I present a brief summery of the signs in the order they are displayed at K-blogg.Sign number 1: New technology can provide new knowledge!
On this sign there is information of the background; i.e. historic evidence regarding this site. Then there is an explanation regarding nondestructive methods within archaeology such as the use of magnetometers and ground penetrating radar, due to the surveys made here in 2006 using these methods. The last piece concerns “New hypothesis” where some of the results of the 2006 survey is presented.
This sign is interesting enough; it shows what archaeologist has done over the last years on some of their results. There are a few unclear statements such as “around the ship there are traces that can be dated from Stone Age to the Middle ages, but there is no explanation regarding what traces and if theese in any way are connected to Ale Stenar and if so in what way. As an Archaeologist I can read between the lines here, but for the ordinary Joe it might not be that obvious.
Sign number 2: The landscape of the Sea and stone monuments.
On this sign the most famous ancient monuments of west Scania is presented in text and on a map. There are no controversies on this sign.
Sign number 3: The now infamous one: Ale stenar – an ongoing interpretation
This is the sign debated here, on Aardvarchaeology, on K-blogg, in Swedish newspapers, Arkeologiforum and so forth. On this sign is an account of two different theories, the archaeologists vs. Mr. Bob Lind, illustrated by a plan of Linds solar calendar.
The big problem with this sign, according to me, is that it is easy to misunderstand. If one is not versed within archaeology this sign gives as much weight to the archaeologists as it does to one person who is not trained or working within the field. It can be argued, as the National heritage board (NHS) does, that it is not the place for a government authority to take sides in scientific discussions. But by producing information signs that are controversial or can be misinterpret, which most newspapers have done, they put themselves in a position where they become the center of the discussion. Besides this there are other things on this sign that is just odd, like the discussion of what constitutes an ancient monument.
Sign number 4: “Man and ship as symbols.”
Here is information regarding the relation ship between man and ship over the ages. I think that this sign could have been really good; I also like the idea of presenting the phenomena of ship settings. It falls a bit short though, as it doesn’t reflect of what a ship setting represent during the Iron Age, this does that the sign misses the point. There is nothing in the text that gives any descriptions regarding Iron Age ship settings, except the note under the timeline. Instead the text focuses on the Bronze Age, which seems to give support to Bob Linds interpretation.
To make this sign valid it should include information regarding ship settings from the Iron Age and what they may have symbolized during at that time, otherwise I don’t see why it should be here at all.
Now I have read all four signs and together they give a better picture than number three alone. A big problem with this signs is already shown, they are easily misinterpret. The best thing would be to rewrite sign number three and sign number four. I believe that it is of importance that information signs are clear, and are based upon the best available science and the consensus among professional researchers. If the NHB does not want to take sides in scientific discussion they should not produce any material that are controversial, such as information signs, leave this to county administrative boards, museums or private enterprises.