Category Archives: excavation

Black hawk up & The Swedish Air Force Museum in Linköping

As we said good bye to a colleague that goes into retirement we visited the The Swedish Air Force Museum, but before that my colleague got to get a flight in the SK60 (a jet plane) we got a trip in Helcopter 16 or better known as Black hawk. Really really cool 🙂

I can also strongly recommend Flygvapenmuseum The Swedish Air Force Museum in Linkoping. Here are almost all planes that can be connected to Swedish air force as well as an exhibit on the cold war, where Swedens military, Swedish politics and domestic issues are connected – really good and then an exhibt or a crypt of a a Swedish DC3 that was shot down in the Baltic Sea in the 50’s and the story of the political game behind the story – this is stuff for a Hollywood picture – the plane was found a few years ago and lifted from the bottom of Sea. This museum is not only for air force or air plane buffs but everyone that wants to know more about the history of the cold war.

The pictures are divided into three groups: air force exhibit, cold war exhibit, DC3 exhibit.

Air force exhibit

Cold war exhibit

DC3 exhibit

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 Wanngård at BringitoLife during 2010 and 2011 and is 18 minutes long and is part of RAÄ UV Öst’s intermediary of the results.

Magnus Reuterdahl

4th annual archaeology seminar in Blankaholm

Michael Dahlin

This weekand we visited Blankaholm on the Swedish east coast for the Blankaholm seminars arranged by archaeologist and local resident Michael Dahlin, who is also the man behind the Swedish archaeology blog Misterhultaren.

All seminars are connected via the prehistory or history of the Swedish east coast, the themes are varied as well as the periods. All in all it was a very nice session with many nice meetings, new and old, and lots of information.

The previous three seminars are available in the books Forntiden längs ostkusten 1 (2010) and 2 (2011) (Ancient times along the east shores) both edited by Kenneth Alexandersson et al.

I will not go into detail on the seminars but only give a short recap of them to present what can be expected of the coming Forntiden längs ostkusten 3 and the 2012 seminars.

Day 1

The meeting started with a quick presentation of the seminars and Blankaholm by Michael Dahlin

Pierre Petersson

followed by a seminar by the same on the late Neolithic and Bronze Age settlements on the east coast of Småland. On surveys from the 30’s until today and future projects. The seminars continued by another Swedish archaeology blogger Pierre Petersson the man behind the blog AHIMKAR. In this seminar we move forward in time to the middle ages and thoughts on living conditions for the nobility and ordinary man. Pierre put forward an interesting example site Kläckeberga church, its surroundings and the findings that has been done via archaeological excavations etc. From the

Kenneth Alexandersson

middle ages we take a big leap back in time. Kenneth Alexandersson from Kalmar County museum presented the results from a settlement excavation just south of Kalmar airport. The expected finds was an Iron Age settlement but they found a Stone Age site dated to ca 9000 BP instead. After this we move north to the south of Norrland as Michel Guinard and Therese Ekholm presents the project Nordic Blade

Michel Guinard

Technology network which concerns the earliest habitants after the latest Ice Age. Two sites, one that has been situated in the inland and one by the coast are currently excavated by students and scientists. Larforsen is located in Hälsingland, dated to ca 7200 BC, and Torsåker in Gästrikland are several small settlements, dated to ca 8500-5000 BC. There are several specialists involved such as osteololgist Therese Ekholm who will study

Ludvig Papmehl-Dufay & Therese Ekholm

bones from the hearths looking at spices as well as dating. We return to Småland and hits the neolithics once again as Ludvig Papmehl-Dufay discuss the Funnelbeaker culture. The funnelbeakers are considered as the first real farmers in Sweden. Ludvig is working with materials from the island Öland in his post-doc research. Among them results from a settlement excavation at Resmo. The day ends with another fellow archaeology blogger Martin Rundkvist from Aardvarchaeology who spoke on projects done and projects to come concerning Bronze Age sacrifical deposits, in both wetlands and on human settlements, etc. His idea is to look for the sites found in the late 1800’s and first half of the 1900s and excavate these again. By categorize them due to location and natural features etc. create models to predict where to find new places. Almost all sites we know of today were found by framers while draining wetlands to create new farmland or working behind the plow seeing what it plowed up. This ended the sessions of day 1.

Martin Rundkvist

Day 2

Sven Gunnar Broström and Kenth Ihrestam

The day began with Kenth Ihrestam and Sven Gunnar Broström presenting their survey finds of Bronze Age rock art in Casmirsborg (MEM) some miles north of Västervik. During their latest surveys the number of known figures has increased from 13 to 175. They have found several large finds of ship carvings, people, foot soles, animals etc. From art to Claus Ruskas land transactions in the

John Hutto

Middle Ages. John Huttu described the way from middle class to the gentry, from the city to land ownership and what can be found in medieval diplomas. Tar production was probably a big deal during the middle ages – Veronica Palm from Kalmar County Museum and Västerviks

Veronica Palm

museum goes forward in time and tells a tale of a tar production site from the 18th century. The site was just outside of Målilla and excavated in 2010. Very nice findings and interesting results. Back to prehistoric times with Joakim Wehlin (sorry all pics were out of focus) who research ship settings on Gotland. There is a much larger material than I knew; in total 380 are known at Gotland whereof ca 100 are excavated. Joakim told us about an interesting excavation from this summer where they found a double grave in a small round stone setting just next to a ship setting. An interesting project to follow! Last speaker of the day was Rune Johansson who works as a nurse and are studying archaeology. He presented his thoughts on archaeology as a rehabilitation tool. As all people have a history most have a connection with the past and therefore it is a way to get people interested. There are also several things in archaeology that can be therapeutic, walks in woods, feeling artefacts, associations between artefacts and modern things, being part in projects such as digs etc.

Rune Johansson

I would like to thank all involved who made this a great weekend. I will be back 🙂

Magnus Reuterdahl

A new dawn for exploratory archaeology in Sweden – or will we crash and burn?

Updated 2010-02-25 (A Swedish version is on its way)

The other day the Swedish government sent a proposition Increased competition in the mission (exploratory) archaeological field – some changes to the Cultural Heritage Act (DS 2011:6) out for consultation (Link in Swedish).

The Ministry says that the starting point of the proposals is that they should promote competition and to clarify roles and responsibilities within  field (exploratory) archaeological.

According to the proposal the entrepreneur (ie the developer) – after the County Board has decided that archaeological work needs to be preformed – designate who will perform the work. This means a new order. Today it is the County Board who designates who should perform the archaeological work after opting out, after procurement or direct selection, who will do the job. The County Board also has the responsibility to oversee the plan of work and its costs, and perform oversight of the work and ultimately approve or disapprove of it.

The Ministry believes that the proposal means that the roles and responsibilities between the County administration, entrepreneur (ie the developer) and the archaeological institution or company must be clarified. Entrepreneurs will get clearer control over and responsibility for the process. The proposal will allow the County Board to place greater focus on designing clear decisions about archaeological work, such as the conditions based on the criterion of scientific quality, and strengthen and develop supervisory activities. The Ministry hopes that the proposal will lead to better conditions for fair competition within the exploratory archaeological field.

Personally I am ambivalent about this proposal. On one hand the current field archaeological market doesn’t work all that well today (this most seems to agree on) on the other we know what we have to work with. There are significant differences across the country how the County Boards works and there is a lack of transparency for those applying for archaeological jobs – and I guess also for the entrepreneurs.

In the current system, I think the County Boards have too much power in relation to the institution or company that will perform the archaeological work. They are involved in too many parts of the process – they write the decision, determining the cost, determine priorities, methods and scientific questions and supervise the project. In the end they seldom have the resources to do all this work. When it comes to priorities, methods and scientific questions I believe that this should be the responsibility of the institution or company doing the work to a greater extent than today. One result of this proposal is that it will become more transparent than today – which is needed.

The risk of this proposal lies in further pressure on prices at the expense of science – but if you look at other deregulations they have rarely led to lower prices. It will most probably lead to a situation where it will be more important to be on good terms with the entrepreneurs. This will place new demands on archaeological performers, the County Boards and the National Herritage board – there are several risks concerning this that should be discussed in depth. Due to this the County Boards may get too little transparency in the process of ensuring that decisions are implemented properly – they need to develop tools to ensure the quality of the work. There is also a risk that rogue firms seek to influence the archaeological firms or that rogue archaeological firms arise. Other problems include unexpected findings during an excavation or who to resolve issues between the entrepreneur and the archaeological excavator.

If this proposal goes through there are several issues that needs to be tended to, especially that of the County Boards roll, but also the National Heritage Board will have their hands full. I’m not sure if this proposal will be for the better or the worse – and much can happen before this goes in front of the parliament – but it will change the archaeological landscape of Sweden.

A quick update on my views on the prop. To make it work it is obvious that the decision part need to be strengthen, e.g. the decisions must be done in another way than today with a lot more detailed information on what the County Boards wants from the investigation or excavation. It also demands a way of certifying companies – e.g. the County Board can’t as today just ask for a letter of interest but must also clarify if the company is up to par. This will make it possible for companies that don’t reach the County Boards standards an opportunity to fix the problems or appeal the decision – which in a way will make the process more transparent. There is also a great need to give the County Boards better opportunities and resources to make oversight of the work, to control that it is done accordingly and fulfils the decisions. There is also need for tools for penalties or fines if the contracts are not done correctly or in accordance with the County Board’s decisions. This also requires that the National Heritage Boards get greater, or redistributes, resources for supervision of the County Boards and their operations.

I’ve noted that some makes comparisments with the situation in Holland, Great Brittan and Ireland etc. These are relevant if we see to the procurement process but there are several things that differ which makes these comparisments difficult, for example laws concerning land ownership, cultural heritage and building and planning processes. As I am fairly ignorant of the laws and processes concerning this in other countries I don’t feel that it’s appropriate to make detailed comparisons with them – at least not for me.

I’ll read it in depth during the weekend and come back to you with more thoughts!

Others that blogged about this is Fredrik Svanberg at Museum Nu (Blog in Swedish), the Swedish blogs En humanists väg till arbetslivet and Arkeologigruppen here and here.

Magnus Reuterdahl

Excavation at Rissne on Swedish Radio

Currently I’m employed by Arkeologikonsult at the excavations of a grave field in Rissne, Stockholm. The grave field is from the late Viking Age or the early middle ages. The burials are mainly Christian, buried in coffins, but the graves have superstructures that are a relic of ancient burial forms, such as stone settings or mounds, and the dead are still buried at the farmstead grave field rather than at a cemetery by a church.

SR (Swedish Radio) program Vetenskapsradion history (Science Radio: History) has a report on the excavation on the show (in Swedish) under the title The Spectres at Rissne. Pictures from the excavation are available at Arkeologikonsults webpage.

Magnus Reuterdahl

Thank God for weekends!

The excavation in Rissne outside of Stockholm continues and soon week three will be finsihed. I’ve gotten a prolongation of my employment at Arkeologikonsult until December the 17th so there are several days of archaeology left this season, in other words this is getting to be a real winter dig.

The last few days have been physically hard as it’s been cold, windy and quite damp. The cold in itself does not pose that big of a problem but snow and or rain makes it more difficult to interpret layers and structures in the earth and the wind is what really makes it cold. It seems we’ll be digging in tents the last few weeks which will make it a lot easier, I hope.

Well it’s just to hang in there and do the best of a difficult situation – but I can tell you a sleep like a pup every night and wake up with stiff limbs and muscles.

Only one day left this week, thank God for weekends, I need to rest!

Magnus Reuterdahl

Dreams of gold and riches?

A question that is frequently asked when I present myself as an archaeologist for people is; what is the nicest or most interesting thing you’ve found? By implication, they expect that you should talk about gold objects, lost cities or dinosaurs.

Though I’ve struck gold on a few occasions, it isn’t all that usual to find, other “valuables” include coins, bronzes etc. Now understand me correctly it’s wonderful to find these objects though it’s not really why I do archaeology or why it has caught my interest. It’s rather the possibility to better understand our past, how they thought and functioned, why and how they did things.

At present I participate in an excavation for Arkeologikonsult in Rissne, Stockholm. We excavate a grave field/burial ground dated to the late Viking age early middle ages. Most graves, so far, are built like Viking age burials; stone settings, mounds etc but instead of cremations the dead has been buried in coffins. At this stage the dead are still buried on the farm stead burial site and not a cemetery by a church.

If you would ask me right now what the most exacting thing I found is – I would answer two coffin nails as they currently helps me understanding a particular grave – where the coffin was put, in what direction the dead was placed etc. The answer will change from every time as you’re always in the now – the most exciting thing is most often the thing that currently is on your mind and not what shines most or is most “valuable”.

Magnus Reuterdahl

Ps. Archaeologists don not dig for dinosaur, paleontologists do! Ds.

No weather is good weather

Last week I was out excavating on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and this week it continues.

On Wednesday I came the day after a snowstorm, then the problem was snow and the fact that the ground was frozen and therefore difficult to dig. On Thursday it was a bit warmer but it was moist and rainy therefore it was difficult to see structures and differences of colour in the earth. On Friday it was rainy and now the mud became muddy and slippery – making it difficult to move and so it became almost impossible to see what happened in the earth.

On the other hand if it’s sunny it’s either to warm or difficult to take photos due to shadows – So there seems no weather is really good weather for archaeology – though I warm spring or autumn day.

Well, the weather this weekend might prove to have been good to us as all the snow has melted which will make it easier to see the big picture. So I’ll keep my fingers cross for a dry week which will make my life a little bit better.

As an old Swedish saying goes: There are no bad weather only poor choices of clothes.

Magnus Reuterdahl

I’ll be digging in Stockholm

Got unemployed last week but things are all ready brighter as I’ll start working on a new project on Wednesday next week for Sweden’s oldest private archaeology company Arkeologikonsult, in the business since 1988.

I’ll be working on an excavation, in Stockholm, on a gravefield dated to the late Viking Age/early Middle Ages the coming three or four weeks.

It will be great as I’ll work with Johan Klange, whom I’ve been working on the Yangshaoproject, and with osteologist/archaeologist Leif Johnsson, whom I worked with in Kronoberg and with Arkeologicentrum, among others.

Magnus Reuterdahl

Arkeologisk/osteologisk jobbannons. An add for a job within archaeology or osteology

This post will follow in English:

Jag brukar inte skriva på svenska här på bloggen men då jag kommer att vara till arbetsmarknadens förfogande inom kort är det lika bra att utnyttja alla vägar. Förutom att skicka ut en bred intresseanmälan om jobb, dels via bloggen dels via mail kommer jag också sätta mig ned och arbeta på en ny ansökan till forskarutbildningen inom arkeologi.

Från och med den 27 oktober står jag till arbetsmarknadens förfogande, helst till förfogande för en arkeologisk inriktad institution såsom en länsstyrelse, ett museum, en myndighet (RAÄ UV) en stiftelse eller ett privat företag.

För er som inte känner mig personligen eller som bara råkat hamna här på bloggen, är jag 36 år, boende i Stockholm och varmt brinnande för frågor kring arkeologi, osteologi och kulturarv. Om ni tittar på mitt CV kommer ni att se att jag är mycket flexibel vad gäller resande men också bred i min erfarenhet av olika typer av arkeologiska jobb. Ett par av mina styrkor tror jag ligger i en bred kunskap och förståelse av kulturhistoriska landskap, såväl när det gäller tidsmässiga som geografiska skillnader, samt att jag har erfarenhet av många olika GIS program såsom ArcView, ArcGIS, ArcPad. StormGIS, QuantumGIS, Intrasis m fl och är relativt duktig på dem.

Under de senaste 18 månaderna har jag arbetat för Arkeologicentrum AB i Östersund med jobb över i princip hela landet – från Västernorrlands län till södra Småland. Jag har arbetat med frivilliga utredningar, § 11 utredningar steg 1 och 2, arkeologiska förundersökningar och särskilda arkeologiska undersökningar. Vidare har jag skrivit ett drygt 20-tal rapporter och PM (se CV) samt arbetat med offerter och anbud. Under denna period har jag också gått Riksantikvarieämbetets (RAÄ) utbildning Landskapshistorisk utbildning, steg 1 för att bli platsledare inom fornminnesinventering.

Innan min anställning vid Arkeologicentrum har jag arbetat som antikvarie på länsstyrelserna i Norrbottens (2008-2009) och Kronobergs län (2005-2008) och som arkeolog och/eller osteolog vid Norrbottens museum (2007 och 2008), Östergötlands museum (2008), Osteologiska forskningslaboratoriet (2005) och Arkeologiska forskningslaboratoriet (2005) vid Stockholms Universitet m.fl. Jag är också ordförande i Osteologiska föreningen (2009-).

Tillsammans med Johan Klange har jag startat och arbetat med ett forskningsprojekt: Yangshaoprojektet. Projektet syftar till att bygga och sprida kunskap om den så kallade Yangshaokulturen, eller traditionerna. Projektet har till dags dato lett till två forskningsresor, två rapporter och två artiklar.

Jag har läst arkeologi och ostearkeologi till masternivå, fornnordiska till kandidatsnivå, kulturmiljövård mm vid Stockholms Universitet mellan åren 2000-2005.

För närmare information besök mitt CV här!

Har du ett jobb för mig går det bra att kontakta mig via inventerare[radera_detta][at]hotmail[punkt]com.

Vi ses och hörs!

Magnus Reuterdahl


I do not usually write in Swedish here on the blog, but as I will be available for new work shortly, it is best to use all tools available. In addition to sending out a broad interest on the job through this blog, I will sit down and work on a new PhD application for archaeology and of course apply to available jobs.

This is a job application that also is valid internationally. As of October 27, I am available for work or research projects, preferably at  archaeological or osteological oriented institution such as a museum, a department at a University, a foundation or a private company.

For those of you who do not know me personally or who just happened to end up here on the blog, I am 36 years old, living in Stockholm, Sweden. I have a deep interest  for issues related to archaeology, osteology and cultural heritage. I am very flexible in terms of  travelling and have wide experience of different types of archaeological jobs. My strengths, I believe lies in a broad knowledge, experinece, understanding and knowledge of different kind the ancient remains (especially concerning Scandinavia and to some extent China) regarding time depth as well as geographical difference (Scandinavia in particular). I have worked with many different GIS software such as ArcView, ArcGIS, ArcPad. StormGIS, QuantumGIS, Intrasis etc. and am quite good at them.

Over the last 18 months I have worked for a private company; Arkeologicentrum AB in Östersund, virtually across all of  Sweden – from Västernorrland County to the south of Småland County. I have worked with non mandatory investigations (archaeological surveys), § 11 investigations – steps 1 and 2 (archaeological surveys and archaeological surveys including search excavations), archaeological preliminary investigations (archaeological excavation in order to delineate one or several specific ancient remains) and archaeological excavations. During this time I’ve written more than 20 reports and memos for Arkeologicentrum.  I have also taken the National Heritage Boards (RAA) course Landscape Historic training, step 1 – to become a site leader regarding archaeological surveys in Sweden.

Before this I worked as an archaeologist at the county administrative board of Norrbotten County (2008-2009) and Kronoberg County (2005-2008), at the county museum Norrbotten museum (2007 and 2008) and Östergötland museum (2008), at the Osteological research laboratory (OFL) (2005) and the Archaeological Research laboratory (AFL) (2005) at Stockholm University, etc. I am also chairman of the Swedish Osteological Association since 2009.

Together with fellow swedish archaeologist John Klange I started and have been working on a research project: the Yangshao project. The project aims at building new knowledge and to disseminate knowledge about the so-called Yangshao culture, or better named traditions. The project has so far led to two research trips to China, two reports and two articles.

I have studied archaeology and osteoarchaeolgy at Masters level, Scandinavian languages with a historic profile at candidate level, cultural heritage, etc. at Stockholm University between 2000-2005.

If your interested or wants more information, as a CV in English or references please contact me via inventerare[delete-this][at]hotmail[dot]com.

Magnus Reuterdahl

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