Monthly Archives: June 2009

Skepplanda 32; the beginning of the end

It’s been a hot couple of days with lots of sun, but all is well in Skepplanda due to lots and lots of water and some nice finds that keeps the spirits high.

In this picture at the S part of the settlement a search shaft has been made wherein we’ve found several nice flints, among them a few arrow heads and next to it in a newer search pit (not seen in this picture) we’ve found parts of a stone axe.

 Skepp32 1

In this picture is the NNW part within a part of arable land, used up until last year.

Skepp32 2

This part of the field we ploughed and then harrowed. As it has been ploughed up until now the ploughing init self does not harm the settlement, after the harrowing we’ve field walked the area and collected finds, mostly flints and measured them with a total station, from this we can see the spread of finds within the area. These finds are not in its orginal place but show general patterns. We will harrow the field three times and do field walks to get a good picture then we’ll start to excavate this area.

Best wishes

Magnus Reuterdahl


Neolithic settlement

I’m sitting on the train towards Gothenburg and then to Skepplanda where I will work on an excavation the coming three weeks. The excavation concerns a Neolithic settlement called Skepplanda 32:1. It is ca 100 x 75 m. At a previous excavation in order to delineate the settlement finds including a post hole, flints including three flint knifes and a flint arrow head (Beckers type B) etc.

I’ll keep you updated.

Magnus Reuterdahl

FMIS is growing

Today I sent in a report to FMIS/Fornsok (The National Heritage Board´s database for archaeological sites and monuments) regarding ancient and other remains of historic value that we found during a survey in Vastra Gotlands county, Skallsjo parish, earlier this month with Arkeologicentrum.

In total we found 2 ancient remains and 20 remains of historic value. The remains are foundation remains of crofts and cottages and traces of their arable land in form of cairns from the fields, remains of coal mining, remains of a mill, old boundary markers etc. And now FMIS have been sent information concerning these, their position (GPS points and shapes), their size and what they are etc (a description).

Mayhap not the most exciting of remains but a few of them where very well preserved and have a high pedagogic value  in additon to the historic.

All in all 22 new entires to FMIS/Fornsok

Magnus Reuterdahl

Riseberga cloister and cloister church ruin

I visited Karlskoga last weekend and on Sunday we went by Riseberga cloister and cloister church ruin in Narke close to Orebro.


The monastery was founded in the end of the 11th or in the beginning of the 12th century. On the picture below is the west wall, the only one standing, of the church.


The cloister was a Cistercian convent for nuns and the cloister church was built during the 12th or possibly 13th century.


The church was ca 27 x 18 m (E-W) during the first phase of the cloister this church was preceded by a smaller church.


The ruins have been restored and conserved several times since the 1930’s til the latest in 2004. Some excavations has also been done which among other things have revealed a lot of graves within the cloister compound.


Riseberga is beautiful situated and a place we will return to soon, unluckily this day a theatre show was on at the nearby amphitheatre (built in 1937) which hindered us somewhat to explore the area, I recommend a visit.


Magnus Reuterdahl

In Ostersund again


Midsummer is over and I back at work, this week in Ostersund and for the consecutive three after that in Skepplanda just north of Gothenburg on a Neolithic settlement dig.


I’ve got some nice pictures from a few travels that are due on the blog this week.

Magnus Reuterdahl

DIK – redo your homework and get a reality check!

Updated 2009-07-21

I don’t know about the situation outside Sweden, though I guess the situation is more or less the same everywhere, it is hard to get a job at a museum or as an archaeologist; and if you demand a salary way above your limit it does not make it easier. 

At this point the Swedish union; DIK (a union for archaeologist, employees at museums among others) goes out and claims that you should demand an entry pay of 26000 sek or ca 2300 €/ a month (at this date 1€ = ca 11,30 sek) for someone fresh out of a University with a master or equivalent (article in Swedish), a salary I haven’t accomplished after 5 years in this line of work with a master in my bag; My current salary is ca 24000 sek /month, and I’m morte or less pleased with that. I believe this recommendation is close to be considered a fraud and it makes me seriously considering leaving the union. I would guess that a reasonable first pay check in my line of work today is somewhere around 19-21000 sek depending on the employer and the job, at least among those I know.

I honestly believe that if someone without experience just leaving a University or High school demands this payment they’ll be considered a joke by employer and thier application’s cast away. This makes this recommendation a horrific one and those believing in it are truly f**ked by its own union. I recommend DIK to do a serious reality check and redo the homework. I am sure you do good things but this is just outrageous and borders on idiocy. A union should work for its members not be contra productive.

Now this does not mean that I think that there isn’t room for better pay and conditions for archaeologists. As many are badly paid and work on unsecure contract which doesn’t give the possibility to have a consecutive period of vacation etc. I just think that this is the wrong way to start, as I feel that it does not benefit those most vulnerable on the job market, those who does not have experience or are yet to build a network.

I feel that there is much for DIK to work on and I hope they do.

Magnus Reuterdahl

Steel production in Norrbotten 2200 BP?

In 2007 I participated in a dig in Norrbotten between Kalix and Haparanda, now some of the analyses have been presented for example an archaeometallurgic analysis shows finds of what most probably are steel, which is very interesting as this must be some of the earliest proofs of early steel production as far north as Norrbotten. The dating is ca 2200 BP which is old even in an international perspective, one of the oldest finds is from ca 4000 BP in Turkey. The diffrence between iron and steel is the procentage of coal, in steel the procentage is ca 0,5 -2 %.  I’ve googling a little to find the oldest steel find in Sweden or Scandinavia but haven’t found much more than that the knowledge of steel is from the Iron Age  (in Sweden ca 500 BC – 1050 AD). If anyone knows please write a comment (I would guess that Lars Erik englund might have something in his dissertaion but that is in Stockholm at the moment). I’ll come back to this as I have more information.

Swedish radio aired an interesting interview with archaeologist Carina Bennerhag (in Swedish – the interview starts ca 13 minutes in the program) from Norrbottens museum as a new exhibit opened a few days ago – now I want to go to Luleå and have look at the exhibit and I am awaiting the report and possible articles.

Haparandabanans blog (in Swedish) reports that the report was handed to the county board in marsh (I should know as I still worked there then) for approval so hopefully it ‘ll be availeble soon.

Magnus Reuterdahl

Happy midsummer!

In Sweden the midsummer weekend and especially midsummer’s eve is a big thing and so also for me, I’ll take a few days off and come back after the weekend.

The celebration of midsummer is old and though there are no written sources to support it, it is probable that it has prehistoric roots. Even so a possible midsummer eve in the Stone- Bronze- or Iron age most probably wouldn’t have much in common with the traditions of today.

The oldest written source concerning midsummer in Scandinavia can be found in the Norse sagas from the middle ages (ca 13th century) where Olav Trygvarsson; “He abolished the ceremonial beer and did instead participate in the people’s festival beer at Christmas, Easter, Midsummer and Mikaeli (translation by myself)”. It seems beer was an important part of the midsummer celebration then and still is it today, so there are some similarities after all.

Have a happy midsummer!

Magnus Reuterdahl

Monday haze

Monday morning, it’s raining and I’m in doors doing reports. Well, I don’t miss working in the rain but sometimes it seems as one’s mind doesn’t really want to wake on Monday mornings and that’s bad when you need it.

A few thoughts on writing reports.

A tricky bit when you write a report is that you have to recollect memories, at best you’ve described them good enough but there’s always something you’ve missed or you realized that you should have done in another way.

Then there’s the language; it is easy to fall in to archaeological mumbu jumbo, it’s important to keep it short and easy to read for those who doesn’t have in depth knowledge in the subject. One has to aware of the reader or readers that one can assume will read it, in this case a company and possible the county administrative board.

Often one uses a previous report as a model and then changes the descriptions, the analysis, the tables, graphs, maps etc. This is a bit dangerous though as it is easy to miss bits and pieces of the old text which can make it a bit awkward.

Well, I know there’s nothing mind blowing about this but as I said it’s Monday. Back to the report manuscript…

Have nice Monday

Magnus Reuterdahl

In support of a fellow anthropology blogger

Åsa M Larsson at Ting & Tankar (archaeology blog in Swedish) made me aware of the situation for a fellow blogger; Magnus Alkarp (also in Swedish but with an English section) have been forced to, temporary, shut down his comment function due to threats and hateful comments from right wing extremists and religious fanatics.

Now the commenter’s wasn’t all that smart as they left a trail of IP-addresses and have been identified and will, if I understood it correctly, face charges in a near future.

Now I’ve never met Magnus Alkarp but I use to read his blog and I wish all the best to Magnus and hope that this won’t affect his bloging habits in any other way and that the commentary function might be turned on soon again.

In support I present;

@ Magnus Alkarp – keep up the good work

Best wishes

Magnus Reuterdahl

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