Monthly Archives: April 2010

The rune stone of Ostersund

This is a post that is long overdue, last fall sometime in November someone vandalized the Rune stone J RS1928;66 $ in Ostersund by spraying red paint on it. I’ve been set on visiting the rune stone that is placed on Froson, ca 2 km from the centre of Ostersund, since then and that happened now.

Though difficult to see on this picture the red paint is still visible, though rather week. I guess that some initial cleaning of the stone has been done. It is also possible that its been decided that this cleaning is the best way to go about it, that it would damage the stone more to do a harder scrub or use other chemicals etc.

A picture from before the vandalization is available at the National Heritage board Kulturmiljöbild (Cultural heritage pictures).

The inscription is interesting as the inscription is the earliest mentioning of the province Jamtland and also says that Jamtland been Christianized. The inscription is usually dated to ca 1050 A.D.

Inscription; Austmaðr, GuðfastaR sun, let ræisa stæin þenna ok gærva bro þessa ok han let kristna Iamtaland. Asbiorn gærði bro, Tryn/Trionn ræist ok Stæinn runaR þessaR.

Inscription translated to English; Austmaðr, Guðfastr’s son had this stone raised and this bridge made and he had Jamtaland Christianized. Ásbjôrn made the bridge, Trjónn(?) and Steinn carved these runes.

Magnus Reuterdahl


Triples of reptiles

I’ve returned from Växjö and is once again in Östersund, last week I’ve participated in two archaeological investigations; both in a fossil acres where our task was to seek traces of settlements within the acres and in one case to determine if a stone stetting really was a grave. In this case the stone setting was heavily damaged because stone had been taken from it for road construction, etc (in historic times) and due to uprooted trees. The weather was fine, the sun was warming and that was about 10-15 degrees celcius in other words nice spring weather.

During this time of year it really nice to be outdoors in the woods as everything is coming to life, the trees and grass is getting green, flowers appears, the air is filled with birdsong and you get see a lot of animals waking; this time I got see three different spices of reptilians;

An Adder (Vipera berus) which the only poisonous snake in Sweden living in the wild.

A lizard (Anguis fragilis) that looks like a snake, in Sweden known as Copper snake or Copper lizard.

And yet another lizard, that I don’t know the name of.

I quite often see or hear lizards as I roam around the country side, snakes and Copper lizards are more unusual though so it’s always nice to see one.

Magnus Reuterdahl


390 and counting

At 2007-04-12 the first post was posted at Testimony of Spade – I would never guess that I still would be posting three years later. In time it has become somewhat of an addiction, though the frequency might differ a bit between the seasons, somehow there seems to be more to write about when doing field work. Over the years it’s accumulated to 389 posts, this beeing number 390th.

As the Spinal Tap so eloquently puts it in this tune

In ancient times…

Hundreds of years before the dawn of history
Lived a strange race of people… the Druids

No one knows who they were or what they were doing
But their legacy remains
Hewn into the living rock… Of Stonehenge

Stonehenge! Where the demons dwell
Where the banshees live and they do live well
Stonehenge! Where a man’s a man
And the children dance to the Pipes of Pan

Well my interpretations may be a bit more traditional and not quite so out there as Spinal Taps but I do study and work with material that are from before the dawn and history also known as from prehistoric times (well I often tend to work with and write about historic times and the current as well) and I’ll continue posting stuff about it here.

You’re invited to Testimony of the spade year 4!

Magnus Reuterdahl


Returning to Växjö

This week I’ll work in Vaxjo, Kronoberg County, and I’ve gotten a heads up concerning the possibility to use a cell phone and my wireless broadband where we live – so updates might be scarce the coming week.

Best wishes

Magnus Reuterdahl


Dolmens Froboke type

This week the field season started with a survey in Bredaryd parish in Halland. As I’ve been sitting in the office for a few months the body is not quite ready for action – every limb feels sore after a few days of hiking in the country side – still it’s great to be outdoors again.

On the way to the survey I passed the grave field Froboke and took a couple of pictures. This grave field is perhaps most known for a fascinating type of burial monuments called Iron Age dolmens, which originally was called Fröböke dolmens after this site. The grave field is located in Bredary parish, Halland, a few miles from Halmstad.

Photo at the south part of the grave filed towards north

Photo from the middle part of the gravfield towards the south part

I’ve written about Iron Age dolmens before, here and here. In short Iron Age dolmens can be found on grave fields in the south west part of Sweden; in the west part of Smaland, in Halland and in the south west part of Vastra Gotaland. They are generally dated to ca 500 B.C. – 400 A.D. and only a few have been excavated. This type of burial monuments was first described in 1876 while the road next to the grave filed was built.

The north part of the grave field

The grave field at Froboke is quite small and consists of seven visible grave monuments; three Iron Age dolmens and four erected stones. The grave field has probably been larger but have been diminished over time due to agriculture and road works in historic and modern times. Two archaeological excavations have been carried out at the grave field in 1914 and 1933 – among the finds is a glass bead, cremated bones and pieces of quartz. The “complete” Iron Age dolmen just next to the road was restored in the end of the 19th century, it’s possible that some kind of excavation was carried out then as well.

The reconstructed Iron Age dolmen

Not all that chatch my eye is of cultural historic interest, like this spider’s web.

Next week I’ll be in Växjo in Kronobergs County doing more archaeological work.

Magnus Reuterdahl


Jonkoping County Museum City exhibit 2010

The new city exhibit is quite small but contains a lot of information. It is placed part from the museum in the new city archive wing, the entrance is through the city library.

In short the exhibit can be divided into 7 parts – the road into the city a – almost like a bridge that is illustrated by a reconstruction of the old city road flanked by a large photo of road workers of the first part of the 20th century. This part is made in the passage from the library to the exhibit which is made of glass; this creates a feeling of coming from an open landscape into the murkiness of the city.

A medieval bone flute with a runic inscription “GUD” (God). To the left a part of the reconstructed main road.

Inside of the city a large city map from 1874 meets the eye and in front of that what looks like a well.

The exhibit is created around a round square where four displays and the map gives focus to different parts of a city, city life and the history of the city. The well is not quite a well but a hole to an archaeological context – a window to what was found underground at this place.

While at the map one can stop and think of how the city has evolved since 1874 and what is left of 19th century Jonkoping – in information pamphlets a lot of information on the city’s history is available from the oldest sources, 13th century and fourth, and why different changes have come about – where was the first castle placed? It is mentioned in three documents from 1278; SRS III “obcessum est csatrum Junacopie”, SRS II “castrum Jonacopense” and SRAp “datum in castro Junakøpung” in castro Jonkoping. There are also other sources but none points out the exact place of the now lost castle. Intereseting in is old documents are also to look on the spelling of the city. The name Jonkoping is derived from two parts Jon- probably June as in a small stream called Junebäcken, today almost non-visible if you don’t know where it once run its course (If I remember correctly it is tunnelled today). My thought is that this is of such importance when concerning Jonkoping’s history that if possible it should be opened again. The second word is –koping and roughly means place of commerce.

In the first display the bourgeois of the 19th and early 20th century is displayed; what was produced in the city, who did people live etc. The next display concerns mass-culture such as sport and pop music. Several bands and artists are displayed via eps (singles), posters and articles. In one of the photos from a concert – the young police man in the middle is possibly my father (red circle) ca 1967-1969 (I got another picture where he is and I’m not quite sure as the police man in this picture looks down and is not quite visible).

In the third and fourth displays Jonkoping is seen through the eyes of archaeologists; graves, finds from different industries and reconstructions of the later Jonkoping castle, built in the mid 16th century around the medieval Franciscan convent (1283-to ca 1540). The castle was destroyed in a fire 1737 and was finally demolished during the 1860’s and 70’s – today one can get glimpses of the castle when and if excavations are carried out.

Now this was it – a nice little exhibition filled with a lot of information for residences as well as tourists, well worth a detour!

Best wishes

Magnus Reuterdahl


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