Category Archives: Cultural heritage

Need Swedish museums more volunteers?

The annual political event Almedalen, on the island Gotland in Sweden, is just around the corner.

During the first week of July politicians and lobby-organisations meet on common ground to discuss current events – and this year I’m in :)

Cultural Heritage is of course part if that and so are questions regarding museums, archives and libraries. A few months ago I was elected to the board of DIK – the creative union; that includes communicators, archaeologists, museum employees, antiquarians, librarians, speech pathologist etc.

One of the debates this year concerns volunteers in cultural institutions. In one corner are Annika Olsson, Gender studies – Stockholm University, (me) Magnus Reuterdahl, DIK, and Karin Thorasdotter, Arenagruppen.

On this side we are concerned when it comes to volunteers. There is a risk that they are replace paid personal, and issues regarding insurances, liability and costs are not clear – among other things.

On the opposite side are Lars Amréus, Antiquarian of the Realm, Riksantikvarieämbetet (National heritage board), Nicklas Lundblad, IT debater, social policy adviser, Google and Lars-Anders Johansson, responsible for cultural issues, Timbro.

They are for more volunteers.

The debattle is organized by Riksutställningar (The Swedish Travelling Exhibitions) under the name; Need Swedish museums more volunteers? (Behöver svenska museer fler volontärer?)

The debate is held on July 2,10:00 – 11:30 at Riksutställningar.

Read more about it here (in Swedish).

Magnus Reuterdahl


A visit to Hästholmen a villa forensis in Östergötland, Sweden

Hästholmen lanterna 600I’ve been lazy when it comes to archaeology blogging lately, partly due to lots and lots of work. The other day I was asked to meet up with some folks from Jönköping County administrative board to tell a little on Hästholmen, as they were visiting on their annual staff day. This gave me a good reason for some blogging :)

Hästholmen hamnen 2 (600x450)

Hästholmen is a small town, ca 500 residents, by lake Vettern. It’s interesting out of many aspects, but lets start during the middle ages. Hästholmen is named in several historic documents, the oldest dated back to 1300 AD. It was never a town but it was what can be called a villa forensis (a place with a market) – this was one of the ports for transporting agricultural commodities from the fertile plains of Östergötland.

Hästholmen nya skärgården (450x600)

In medieval sources a church and a castle is also mentioned. The castle was probably more of a fortified farmstead than a castle. It was owned by one of Albrecht of Mecklenburg knights, Gerdt Snackborg. At Hästholmen was also a ting-place, a middle age court, this was active until at least 1523.

Hästholmen fyr (446x600)

Hästholmen peaked during the 14th and 15th century and then slowly faded into history as Vadstena, where the newly founded Vadstena Abbey was based, received its town charter. There hasn’t been done much archaeology within the medieval parts of Hästholmen, but the finds that has been found are mainly from the 14th or 15th century, for example weapons parts, a seal stamp and a collection of coins. The Seal Stamp is bourgeois and holds the name S.olai Pedarson. In 1983 a collection of 282 silver coins was found on the small hill where the “castle” is supposed to have been. The coins are from Sweden, Denmark and Germany and are minted between 1363 and 1520.

Hästholmen hamnen 4 600

Hästholmen hamnen karta 600The next time in history Hästholmen is visible in history is during the mid 19th century when it once again became an important harbour for agricultural commodities. This was to due with the steam-ship traffic on lake Vettern. In 1859 they rebuilt the harbour, much as it looks today, and 1860 the first the first harbor warehouses, one of this is till there. In 1939 they built a facility for storage and processing of grain which also is still standing. A narrow gauge railway was added in 1888 and a broad gauge (standard gauge) between Hästholmen and Mjoelby wasinaugurated in 1912.

Harbour ware house ca 1860

Harbour ware house ca 1860

In 1918 the ship Per Brahe went down during a storm just 500 meters from the Hästholmen port. It’s know as one the beloved artist John Bauer and his family together with more than 20 others died. The ship was salvaged from the bottom of the lake in 1922 and was was used for many more years in different parts of Sweden and Finland.

Facility for storage and processing of grain, build 1939

Facility for storage and processing of grain, build 1939

This is not the only find made in the harbour or nearby the harbour. Another ship wreck was found 2003, this is not dated but of old age (Viking Age or later). Added to this is also a stone age shaft-hole axe and a Vendel Age (550 – 800 AD) sword.

The old harbour

The area around Hästholmen, Alvastra and Omberg is one of the three pre-historic central areas in Östergötland. The district has been inhabited since the Stone Age, with plenty of both Mesolithic and Neolithic settlements, which has been around creeks, ancient lakes and wetlands in the plains and by lake Vettern.

Information sign rock art

Information sign rock art

During the Boreal period, about 8500-6800 BC we know of more than 30 Mesolithic settlements around the lake Tåkern, alone. In Hästholmen are traces of at least one Neolithic settlement and an Iron Age settlement. At Omberg, about 1-2 km north of Hästholmen is the Alvastra pile-dwelling site, ca 3100 BC. There has also been a megalith grave, that was destroyed in 1916. Excavations at this site was conducted in 1979-83 and found human bone material from both the Neolithic period, ca 3200 BC, and the Mesolithic’s, ca. 6300 BC.

In this area is also lots of medieval remains such as the ruins of the Alvastra monastery, Sverker Chapel, Sverkers farmstead and Alvastra mill. The Sverker-dynasty is one the early royal dynasty’s connected with the formation of Sweden during the 12th-13th century.

One rocks with carvings at Hästholmen

One rocks with carvings at Hästholmen

One of the more interesting sites in Hästholmen is the rock-art. Near Hästholmen are more than 80 known places with rock art, most of these are mainly dated to the Bronze Age. The normal type of carvings are cup marks (skålgropar, älvkvarnar) but in but six places there are also figurative motifs, all of are these close to lake Vettern and the most known are those at Hästholmen. It includes about 200 carvings spread over some 10 areas, including 130 cup marks, 29 ships, nine people, axes and animal etc. etc.

Hästholmen hällristningar 8 (600x450)

Hästholmen hällristningar 7 (600x309)

Hästholmen hällristningar 6 (502x600)

Hästholmen hällristningar 5 (600x450)

Hästholmen hällristningar 4 (600x449)

All in all a nice day :)

Magnus Reuterdahl


Ancient times along the Swedish east coast – An archaeological seminar in Blankaholm

As I check my back-log I see that I need to blog more about archaeology, but it seems that time just haven’t been there. During the coming weekend there will be time for archaeology though as it is time for the 5th annual archaeological seminar in Blankaholm – much thanks to Michael Dahlin.

The schedule holds 14 interesting seminars and it’s always fun to meet other archaeologists and archeo-buffs.

  • Michael Dahlin – On rhombic axes, from the late Bronze Age and their contexts in Kalmar County.
  • Gustaf Wollentz – On the future within the cultural heritage sector
  • Emelie Svenman – Beyond the grave – a georapahic analysis of the Bronze Age in Tjust
  • Kenneth Alexandersson – In the Age of Tingby. Mesolithics in Möre.
  • Lars-Erik Nilsson – the language of the rock art makers
  • Joakim Goldhahn – The rock art in Tjust – five years later
  • Michel Guinard, Mattias Pettersson & Roger Wikell – Early Mesolithic (flint) chips and their context
  • Helena Victor – Sandby borg at Öland – focusing on an ancient fortress
  • Helena Wilhelmsson – Archaeology captured in the moment – the osteological traces of the massacre at Sandby borg, ancient fortress, at Öland
  • Emelie Sunding – The residential district Gesällen – crafts and households in the 17th Century Kalmar
  • Ludvig Papmehl-Dufay – Back to the Tingby settlement
  • Patrik Gustavsson – A ship filled with goods – early Neolithic graves in Sörmland
  • Karl-Oskar Erlandsson – News from Kalmar County AdministrativeBoard – An archaeological report records and historic village sites
  • Anna Lögdqvist & Roger Wikell – Torshammarringar (rings with ritual symbols sometimes connected to Thor) seen in bigger geographic circles

14 seminars in two days and a great meeting place to discuss whats new and old in prehistorics! :D

Magnus Reuterdahl


Osteo-doctoral day for Ylva Telldahl

Ylva Telldahl will do her doctoral defence for her thesis on December 19 at Stockholm University föreläsningssalen, Botaniska institutionen, Lilla Frescativägen 5 at 13:00.

Her thesis is called: Working animals and skeletal lesions. Paleopathology of cattle and horse in Iron Age and medieval Öland, Sweden.

Ylva has concentrated on the relationship between animal husbandry practices and the associated pathological conditions using methods such as osteometric analysis, conventional radiographic and bone mineral study, as well as incorporated molecular analysis.

The material used was excavated (1964-1974) at Eketorp ringfort on Öland. The fort was used during the Iron Age and early Middle Ages, ca 300–1300 AD and from the Skedemosse wetland site that was excavated in the early 60’s.  This site is a ritual site where weapons, animals, coins and other valuables was offered to the gods, 200-500 AD.

Read the full abstract here.

 

Magnus Reuterdahl


Georgian National Museum, Tbilisi, Georgia

I recently was in Georgia on a wine-tour in combination with EWBC. Now Georgia also poses lots of interesting archaeological finds and some of the oldest that can be connected to wine and wine producing.

Vine branches with silver framing, dated to ca 2-1st millennium B.C. found in Georgia

We visited the Georgian National Museums archaeological exhibit and also got to see some finds that as yet has not reached the exhibit. If you go to Georgia this is a museum not to miss, lots of nice and interesting finds that shows both relations to West Europe, the Middle East and Asia – there’s really no question that you are on the Silk road.

Most of these finds are found in graves and there are several fantastic gold and silver artifacts. The exhibition represent the history of Georgian gold smithery from the 3rd millennium B.C. To the 4th century A.D. So lets get ready for some archeo- artifact – pornography! The pictures are just a few the objects on display and a few in the end that are not on display as yet.

Magnus Reuterdahl


Am I to become a union tycoon?

Most archaeologist along with librarians, antiquarians and communicators in Sweden are in the union DIK (Link in Swedish), a part of SACO (Swedens Academics Central Organisation). DIK is short for Documentation, Information and Culture (Kultur).

Now I never been much of a union man, though I do recognize they do an important work. Lately I’ve been pulled into it, though, as I’ve been working in a work group with ethics & archeology. Also it seems they gotten a new image via the current president, Karin Linder, that does do a good job.

A few days ago I was asked to run as a board member for the national council of DIK. Its always an honor that someone, whoever it is, has proposed me for a position such as this. Currently I am considering it: partly cause I’ve become more and more interested in the union as such and I believe that they do a good job, partly due to the fact that I feel it is important that an archaeologist, and especially someone that does not have a permanent job (as most archaeologists), can have a voice within DIK.

I don’t believe I’ll become a tycoon but I do believe that I might be able to be an interesting voice within DIK and that why I considering saying yes.

Magnus Reuterdahl


On June 29th it’s time for Day of Archaeology 2012

On June 29th it’s time for Day of Archaeology, I’ll participate as I did last year (read the post here) and was one of ca 400 archaeologists that contributed, from all over the world.

Read more about the project here!

If you haven’t allready join up for Day of archaeology on the 29th June and contribute with a blogpost!

Magnus Reuterdahl


Black hawk up & The Swedish Air Force Museum in Linköping

As we said good bye to a colleague that goes into retirement we visited the The Swedish Air Force Museum, but before that my colleague got to get a flight in the SK60 (a jet plane) we got a trip in Helcopter 16 or better known as Black hawk. Really really cool :)

I can also strongly recommend Flygvapenmuseum The Swedish Air Force Museum in Linkoping. Here are almost all planes that can be connected to Swedish air force as well as an exhibit on the cold war, where Swedens military, Swedish politics and domestic issues are connected – really good and then an exhibt or a crypt of a a Swedish DC3 that was shot down in the Baltic Sea in the 50′s and the story of the political game behind the story – this is stuff for a Hollywood picture – the plane was found a few years ago and lifted from the bottom of Sea. This museum is not only for air force or air plane buffs but everyone that wants to know more about the history of the cold war.

The pictures are divided into three groups: air force exhibit, cold war exhibit, DC3 exhibit.

Air force exhibit

Cold war exhibit

DC3 exhibit

Magnus Reuterdahl


Rock-art-lollapalooza part 2: the Fossum site

Next stop on my Rock art lollapalooza in the UNESCO world Herritage site Tanum is Fossum. The rock art in Tanum is dated to the Bronze Age, ca 1500-1000 BC.

Among the pictures are hunting scenes, people holding axes, people playing horns and of course lots of ships, animals, foot soles and cup marks etc.

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves!

 There’s still more to come :)

Magnus Reuterdahl


Långban smelting and mining areas

I’m spending Easter in Långban, Värmland where my fiancées sister with family owns a croft that they use as a summer residence etc.

Långban is perhaps most famous for its smelting and mining areas where Iron has been mined since the 16th century. Around the mines the yeomenminers formed a small community, Långban.

During the 17th century the mines were closed but they reopened in 1711 and mining for Iron continued until 1956 and for dolomite until 1972. Långban has a geological claim to fame as more than 300 minerals has been found here, equal to ca 1/10 of all known minerals in the world, according to information signs this is the greatest number of minerals found in one place.

As mining has continued for such a long time the area is also interesting from a cultural historical point of view and the museum and area is well worth a visit. As I was going trough some old pictures I found these from a few years back of the mining area. So tag along we’re going to the mine :)

Happy Easter/Holidays etc

Magnus Reuterdahl

 


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