Category Archives: anthropology

Rock-art-lollapalooza part 2: the Fossum site

Next stop on my Rock art lollapalooza in the UNESCO world Herritage site Tanum is Fossum. The rock art in Tanum is dated to the Bronze Age, ca 1500-1000 BC.

Among the pictures are hunting scenes, people holding axes, people playing horns and of course lots of ships, animals, foot soles and cup marks etc.

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves!

 There’s still more to come 🙂

Magnus Reuterdahl

Mesolithic Motala on film

At the city Motala on the eastern shore line of lake Vettern a big excavation that in part is still on- going that concerns the mesolithics. The excavations are being done by Riksantikvarieämbetet (the National Heritage Board) UV Öst (RAÄ UV Öst) (link in Swedish about the excavation) and by Stiftelsen Kulturmiljö (link in Swedish about the excavation).

The excavations concern at least one settlement and several different activity areas; production sites, graves etc, that are dated to ca 6000-4000 BC. There are also remains of a medieval farmstead, dated to ca 1200-1300 AD.

There are several things that are special about this site among them the exceptional preservation environment, UV has made this film, with English subtitles, that allows you to find out more about this exiting place and the finds that has been made.

The film is produced by Martin WanngĂĄrd at BringitoLife during 2010 and 2011 and is 18 minutes long and is part of RAĂ„ UV Ă–st’s intermediary of the results.

Magnus Reuterdahl

Platsr – web toy or web tool?

Heard om platsr (in Swedish playing with the word plats=place and r, or rather the rune R =used to mark ancient monuments on Sweish maps), its a webpage or rather a web toy or web tool that I think this a pretty cool. The idea is that institutions, such as museums or archives, companies or the general public can upload a picture or a story and link that to a place and share that with others.

Now is it a toy or a tool – well I think it’s a bit both – one example of this is Blekinge County museum – they have uploaded this picture from their archive

The picture is licenced under Creative Commons - BY-NC-SA 2.5 belonging to Blekinge County museum

 On the picture is an unknown family visiting a church, Amiralitetskyrkan in Karlskrona. The photo is dated to the turn on the century, ca 1900 and is but one out of 100s of pictures of this particular family – Now Bleking County museum is asking for help with identifying them via Plastr. See the Platsr page here.

So if you happen to know who they are – send Bleking County museum a mail 🙂

Magnus Reuterdahl

LĂĄngban smelting and mining areas

I’m spending Easter in LĂĄngban, Värmland where my fiancĂ©es sister with family owns a croft that they use as a summer residence etc.

LĂĄngban is perhaps most famous for its smelting and mining areas where Iron has been mined since the 16th century. Around the mines the yeomenminers formed a small community, LĂĄngban.

During the 17th century the mines were closed but they reopened in 1711 and mining for Iron continued until 1956 and for dolomite until 1972. LĂĄngban has a geological claim to fame as more than 300 minerals has been found here, equal to ca 1/10 of all known minerals in the world, according to information signs this is the greatest number of minerals found in one place.

As mining has continued for such a long time the area is also interesting from a cultural historical point of view and the museum and area is well worth a visit. As I was going trough some old pictures I found these from a few years back of the mining area. So tag along we’re going to the mine 🙂

Happy Easter/Holidays etc

Magnus Reuterdahl


Swedish ancient monuments on youtube

Since a few months back I work at the Ă–stergötland County Administrative Board as an archaeologist. A project that has been ongoing for some while, that I haven’t worked on, is a video-project displaying some of the ancient monuments in Ă–stergötland County. Information on the films are presented here.

The first of at least four films was uploaded a few days ago via Youtube, it’s available in Swedish, English and Arabic and is about the Svaneholm castle ruin outside Mjölby built during the 14th century.

The Swedish and Arabic version can be found here

Check it out!

Magnus Reuterdahl

Middle Ages seminar at Ă–stergötland County Museum

Follow on Twitter #medsem12

Today I’ll attend a seminar on current research and projects concerning the Middle ages in Sweden ĂĄt Ă–stergötland County museum, Linköping, Sweden. The seminars are being held by contract-archaeologist as well as resrearchers.

Among the seminars are:

Krokeks Cloister – the franciscan forest convent by Marie Ohlsen, Ă–stergötland museum.

Devestation or restructring – the Linköping are during the Iron Age and Middle Ages by Karin Lindeblad & Maria Petersson, the National heritage board UV öst (east)

Ecological & social connections associated with the black death by Per LagerĂĄs, the National heritage board UV syd (south)

Slaves, tradesfolk and common people – strangers during the middle ages and how we find them by Mats Roslund, archaeologist, Lund University.

To work with a gender perspective on historic landscapes by Elisabeth Gräslund berg, geographer, Stockholm University.

Hemvidakulla – a deserted farmstead in Ydre by Hans Andersson, professor emeritus historical archaeology, Lund University

Musical meetings – music during the Middle Ages by Lars Jonsson, music producer and artistic director, NoMeMus.

Etc etc.

This post will be updated during the day.

Magnus Reuterdahl

A historic ”spy” report on Sweden

I currently read Lorenzo Magalottis book Sverige under ĂĄr 1674 (Sweden during the year 1674 aka Relazione del rigno di Svezia nel 1674) published by Carl Magnus Stenbock 1912.

During the later part of he 19th century Elof Tegner found a handwritten report in Italian archives regarding Svecana. It was this one and one written by Alessandro Bichi regarding his relations withSweden during 1696.

Lorenzo Magalotti (1637-1712) was a count who travelled the north of Europe and came toSwedenin 1674. There are also several sketches from his journeys. He enteredSwedenin June in Scania coming fromCopenhagenand travelled north and left in September.

A picture of Skeppsholmen ans Skeppsbron (Ships-bridge) in Stockholm as seen fromk the southsouthwest.

I’ve just started to read this fascinating description which could best be described as kind of spy report combined with personal notes. Here are notes on the political system, both officially and comments on how it works in reality, here are notes on architecture, daily life, the army & navy, on forts, on military strength, on framing, economics etc etc. I’ll get back to this in a later post or posts.

As he travelled he saw small as well as bigger villages, communities and cities. I also guess he made a far amount of stops – there is no mention where this inn was situated but this is how the “McDonalds” of the 17th century in might have been.

Magnus Reuterdahl

Blankaholm 2012 -Swedish east coast archaeological seminar

Tomorrow it that time of the year, again, when all eyes turns to the East Coast and the metropolis Blankaholm (you can find in google maps or such). Don’t know of it? Well, not many do, but since some years back an annual seminar on archaeology is held there – lots of fun and interesting archaeology is presented . All seminars are held in Swedish.

This 2012 schedule:

Saturday 25/2

  • From the Neolithic to a farming crisis – A farming historical research project on the north-eastern Smaland coast land and in land by Michael Dahlin & MĂĄrten Aronsson
  • A few reflections on the archaeological excavations and the reporting of the E22 project in Blekinge by – Elisabeth Rudebeck
  • Mass production of green stone axes in western Blekinge by Kenneth Alexandersson
  • The Vikings – a long history by Roger Wikell
  • The Bronze Age in Blekinge – results from the E22 excavations by Helena Victor
  • Actions at an urn grave field. A presentation of the results from Flyestock and ideas concerning ducumentations of grave fields by Fredrik Strandmark.
  • About the excavation of the urns from the Flyestock grave field – methods and results by Torbjörn Brorsson.

Sunday 26/2

  • Reuse of picture stones on Gotland during the Iron Age by Martin Rundkvist
  • Props & Rit – traces of ritual actors with examples from the East Coast by Fredrik Gunnarsson
  • The Risinge mound; the excavation of a large mound on Ă–land by Ludvig Papmehl-Dufay
  • Brick making and maker stamps in Kalmar County by Ă–rjan Molander
  • Mesolithic bones in Iron Age huts, Ă–vra Vannborga, Ă–land by Magnus Reuterdahl

Magnus Reuterdahl

Guidelines of ethics & archaeology

Currently I’m in group assembled by the union DIK (the union for archaeologist, librarians, archivists etc.) discussing ethical guidelines for Archaeology inSweden. We’re only just started so we’re trying to get feel for the subject and finding the framework, through our own experience and through works by other organizations such as AAA, EAA and the Swedish Archaeological Society(Svenska arkeologiska samfundet) among others.

While going through these guidelines and codes I found that they do have lots of substance and important statements, though when we disscused this we felt that we like to do this in a somewhat other fashion –  not just copy and paste but actually saying something of our own. It’s also possible that we have a somewhat different starting point and somewhat other aims as these are guidelines rather than codes, but as I say we’re just starting up – so we might change our perspectives several times. One thing that came up is the importance of setting humanity in the centre of the discussion.

Ethics is a big word, it covers a lot of grounds, and we must in some way concentrate the subject, focus it on certain areas and to make it workable and presentable. We’ve been looking into grouping this into certain fields or headlines, for example;

  • Re-search and studies,
  • contract-archaeology (both from the filed point of view and from the departmental view),
  • the public
  • and economics.

As contract-archaeology is getting more and more a business as many others, it still differs tom most as the main goal for most archaeologist isn’t to make a monetary profit but rather a scientific profit (not said that archaeological business, museums, institutions etc isn’t or shouldn’t be looking out for the future by making sure they make enough money). Though this has been a reality for some time, there are several ethical issues connected to this, for all parts involved.

Other issues concerns practices, sharing of knowledge, contacts with the public etc and politics.

In the latter part is a big issue that needs to be addressed, how do we avoid to be used as a political tool of groups, parties or associations – or should we avoid it? Archaeology or rather the cultural environment is part of the political landscape and should so be, but when groups try to control a certain remain or type of remains, ideas or interpretations it begins to be difficult. In most cases this does not go to the extreme, but then again sometime it does – Historian, archaeologist and author Magnus Alkarp and his family was recently threatened by neo-nazis due to Alkarps new play 4 dagar i april (4 days in April). The story is based on a true story about the riots that shookUppsala 1943 when nazis gathered atUppsala mounds (burial mounds from the Iron Age) for a demonstration. I haven’t seen the play, yet, but has great admiration for Magnus Alkarps work, courage and engagement – Keep up the good work!

These threats shows how important it is, and often difficult, to deal with groups that have other interests in archaeology and prehistory than the scientific ones. I feel it is important that we as an archaeological community works actively with question concerning how our results are being used or misused and that we are active and supportive towards each other in this.

With this said as a sketchy background we’re looking for current articles or posting on the matter, international and or national on ethics, big scale or small, to use as reference points or inspiration.

 Magnus Reuterdahl

Do you love H.P. Lovecraft?

Me, I’m a big Lovecraft buff and oddly enough it seems a lot of other archaeologists/anthropologists is as well. In Stockholm as in many cities there are free newspapers around, as Metro etc. Since I got my smart phone a few years back this is not a media I turn to too often, though I did when I was a student back in the days – all things free is good, or something like that.

Today going by the sub something caught my eye though, on the opposing seat lay a Metro and the headline, or rather the add, that caught my eye read: Vi älskar Lovecraft! – We love Lovecraft!

March 26- April 1st Serieteket, in Stockholm, gives tribute to the horror master – holding seminars, readings and what they call Bazaar of the Bizarre read more at (OBS in Swedish).

Me – I’ll see you there!

Magnus Reuterdahl

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