Monthly Archives: April 2009

at the end of the line…

It’s the last day at the Norrbotten county administrative board in Lulea. It’s always a bit sad leaving; friends, colleagues and the place itself – It’s the feeling of nostalgia – the finality of it all; this is my last day at the office, the last time I walk this way to work etc.

In this case though I have a new challenge to look forward to; a new job – it’s not been to often that one goes from one archaeology job to the next – most often it’s been a few months working odd jobs or being unemployed. And this makes it a lot easier – to know a little bit about the immediate future

I’ll miss Norrbotten and Lulea, I’ll miss new friends and acquaintance, surroundings and work tasks. There are still a lot of things I would like to see and explore up here – and that will make sure that I return as a tourist or for jobs.

Bye Bye Lulea, Bye Bye Norrbotten county administrative board

Magnus Reuterdahl

Declaration of intention

It’s been a bit slow lately here at the Testimony, I blame it on the sun and the fact that I’m shifting jobs and location. The coming week might also be slow but then I hope I’m back in the saddle and posting as much as ever.

Have a nice weekend

Magnus Reuterdahl

Romance of the living dead

Pride and prejudice and zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

It’s seldom I get excited by a book without knowing much about it but a crossover between Jane Austen and George A. Romero seems so unlikely that this a must read for me. Just look at the cover and say that this isn’t what you crave, what you know, what you need; One part rotted flesh, one part brain substance, one part guts, one part romance and of course a red heart –  put in the mixer  – now colour me blood read and throw a blood feast, I wanna read…


The book opens with the lines “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains” and is said to be an expanded (enhanced?) edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel Pride and Prejudice featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem.



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Moving on

I switching lanes from the public sector to the private. Last year I had five employers this year I’m up to two, it’s not without reason archaeologist sometimes feels like soldiers of fortune;

My new employer is Arkeologicentrum (link in Swedish), based in Ostersund but working all over Sweden. Though some pieces are still missing it is decided that I begin my employment on May 4th. As it is ca 500 km between Stockholm and Ostersund compeered to ca 1000 km between Stockholm and Lulea so I’ve cut my weekly travels in half, though I probably won’t be taking the tour to Ostersund every week. Most jobs will be surveying areas that might be exploited due to wind power stations in different parts of Sweden which means lots and lots of travel to different parts of Sweden and lots and lots of fresh air, cultural heritage, ancient monuments etc. – you know all the things that make me go… and makes great pictures ops for this here blog.

So it’s;

Bye bye Lulea (for this time around) hello Ostersund


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Happy Easter!

In Sweden we wish each other a happy Easter during this holiday, we also eat lots of eggs and candy, preferably presented within an Easter egg. I’m not sure about the terminology regarding Easter when translated into English but there seems to be a market for happy Easter cards on-line so I guess it’s not quite out of order to wish you all a Happy Easter.

We’ve got great weather here in Stockholm so I’ll enjoy that as long as its lasting which means a little less time in front of the PC.

Best wishes and holiday greetings!


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The Museum of Byzantine culture in Thessaloniki

The Museum of Byzantine culture in Thessaloniki is a modern museum; on the outside it doesn’t look like all that much but inside it’s modern, fresh and spacey. The exhibit halls are focused, informative and decorative. It seems like lot of thought has been put behind the selection and the presentation. Though filled with objects it has calm over it that makes the visit pleasant.


Each exhibit hall has its theme such as the Byzantine church, the people, icons etc. The pictures are an outtake and do not follow that order.


The indoor architecture of the museum and the interior design gives the visitor space and time to reflect and that creates a stress free environment.


A wall dedicated to Saint George of Lydda aka Saint Goran, immortalised in the tale of George and the Dragon.

The Byzantine empire or Eastern Roman empire, was the continuation of the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages, centered on its capital of Constantinople. The time span of the Byzantine empire is ca 330 (Constantine makes Byzantium into his capital, which is renamed “Constantinople) – 1453 AD (The Ottoman Turks conquer Constantinople). These dates might very well be questioned, this time and area falls somewhat outside of my area of expertise. Read more here.


Bronze work ca 13th century depicting the archangel Michael.

This ceramics are from the 13th-15th century. These feels very modern and alike the porcelain that is popular in Sweden today, the porcelain of the 50’s (lots and lots of it here).



Reconstruction of a grave chamber, 4th– 5th century, with beautiful paintings not unlike those of the medieval art work in Swedish churches, yet another link that shows the cultural link within Europe over time and place.


Another fantastic part of the museum is the mosaics, as you can see I fancy the animal motives.



 I’ll return with the some scenic spots from within the city.

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On occasion I find quotations or anecdotes that make me interested in a person or the persons work; today I did so.

The person in question is Brendan Behan (1923 – 1964), he was an Irish poet, short story writer, novelist, and playwright who wrote in both Irish and English. He was also a committed Irish Republican and a volunteer in the I.R.A.



  • I only drink on two occasions – when I’m thirsty and when I’m not




  • Behan was once hired to write an advertising slogan for Guinness. As part of his payment for this, the company offered him half a dozen kegs of their stout. After a month the company asked Behan what he had come up with; Behan had already managed to drink all of the beer they had given him and hurriedly produced the slogan: ‘Guinness Makes You Drunk’. Not surprisingly he didn’t win the contract.           
  • His last words is said to have been –  to several nuns standing over his death bed; ‘God bless you, and may your sons all be bishops.’

Now I’ve never heard of the him before but I feel obliged to read up on him and his work.

Any starter tips/must reads would be nice!

Magnus Reuterdahl

Thessaloniki scenic spots part 1


Alexander the great at the waterfront of Thessaloniki

On Saturday we had time to do some exploring; some choose to wine & dine, others to shop and some went to museums etc, though yet some did a triplet.

I was accompanied by Anne-Sofie Gräslund (professor of Archaeology at Uppsala University) and Gunnel Engwall (professor of French Language at Stockholm University) and we took the in depth tour including two museums and some scenic spots in the city. I’ll start off with Archaeological museum, unfortunately I’d missed that photographing was allowed as long as no flash was involved, so the bigger part of the museum is not represented by photos.


 The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki

 The museum covers a long period of time, among the oldest finds on display are fragments (though plaster casts) of a skull belonging to an early anthropoid called Ouranopithecus macedoniensis aka Graecopithecus (ca 8 million y o), known from Axios Valley and Chalkidiki in Macedonia (more info here), and a copy of the skull of Petralona (ca 200000 BC) to the Middle Ages. The collections are impressive and I kind of like the displays and info texts. Most of the museum was rather traditional in style, and takes the visitor from the earliest hominid finds to the Middle Ages divided into categories such as ceramics, grave goods, weapons etc. The information signs are also rather traditional, e.g. part descriptive and part story telling – and I kind of like that. It was a good mix of telling what is on display, how it is interpreted and a bit about the context. In some cases there are also larger information signs with more in depth texts for those wanting to learn more and some multimedia presentations.


Ouranopithecus macedoniensis aka Graecopithecus

Further more it is always interesting to visit a museum with others that sheers ones interest which on many occasions led to discussions about certain finds and how they relate to Scandinavian finds. On thing we noticed was that all maps ended just south of the Baltic Sea hence missing the Scandinavia and the Baltic Countries. There are several finds that links the Mediterranean with the Scandinavia and Baltic areas during the prehistory. I also miss a section on historical archaeology, I guess those collections are to be found at some other museum but it should have a place here as well. Another flaw is the logic of the museum, it isn’t easy to find the right way.


Stone cists outside of the museum

No to the goodies, as I found out photographing was allowed I’ve just entered the gold room. Well I got some good photos; 


Silver calyces used as wine glasses. Grave goods ca 300 BC.


The Darveni crater is a vessel was used as a burial urn but was originally used as a vessel where wine and water was mixed. 4th century BC.


Iron model of a two wheeled wagon- Grave goods c. 540 BC. We discussed this a bit as it is very similar to wagons found in Scandinavian rock art from the Bronze Age.


Pictures from Kivik grave, ca 1000 BC, Scania, Sweden

glass alabaster

Glass alabaster perfume vases. Grave goods ca 300 BC.

Different gold ivy wreaths, grave goods from the 3rd-4th century BC.




…with the reflection of Anne-Sofie Gräslund



Next post will be on the Bysantine museum.

Magnus Reuterdahl

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