Monthly Archives: October 2007

Testimony of the spade #100

This is my 100th post on Testimony of Spade and as it is a special occation this post does not concern archaeology, or at least not prehistoric archaeology. Last weekend I visited a museum that has bit more modern touch: the Swedish Air Force Museum in Linköping.

the Swedish Air Force Museum

Though my interest normally lies elsewhere I have to say it is a nice museum. We began our visit with the Jas 39 Gripen flight simulator which was a lot of fun. During the simulation I low sniffed over the island Visingsö at approximately 100 ft. The maps are made out of satellite pictures which allow a rather good resolution. It was a fun experience and we got a lot of interesting information by the guide.

The museum is constructed on an old Swedish army flight base F3 (1926-1974) with, obviously, a lot of army aeroplanes; this is not my favourite part of the exhibit. Most interesting are the displays that tell stories, for example:

The display of DC 3 that was shot down in 1952 by Soviet fighters over international water is built around the finding of the aeroplane in 2004/2005. Here one can read about how the plane was found and lifted from the bottom of the Baltic Sea and perhaps most interesting about the preservation of the finds. Some of the objects can be seen in the display.

DC 3

There are other finds made on bottom of the Baltic Ocean, the engine of a Lancaster Mark 1 was found in 1996. An engine on display doesn’t do much for me but when there is an interesting story is connected to it then it transforms into something interesting. This story could become even more interesting, with more information on the plane and about research regarding the people that rode in the plane.

Lancaster mark 1

And lastly a larger display with several planes that are undergoing restoration at the museum. This gives the visitor the opportunity that to see cross sections of several planes. Among them a Saab 18 B that was involved in an accident just outside of Härnösand in 1946 where the plane sunk, in 1979 it was salvaged from the bottom of the sea.

Saab 18 B

This part as well as others would gain a lot with a greater access to the planes, with this I mean that in some cases you would like to see more. For me the most interesting part is to see the cockpits, because that’s where it all happened. With a few exceptions this is not possible. An easy solution would be stairs that makes it possible to see into the planes.

Draken SAAB J35

Over all I ,like this museum and I recommend it to anyone with the slightest interest in aeroplanes as well as history, as this museum covers a small part of our history.

Before I end this post I would like to show you an aeroplane that I have a special bond to; the Tiger moth (SK 11). It was used as a training plane by the Swedish Air force in the 30’s and 40’s.

Tiger moth SK 11

Some years ago on a vacation in USA I got the chance to ride in one of these machines and I have to say it is an amazing feeling to sit in an open airplane while flying. That is something I will never forget.

Magnus Reuterdahl


The Ötzi exhibit at the Museum of National Antiquities in Stockholm

A few days ago I visited the temporary exhibition Ötzi the iceman (Swedish link) from the Alps at the Museum of National Antiquities (Statens Historiska museum) in Stockholm. The exhibition started October the 5th.

The Ötzi find in the Alps 1991 is one of the most exciting finds from the Stone Age and a find that has brought a lot of new info regarding that Age in that region. More than anything Ötzi has given a face and a personal touch to Stone Age man. The find was made at the boarder between Austria and Italy, in the end it was concluded that he was found in Italy. For myself I don’t really give a damn, this is a find that belongs to humankind not a particular country, this is what should be a world heritage and not a petty fight amongst scientist or countries that did not exist when Ötzi died. Today Ötzi and his belongings are to be found at the archaeological museum of Bolzano.

Ötzis clothes

Replica of Ötzis clothes.

Back to exhibition, it has its flaws and highlights. I am probably not the right visitor for this, though I enjoyed parts of it. I begin with what I liked; It has a clear storyline, from the find to analysis to results. There is also information regarding media coverage etc. This exhibit is a summary of the present knowledge regarding Ötzi. The replicas are all nicely made and they are in most cases visible and easy to access. I liked the part where different objects were open for grabs, so to speak, a display with different materials; Hides, trees, stones etc. of witch Ötzis personal affects where made. This gives an extra dimension.

Ötzi, display with different materials

A touchable display with different materials

Many of the photos are great, especially the pictures that are produced in scale 1:1; for example those of the tattoos.

Tattoos of Ötzi

Ötzis tattoos

Overall the exhibition feels a bit clinical for my taste, as if in a laboratory. Besides this I miss pictures of the actual artefacts together with the “replicas” as they don’t seem to be exact replicas but interpretations. As I wrote earlier most objects are displayed well, though I would like a different angel on the copper axe so that it more easily could be studied.

Ötzis Axe 

Ötzis axe

I didn’t quite get what the Ötzi in the ice replica is supposed to tell us, it just seems odd and out of place to me.

Ötzi replica

The Ötzi in the ice replica

All in all I liked the exhibition, it is nicely sized and there is a lot of information for those that has not followed the scientific discussion regarding Ötzi. Personally I would have liked a little more spirit and edge in the exhibition, though I am aware that I am not the typical visitor. At the exhibit one should be able to watch Ötzi by a webcam. I missed this feature, probably due to the vast amount of people window shopping for info of Ötzi at the same time as I.

A little information about the coming attraction at the museum:

In November the second part of the new “permanent” exhibition regarding prehistory is opening. I really liked the first part (in swedish but some pictures) that opened a year ago or so; it is thematic and based on several famous finds from different periods. It takes you from the Stone Age onto and through the Iron Age. In my point of view it is very well produced as a platform for pedagogic guide tours, and it is very neatly designed to wake an interest for archaeology and prehistoric times. If you haven’t visited it I recommend it.

In the new part of the exhibition, the museum will showcase ca 3500 artefacts, it will be thematic though not from a chronological point of view, there will also be spaces in which one can sit down and reflect or read more in depth information about archaeology, prehistory etc. There will also be some kind of interactive part directed to children and families. I think it sounds exciting and I hope it will as good as part one.

Magnus Reuterdahl

Mutating Genre Meme

A blogging and scientific experiment.

There are a set of questions below that are all of the form, “The best [subgenre] in [genre] is …”.
Copy the questions, and before answering them, you may modify them in a limited way, carrying out no more than two of these operations:

• You can leave them exactly as is.
• You can delete any one question.
• You can mutate either the genre, medium, or subgenre of any one question. For instance, you could change “The best time travel novel in SF/Fantasy is…” to “The best time travel novel in Westerns is…”, or “The best time travel movie in SF/Fantasy is…:, or “The best romance novel in SF/Fantasy is…”.
• You can add a completely new question of your choice to the end of the list, as long as it is still in the form “The best [subgenre] in [genre] is…”.
You must have at least one question in your set, or you’ve gone extinct, and you must be able to answer it yourself, or you’re not viable.
Then answer your possibly mutant set of questions. Please do include a link back to the “parent” blog you got them from, e.g. Life before death, to simplify tracing the ancestry, and include these instructions.

Finally, pass it along to any number of your fellow bloggers. Remember, though, your success as a Darwinian replicator is going to be measured by the propagation of your variants, which is going to be a function of both the interest your well-honed questions generate and the number of successful attempts at reproducing them.

1. The best epic novel in cosy catastrophic SF/Fantasy/ is: “Day of the triffids” by John Wyndham
2. The best I don’t give a damn song in punk/rock is: “Now I wanna go sniff some glue” by the Ramones
3. The best cult comics in fantasy is: “Preacher” by writer Garth Ennis and artist Steve Dillon

My ancestor 1 is Metamagician and the Hellfire Club.

My ancestor 2 is The Flying Trilobite

My ancestor 3 is Life Before Death.

My ancestor 4 is Aardvarchaeology

My ancestor 5 is Ting och tankar

I call upon the following to produce the next “offspring”:
De saktmodiga får hugnas bäst de vill


What’s happening now?

I’ve been a bit busy the last couple of days, so sorry this post are more of a hallo there post that states that I am still alive. At the moment I am trying to compose PMs and application papers for the PhD education at Stockholm University within Archaeology and Osteoarchaeology. Monday they should be ready to transfer and then it’s only to hope for the best.

Tomorrow, I need a bit of relaxation, so I will go to The Museum of National Antiquities and watch the exhibition on Ötzi the iceman.

I’ll take a few pics and give a review later on.

Magnus Reuterdahl

Mats P. Malmer 1921-2007

Through Åsa M Larssons blogg Ting och Tankar came the news that one of the gigants of Swedish archaeology,  Mats Peterson Malmer, has passed away. I did not know him but I know of him through his books and articles which gives testimony of his accomplishments within the field of Archaeology. More about Mats P. Malmer can be read at Martin Rundkvists blogg.

Magnus Reuterdahl

Home sweet home; the future awaits!

I am back in Stockholm again; it’ll be nice to breathe some city air for a change, though both the gig in Växjö and Norrbotten has been nice. At the moment I wait for an answer whether I will participate in an excavation of a stone setting or not later this month. This week will be tight, I have some meetings I need to attend and two applications to update regarding the PhD program at Stockholm University, in Archaeology and Osteoarchaeology. So I’ll know what to do this week, time to get busy.

Magnus Reuterdahl


The death of a construction, A7 is now deconstructed.

Today at 1630 hours the construction known as A7 was declared a goner, the last fire cracked stone was weight in and the construction was no more. It will live on only on paper, photo, GIS-data, a report and finally in our minds.


All in all we were eight brave archaeologists that undertook the quest of excavating in Lantjärv and now it is all over, for this time.


It is with sadness I tomorrow leave Norrbotten as I have made a lot of new friends and have had a wonderful time here in Haparanda, but on the other hand I long for Stockholm and my fiancée, so in the end it is good to be going home and it will be great to be home again sometime tomorrow night.

I’ll end this post with a picture that I have promised in several posts, here is the Sangis-grave.


Last post from Norrbotten //Magnus Reuterdahl

Knee deep in water

Only a few days left and still we haven’t found the bottom of the construction A7. To make things worst we have hit the mother load of ground water. So we’ll have to use a pump for the water and try to get deeper and deeper, it never ends!!!


The water is about 2-4 dm deep.

We’ll hopefully be done by tomorrow or at latest by Thursday noon.


Here’s me and our Field Supervisor Frida in archaeological action.

Visit the official blogg (in Swedish).

Magnus Reuterdahl

A new week at the settlement at Lantjärv

As we are closing in at the bottom of the construction we are pretty sure that it is a cocking-pit. The definition of the term cocking-pit is though, in my opinion, way to wide. Due to this the term in reality doesn’t say anything else than that it is a construction filled with fire cracked stone and coal. Then there are few types the round ones, normally dated to early Iron Age in Norrbotten and the square ones that are dated to the late iron Age/Viking Age in Norrbotten. A few other types are known as the funnel shaped ones, the one we are excavating is most like the funnel shaped. Though the coal spotted layer is somewhat of a mystery. I have updated the sketch I published yesterday, as we have dug down yet a bit the shape is getting clearer.


Sketch of the East-Western profile. In the NE quadrant the profile is the south wall and the SW it is the north wall. This is a sketch and it is not made in the right scale but it is made to give a picture of the construction.

A – The coal spotted layer. In this layer we find a lot of pieces of coal and fire cracked stones and a few bigger stones that do not appear to be fire cracked. The earth is rust-coloured. We have also found a few small areas that are “fatty” and some pieces of coal that seems to be part of larger pieces of wood or branches/poles. We still haven’t excavated this layer to the bottom.
B – A layer with fullers’ earth, only a few finds of fire-cracked stones and some coal. Not spots of coal but a few larger pieces; parts of a pole or large branch.
C – A layer of rust colored earth, under this it seems that coal spotted earth appears. We still haven’t excavated this layer to the bottom.
D – A layer of rust colored earth, very few finds, in the profile a few finds of burnt birch bark has been found.
E – At the bottom of (D) we’ve found large pieces of coal from branches or poles.
F & G – Layers of pink sand/earth this is due to either burning (heating) or digging.
H- Ground water level.

Since yesterday we have discovered that the coal spotted layer continues under layer C as do the presence of fire cracked stones. Beneath this we reach the ground water level.


This photo is taken from the north, when we removed this layer of stones we reached the ground water.

Today we made our first bone-find, ca 10 pieces a few a bit larger; ca 1.5 times 0.5 cm. It is part of a diaphysis (ossa longa) belonging to a small mammal or possibly a bird. The bone is The bone fragments has been burnt or effected by fire but not well “cremated”, the colour is yellowish with parts that been burned black/blue. The size is a bit difficult to estimate as bone fragments sometimes reduces in size in a fire, but not always. The cortical thickness is about 1-2 mm which leads me to believe that the bone is more likely to be that of a mammal than that of a bird.


All the bones found.

bones2.JPG     bones3.JPG

Photos of the larger bone fragments.

These notes and thoughts are mine and not necessary what will stand in the final report, where more data will be available in the interpretation, C-14 analysis etc. This is not to be seen as a final or the offical hypothesis. The report will made by Norrbottens museum, please check out the official blogg here (in Swedish).Magnus Reuterdahl

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