Category Archives: Norrbotten

Steel production in Norrbotten 2200 BP?

In 2007 I participated in a dig in Norrbotten between Kalix and Haparanda, now some of the analyses have been presented for example an archaeometallurgic analysis shows finds of what most probably are steel, which is very interesting as this must be some of the earliest proofs of early steel production as far north as Norrbotten. The dating is ca 2200 BP which is old even in an international perspective, one of the oldest finds is from ca 4000 BP in Turkey. The diffrence between iron and steel is the procentage of coal, in steel the procentage is ca 0,5 -2 %.  I’ve googling a little to find the oldest steel find in Sweden or Scandinavia but haven’t found much more than that the knowledge of steel is from the Iron Age  (in Sweden ca 500 BC – 1050 AD). If anyone knows please write a comment (I would guess that Lars Erik englund might have something in his dissertaion but that is in Stockholm at the moment). I’ll come back to this as I have more information.

Swedish radio aired an interesting interview with archaeologist Carina Bennerhag (in Swedish – the interview starts ca 13 minutes in the program) from Norrbottens museum as a new exhibit opened a few days ago – now I want to go to Luleå and have look at the exhibit and I am awaiting the report and possible articles.

Haparandabanans blog (in Swedish) reports that the report was handed to the county board in marsh (I should know as I still worked there then) for approval so hopefully it ‘ll be availeble soon.

Magnus Reuterdahl

at the end of the line…

It’s the last day at the Norrbotten county administrative board in Lulea. It’s always a bit sad leaving; friends, colleagues and the place itself – It’s the feeling of nostalgia – the finality of it all; this is my last day at the office, the last time I walk this way to work etc.

In this case though I have a new challenge to look forward to; a new job – it’s not been to often that one goes from one archaeology job to the next – most often it’s been a few months working odd jobs or being unemployed. And this makes it a lot easier – to know a little bit about the immediate future

I’ll miss Norrbotten and Lulea, I’ll miss new friends and acquaintance, surroundings and work tasks. There are still a lot of things I would like to see and explore up here – and that will make sure that I return as a tourist or for jobs.

Bye Bye Lulea, Bye Bye Norrbotten county administrative board

Magnus Reuterdahl

A prolongation of employment

It seems I’ll stay for at least another month ’til the end of April as I got offered a prolongation of my employment at the County Administrative Board in Norrbotten.

So perhaps I’ll see a Norrbottnian spring as well as a winter. It’s been nice to have had a real winter; with lots of snow and cold temperatures. Down south where I’ve spent most my winters the winter is more of a period of grey; a perpetual mix of fog, rain, sometimes snow and thaw.

Later this month I’m going to Thessaloniki (Θεσσαλονίκη) in Greece for a few days, if anyone has tips of must visit sites in Thessaloniki please write a comment.

Magnus Reuterdahl

I am open to suggestions!

As it looks now; the coming Monday will be the start of my last month in Norrbotten County, at least for this time.  So in about a month I will be back in Stockholm – this has both pros and cons, it will be nice to come home but I will miss colleagues, work and newly acquired friends.

So it is high time to start job hunting. Luckily there are some openings, a few museums are looking for staff for the upcoming season and a couple of substitutes and also there are a few ads regarding employment at a couple of County Administrative Boards and at an archaeological entrepreneur.

This also means that it is time to update my CV and write something smart about myself. I’ve begun to contacting a few selected museums, archaeological entrepreneurs and County Administrative Boards that I would like to be associated with or work with.

This time around I’ve also turned to the international market and applied for a job at Museum of London; which could be very exacting.

In other words, I am open to suggestions! (Preferably regarding archeology or osteology).

Well I’ve got a month left of employment so I’ll know what to with my time, and luckly I also got a few days of vacation to use before March 31st; This will be used for among other things a trip to Thessaloniki in Greece at the end of the month.

Magnus Reuterdahl

Door to Door


I’ve taken up the habit of walking through the rows of church cabins in Gammelstads Kyrkstad (church town) during the weekends. The silence and void of people makes you flinch at sudden movements or sounds and it is easy to let your thoughts wander. When I walked around the other day I noticed something I hadn’t before. A repeating pattern of some sort, I realised that most doors wore a resemblance. Certain normative symbols appeared every other step; triangles, squares etc. So I started to make a small survey in my head, grouping them according to appearances. I also took some photos of them. Now I did not look at all doors nor did I pass all cabins so this is quite summarily but it still gave a result; I identified four groups of doors.

The most usual one is the one with triangle at the top and standing panel on the bottom(ca 20)




The second group is a more classic door with X numbers of panels(ca 15)




Then I found a couple of doors with a fish bone pattern(2)



And one with a rounded archway(1)


As you can see the frequency show that some are more common than others. The cabins in them self are often quite simple, the red painted panels are from the beginning of the 20th century, but the outer doors and the window frames are more elaborated.


When one looks in between the cottages there are those who have a more old-fashioned appearance as well as some walls that have no panels.



There is a kind of beauty in those ruff edges and weather-beaten walls that has stood the test of time just as it is a bit ghost like as no one lives in them. They’re empty, silent, closed in by walls of snow and deserted ‘til the next church festival or festivity.


Magnus Reuterdahl

Top of the (anthro)blogs and such and more

A short stop in Stockholm and a short post to start the 09 posting, nothing much just some thoughts ideas and updates.

It’s just a few days left of the vacation and then it is back to Luleå and work, well it could be worse, I actually looking forward on work again.


I’ll be back in time I promise!

I’ve got a few interesting posts on the go but you gotta hold your horses for a few days ’til I get reinstalled in Gammelstad again.

In the mean time;

Check out Neuroanthropology for the Best of Anthroblogging 2008. Lots and lots of great blogs and blogpots to read. Testimony of the spade got two awards in the cathegories; best photos (shared with Urbi et Orbi) and Best fieldtrip (shared with The Ideophone). Thanks for all the work! 

I’ve found a great tool to keep up to date on what is happening in the archaeoblogs world; Alltop: All the top archaeology news. Check it out!

I also take the opportunity to present Mick Morrison’s archaeology blog, he sent in a post to 4SH but a few days late. I’ll give you the opportunity to find it here instead, the post would have fitted in beautifully in the carnival, it regards google earth and academic publishing. Mick’s an archaeologist based in Cairns, north east Australia and has a great blog open for us all. 

Best wishes

Magnus Reuterdahl

Two papers on the Struve Geodetic Arc

Some time ago I got an interesting response on the posts Struve Geodetic Arc part 1 and part 2. Vitali Kaptüg sent me two papers on the Struve Meridian. Thanks!

I of course got interested in who Vitali Kaptüg is, he is from Russia and is the secretary to the Board of the St. Petersburg Society for Surveying & Mapping and was in charge with the compilation of the national documents for the FIG-UNESCO project “Struve Geodetic Arc” (SGA).

My desk’s been a bit over crowed the last few weeks but now I’ve read the papers that if I’ve understand are either based on two seminars held at  FIG Working Week 2008 in Stockholm earlier this summer or written for the occation.

Paper # 1; On Comparison of the three Meridian Arcs in Lapland. 

  • – The paper concerns the accuracies of the historic measurements made by Maupertuis, Svanberg and Selander in the 18th and 19th century. The first two measurements are well documented whilst the last is less known.


  • – To asses the measurements re-measurement has been used. In this case it was possible as the previous measurer had marked their point in different ways, for examples crosses in the bedrock, church towers etc. Though some are easy to find some are more difficult and others are lost.


  • – The comparison shows that all measurements are pretty close and demonstrates a successively improving technique of measurement.

Though the text is somewhat technical it is rather easy to understand, it gives a good picture how the measurements was done, their strength and weaknesses and the results. It’s a combination of social history and natural science. The mathematic and the formulas flew a bit over my head, but all in all an interesting paper on if nothing else science history.

Paper #2;  Index of field and other important manuscripts relating to the Scandinavian segment of the world heritage monument “Struve Geodetic Arc2”. 

  • – In this paper Kaptüg presents the result of archive studies in Russia, Norway and Sweden regarding the field works carried out between 1845-1852.


  • – SGA operations were carried out over a period of 40 years, from 1816-1855 so the archive material is vast.


  • – In the article the archives of interest is presented, a where to find what guide.


  • – Kaptüg believes that he has identified and found most of the documents that has survived in Russia. The work has shown that there are interesting documents to be found in Norway and Sweden, hopefully, at least there is proof of that it has existed, for example “22 hæften Selanders och Agardhs och Skogsmans gradmåtningsjournaler I Lappland 1846-1852″ (22 booklets Selander’s and Agradh’s and Skogman’s latitude measurement journals in Lappland 1846-1852) which is said to hold a complete amount of the field registers relating to the SGA Lapland segment.

Perhaps not as easy to read as the first, it’s more of an account but still it holds some interesting facts regarding the measurements, where to find more information etc.

I found a lot of information that I hadn’t before which has give a better background and understanding of how the work was carried out and about the effort these pioneers did.

Many thanks to Vitali Kaptüg for the articles

Magnus Reuterdahl

Osteo treasures somewhat related to Santa

Some months ago while out in field, a few miles north of the polar circle, I found the remains of Santa’s little helper; in other words a reindeer (Rangifer tarandus).  


The Mandible





The ulna and radius are closely linked though not fused like the Bovines.


 A vertebrae





Parts of the pelvis – one half os coxae


 and the os sacrum.


Os talus


Metatarsal bone

 rangifer-tarandus-hoof b


Phalanges number I-3


And at last this is what he/she looked like when alive.

 Magnus Reuterdahl

Struve Geodetic Arc part 2

I am sorry to say that I had to cancel, or postpone, my trip to the survey point at Alanen Perävaara due to the weather.

As I wrote in my previous post the Struve Arc is a chain of survey triangulations points. It stretches from Hammerfest in Norway to the Black Sea and covers more than 2,800 km. The world heritage is made up by 34 of the original 265 survey points of which four are in Sweden on the mountains Tynnyrilaki, Jupukka, Pullinki, and Perävaara in the municipalities Haparanda, Kiruna, Pajala and Övertorneå in Tornedalen. The Struve Arc was made a UNESCO world heritage in 2005.

In the beginning of 19th century the German-Russian astronomer Wilhelm von Struve (1793-1864) decided to triangulate the exact form and size of the Earth. The survey was carried out between 1816 and 1855. All in all he used 265 measure points 30 km apart from each other, from in Hammerfest Norway to Izmail at the Black Sea. The measurements proved that the latitudes were ca ten meter less wide in Scandinavia than at the equator, thus proving that the Earth was oval rather than round. The project started in Russia 1816, in Sweden it started in the 1840’s and was finally finishes at the Pulkovo observatory where the finishing calculations where made.

Struve’s measurement wasn’t the first attempt to investigate whether the earth was oval or round; in 1745 the royal French academy of sciences sent an expedition to Peru and another to the Sweden led by in De Maupertuis. The expedition came to Tornedalen (Torne valley) in 1736 and included among others Anders Celsius and was finished in 1737. Jöns Svanberg during continued the work during 1800-1804.

Magnus Reuterdahl

The Struve Geodetic Arc

I’ve been somewhat neglecting Testimony of the spade for the better part of a week and a half, but posts are coming. I had planned to visit the world heritage Struve Geodetic Arc, at least one of the points, but since there has come snow we’ll have to see about that.

I must confess I had no idea what Struve Geodetic Arc was or that it was a world heritage before I stumbled across it during work. I got interested and have done some general research into the matter to get a picture of what Struve Geodetic Arc really is. In short The Struve Arc is a chain of survey triangulations. It stretches from Hammerfest in Norway to the Black Seaand covers more than 2,800 km. The heritage is made up by 34 of the original 265 survey points. The survey was carried out between 1816 and 1855 by the astronomer Friedrich Georg Wilhelm Struve and was the first accurate measuring of a long segment of a meridian. Four of the points are situated in Sweden; they can be found on the mountains Tynnyrilaki, Jupukka, Pullinki, and Perävaara in the municipalities Haparanda, Kiruna, Pajala and Övertorneå in Tornedalen.

The visit I have in mind is at Alanen Perävaara in Haparanda municipally. It should be a 3-4 km hike to the spot that supposedly is marked by a cross and a cairn, but the weather is a factor if I’ll go or not.

A map of the can survey be found here.

Magnus Reuterdahl

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