Category Archives: Historical archaeology

Långban smelting and mining areas

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

Långban 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, Långban.

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. Långban 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


Middle Ages seminar at Östergötland County Museum

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Today I’ll attend a seminar on current research and projects concerning the Middle ages in Sweden åt Östergötland 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, Östergötland 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 Lagerås, 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

In search for runes

Been writing a few reports lately, nothing fancy as the results were more or less =0, e.g. no finds worth mentioning. While doing so I’ve needed to stop by the archives a few times and as soon you’ll open one of those dusty bins you’ll find something fun –that has nothing to do with your current affairs. This time I stumbled on a reference of a runic carving in wood.

According to the note it should be found at Eriksörestugan aka Kalgrenstugan – a wooden house in Eriksöra at Öland. Four runes are mentioned: i t a f, where the last one is facing the wrong direction. The house is a Ryggåsstuga, a one storey wooden house without inner ceilings. This type of house was common amongst the peasants up until at least the end of the 18th century.

Didn’t find much or rather nothing regarding this on the web or in my books. What I did find out is that house was restored in the 1930’s, the note regarding the inscription wasn’t dated but might have been older than that, so it’s possible the inscription is no more. Except from this I’ve found two other inscriptions on Ryggåsstugor, both in Älvdalen, Dalarna County, D Rv314 and D Rv305 dated to 1828 and 1830-1855. Though I don’t know what those inscriptions says.

Well if you can’t find it on-line you’ll have to go on tour – Eriksöre here I come 🙂  – I’ll update when I get home!

I found the house and according to the note the inscription should be  on the short side wall next to the window.

…but I’m sorry to say I couldn’t find any runes 😦 Then again I couldn’t come home runeless so I took a little drive to Karlevi stenen – a nearby runestone. A quite aspecial one at that, the inscription is written in a verse called Drottkvätt and there are also a few latin letters on the side. I’ll get back to you regarding the text in a few days.

Magnus Reuterdahl

Runica et Mediævalia 2010 editions

New books on my reading list, from Runica et Mediævalia:

Det senmedeltida Stockholm – en språklig och kulturell smältdegel (The late medieval Stockholm – a linguistic and cultural melting pot). Stefan Mähl. Sällskapet Runica et Mediævalia Lectiones 9, 2010.

Bebådelsebilder. Om bildbruk under medeltiden (Annunciation pictures. About use of pictures during the Middle Ages.). Mia Åkestam. Runica et Mediævalia Scripta mimora 19. 2010.

S:t Sigfrid besjungen. Celebremus karissimi, ett helgonofficium från 1200-talet (Songs on S:t Sigfrid. Celebremus karissimi, a saint officium from the 1200s). Edition och kommentarer av Ann-Marie Nilsson. Runica et Mediævalia Scripta maiora 6. 2010

Magnus Reuterdahl

Second hand finds

I like to scavenge throw flee markets and second hand shops. I look for different things but most often end up buying books. Today we managed three stores in Karlskoga. Didn’t find all that much but as always a few books ended up in my possession. The County museums in collaboration with the local historical society annually publishes books. Örebro County publishes the annual book called Från bergslag och bondebygd (From mining and farming districts). These books normally concerns local art, history, cultural history, archaeology etc. Sometimes there is a theme to these books such the 1980 edition: pictures from the world of work.

This time I found 1950-59, 1962 and 1980. A selection of articles from these books addresses such topics as:

  • A working year of Siggebo smelting mountain man’s farm
  • Tanners on the river
  • A Orebro Journal of 1680s
  • The preaching of the maid in Kumla
  • Deserted farms fate
  • Stone cist graves in Yxhult
  • With the mark of arrows and roses
  • The silver treasure from the Eketorp
  • The Hassle find once again

Etc. etc.

The authors of these books are both professional researchers and local historians and others. The content goes from science to trivia. I will return to them or parts of them in a future post.

Magnus Reuterdahl

Ice storm of 1929

In the Swedish internet newspaper (J is for Jonkoping the city where I was born some 36 years ago) is an article on the Ice storm of 1929. On January 15 after several days of a cold northern wind, Jonkoping is situated on the south shores of Lake Vettern. Lake Vettern is ca 150 km long and when the cold winter wind comes from the north over the lake it becomes really cold. At the night towards the 15th the wind was pushing to a storm from the north over the cold waters, about to freeze, at -10 degrees Celsius (ca 14 degrees Fahrenheit), creating an extreme cold where 16 trains were frozen to the railway tracks and fantastic ice formations were created, the article contains three great pictures. In the first a sign spells Jönköping city to the right and to the left a formation called the statue of liberty (though I believe it looks more like a Nazgûl in Peter Jacksons Lord of the rings), in the second some sees a dog and on the third are telephone wires that has fallen down due to the storm.

The storm itself lasted until January the 17th and on the 21st the railway traffic was running in a normal order. As it’s not quite sure who owns the right to pictures you’ll have to click this link to see them.

Magnus Reuterdahl

Skokloster Abbey

A few days ago I wrote about a visit to Skokloster castle and published some photos, now it is time for some interior shots.

Sko church was built by the order of Cistercians as the nuns at Byarum in Smaland started to move to Uppland in the 13th century. It’s believed that work started ca 1230, ca 1280 is the inauguration of the high altar of the church, by then the nuns might have moved to Sko. As most medieval churches it has been added to, restored and changed over the centuries.

Skokloster kyrka interiör

Interior Skokloster Abbey

crucifix Skokloster kyrka

Crucifix, made of oak, mid-1200s.

Madonna, made of oak, the child’s head of hardwood, possible from Gotland, first quarter of the 1300s.

The Herman Wrangel monument in the grave Wrangelska choir. The sculpture is made by Daniel Anckermann (German) ca 1650.

Herman Wrangel golden armor

There are two artistic representations of the Battle of Gorzno in Skokloster Abbey, an oil painting and the stucco on the wall of the Wrangel tomb chapel.

The stucco is divided into a lower lot, where the battle scenes take place in a forest and river scenery, and a top where Swedish and Polish armies are seen in bird’s eye view, the Poles on the left and the Swedes on the right side. The stucco is based on a drawing preserved in the war archive, in Stockholm.

The information on the stucco is from an article in Fornvännen 1939 by Wilhelm Nisser; Daniel Anckermans stuckaturer i de Gyllenhemska och Wrangelska gravkoren (pdf in Swedish).

Magnus Reuterdahl

Skokloster castle

Yesterday me and my fianceé visited Skokloster castle, ca 65 km from  Stockholm, by lake Mälaren. The castle is beautifully situated on the waterfront and the roads leading up to the castle are surrounded by old farms and crofts – a treat in it self. The castle is mainly built during the years 1654-1676 by Carl Gustaf Wrangel, but the work never really ends on building such as this.

The castle is more or less built upon an earlier Cistercian nunnery  convent, Sko kloster, which gave named the castle. The monastery was founded in the 1230s, not much is left of the nunnery but the Abbey is situated just next to the castle and the there is the Stone house. The church was consecrated in the 1280s, it has been rebuilt several times and its present appearance came during a renovation in the 1620s.

The Stone house is  a big stone house just next to the castle, its oldest parts are from the 14th century, in form of a basment. The house has since been extended and changed several times and today’s appearance is from the 1740s when Erik Brahe built out and rebuild the house .

Around the castle is a park, in the French style, which is lined with impressive avenues.

The avenue trees are old, crocked and bent, as you can see in these pictures.

The castle and the church is open for visitors, I will return with pictures of the interior in a coming post.

Magnus Reuterdahl

Skaftesfall in Korsberga parish

Then I am in Smaland again and up for some surveying around Skaftesfall some miles south of Vetlanda in Korsberga parish.

Klavreström 4

Our livings quarters is a few miles south of the working area in a small community called Klavrestrom; in a former Klavrestoms Works that opened in 1736. A lot of the buildings are still standing and a museum tells the tale of the works.

Klavreström 2

Klavreström 1

Klavreström 3

Today we did a drive through of the area and did survey one croft and some fossilized acres in its surroundings.

Today’s find (at least for me) was a nice elk cranium (yet another to the collection).

elk cranium

I also found this near buried car carcass, anyone wanna guess the model (or know what model it is)?

car wreck 1

car wreck 2

And on a small cairn in one of the acres I saw snake taking a nap.


Best wishes

Magnus Reuterdahl

Finally Friday

This might sounds awful when one is lucky enough to get to work on an excavation but it’s been a warm week and I feel beat some this weekend will be a lazy one. On Thursday we had a thermometer with us to see how it was; at 2.30 pm it was 44° Celsius in the sun and 33° Celsius in shade.

Today’s find was of course mine (at least in my mind) and has nothing to do with stone age or prehistory but rather the 20th century; a pin or a brooch.



The head is ca 2, 5 x 1, 5 cm and has originally been deep blue around the edges and the boxes are likely to have been gilded bronze or possibly green.

I’ll be back with some pictures of a rock with great rock art from Gota Alv dal.

Magnus Reuterdahl

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