It’s been a difficult and in many ways a hard week, for different reasons. This Monday I attended a funeral, in Jonkoping, for a close friend of the family. Funerals are never fun but can be a situation for contemplation. Besides thinking on the departed I found myself thinking on ceremonies and rites. As an archaeologist you work with the past and the remains of those who lived a long time ago. Large parts of our material are from graves; memorial monuments over fathers, mothers, sons and daughters constructed by religious and social conventions, pretty much as today.
We often read in lots of things when studying these remains, some based on the finds, some based on interpreted texts from the time and some based on reasoning. What struck me was our, mine and those attending, need of coming together, in grieving and remembering and our need to find closure and to say goodbye. In archaeology we often seem to miss this fundamental theme when discussing or contemplating burial processes, it’s more often a discussion of social dimensions, religious belief and architectural qualities. Though this is information to be found and interpreted we shouldn’t forget the person buried and what the burial meant to them who needed to remember, as individuals and not only as a society.
In loving memory of Rolf Åkerlund
My thoughts are with the family and my memories of Rolf will live on in my mind and heart.
After the funeral I went north to Ostersund, ca 900 kilometres apart, where rain and snow awaited. I had thought I would spend this week indoors writing reports etc. but it became three days outdoors surveying instead. We are currently working some miles north of Ostersund deep in the wilderness. On Wednesday it was raining and part of the ground was covered in snow; though not that much that it was impossible to read the landscape but enough to freeze your feet and this combined with the rain and the water stuck on trees made it an unpleasant experience. Today it was a lot better as there was no rain which made it quite a pleasant day. Another problem is of course the light or rather the lack of light as the sun sets down early. Yet one day remains let us hope for good weather.
Next week I’ll spend the first couple of days in Stockholm as I’ll attend RAA’s (The Swedish National Heritage Board) conference: Kvalitet i uppdragsarkeologin (Quality in exploratory/ assignment archaeology) and then continue up to Ostersund.