälsingland, dated to ca 7200 BC, and Torsåker in Gästrikland are several small settlements, dated to ca 8500-5000 BC. There are several specialists involved such as osteololgist Therese Ekholm who will study
bones from the hearths looking at spices as well as dating. We return to Småland and hits the neolithics once again as Ludvig Papmehl-Dufay discuss the Funnelbeaker culture. The funnelbeakers are considered as the first real farmers in Sweden. Ludvig is working with materials from the island Öland in his post-doc research. Among them results from a settlement excavation at Resmo. The day ends with another fellow archaeology blogger Martin Rundkvist from Aardvarchaeology who spoke on projects done and projects to come concerning Bronze Age sacrifical deposits, in both wetlands and on human settlements, etc. His idea is to look for the sites found in the late 1800’s and first half of the 1900s and excavate these again. By categorize them due to location and natural features etc. create models to predict where to find new places. Almost all sites we know of today were found by framers while draining wetlands to create new farmland or working behind the plow seeing what it plowed up. This ended the sessions of day 1.
The day began with Kenth Ihrestam and Sven Gunnar Broström presenting their survey finds of Bronze Age rock art in Casmirsborg (MEM) some miles north of Västervik. During their latest surveys the number of known figures has increased from 13 to 175. They have found several large finds of ship carvings, people, foot soles, animals etc. From art to Claus Ruskas land transactions in the
Middle Ages. John Huttu described the way from middle class to the gentry, from the city to land ownership and what can be found in medieval diplomas. Tar production was probably a big deal during the middle ages – Veronica Palm from Kalmar County Museum and Västerviks
museum goes forward in time and tells a tale of a tar production site from the 18th century. The site was just outside of Målilla and excavated in 2010. Very nice findings and interesting results. Back to prehistoric times with Joakim Wehlin (sorry all pics were out of focus) who research ship settings on Gotland. There is a much larger material than I knew; in total 380 are known at Gotland whereof ca 100 are excavated. Joakim told us about an interesting excavation from this summer where they found a double grave in a small round stone setting just next to a ship setting. An interesting project to follow! Last speaker of the day was Rune Johansson who works as a nurse and are studying archaeology. He presented his thoughts on archaeology as a rehabilitation tool. As all people have a history most have a connection with the past and therefore it is a way to get people interested. There are also several things in archaeology that can be therapeutic, walks in woods, feeling artefacts, associations between artefacts and modern things, being part in projects such as digs etc.
I would like to thank all involved who made this a great weekend. I will be back :)