Walk this way

Nowadays most of my job is being done from behind a desk while using a computer, but now and then I get to go out on a hike in the cultural landscape whislt working.

Today I was out inspecting a find of a  so called  fossil road (hålväg in Swedish term). This road ha sprobably not been used for quite some time, probably several hundered years.

hålväg1 fossil road (600x450)

How old it is, I can not say offhand, but through long usage it has cut through the soil. This part of the road is about 150 meters and is part of a system of parts of different roads, it is about 40-70 cm wide at the bottom and 2-3 meters at the top and has a depth of about 0.8-1 meter. It has been used more than a few times.

hålväg2 fossil road (450x600)

It makes you or at least med wonder who used it, when and why. Is this a road between two villages, settelments, or between different activity areas or is it a more general way?

Quite a luxery being able to dwell on thongs like this whilst at work :)


Don’t give up your day job?

Well, I wont! I’ve just hit the archaeological jackpot!

I don’t mean I found a lost civilization, the holy graal or something on that magnitude but I’ve gotten a permanent employment (tillsvidareanställning), i.e. hired for a position without a pre-determined time limit as an archaeologist at the the administrative county board of Östergötland.

Though on occasion these employments might be seem as far away as finding the holy graal though.

It’s not the first time I had an employment of this kind, I had one at Arkeologicentrum AB a few years back, but it feels good to not having that end date hanging over my neck.

Magnus Reuterdahl


Day of archaeology 2013

It’s that time of the year again – DAY OF ARCHAEOLOGY 2013 – and I’ve written a small piece; your welcome to read that or any other of the several hundreds, hopefully thousands, of posts beeing published on archaeology today.

Check out my post here.

Check out Day of archaeology 2013 here.

Magnus Reuterdahl


On Tuesday I make my Almedalen debut

Every year politicians Week held in Almedalen on Gotland. This year I will be participating in a debate on volunteers in museums. Read more about it here (in English) or on Riksutställningar website (in Swedish).

Bild

Magnus Reuterdahl

 


Radio-days

A few days ago the Swedish national Heritage Board and the Swedish Forest Agency released a new report concerning damages on ancient monuments and cultural heritage environments due to forestry actions. This report, as do previous reports, shows that more than 40 % of the known monuments and environments are being affected or damaged in some part due to cutting down trees, and reforesting actions.

Yesterday this was on the news as Peter Norman, the National Heritage board, and I was interviewed on the matter. If you know you Swedish the interview is to be found here and the report here.

Magnus Reuterdahl


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


HBO Vikings

There’s a new TV-show from HBO waiting to hit the shores of Normandy, Scotland, England, Ireland Russia, Spain, America etc etc… Beware the Vikings are at it again! HBO presents Vikings! I guess this won’t really have to much with archaeology or historic correctness but who cares this is just for fun – and I still haven’t seen any horns on the helms :)

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


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