Category Archives: settlements

Ancient times along the Swedish east coast – An archaeological seminar in Blankaholm

As I check my back-log I see that I need to blog more about archaeology, but it seems that time just haven’t been there. During the coming weekend there will be time for archaeology though as it is time for the 5th annual archaeological seminar in Blankaholm – much thanks to Michael Dahlin.

The schedule holds 14 interesting seminars and it’s always fun to meet other archaeologists and archeo-buffs.

  • Michael Dahlin – On rhombic axes, from the late Bronze Age and their contexts in Kalmar County.
  • Gustaf Wollentz – On the future within the cultural heritage sector
  • Emelie Svenman – Beyond the grave – a georapahic analysis of the Bronze Age in Tjust
  • Kenneth Alexandersson – In the Age of Tingby. Mesolithics in Möre.
  • Lars-Erik Nilsson – the language of the rock art makers
  • Joakim Goldhahn – The rock art in Tjust – five years later
  • Michel Guinard, Mattias Pettersson & Roger Wikell – Early Mesolithic (flint) chips and their context
  • Helena Victor – Sandby borg at Öland – focusing on an ancient fortress
  • Helena Wilhelmsson – Archaeology captured in the moment – the osteological traces of the massacre at Sandby borg, ancient fortress, at Öland
  • Emelie Sunding – The residential district Gesällen – crafts and households in the 17th Century Kalmar
  • Ludvig Papmehl-Dufay – Back to the Tingby settlement
  • Patrik Gustavsson – A ship filled with goods – early Neolithic graves in Sörmland
  • Karl-Oskar Erlandsson – News from Kalmar County AdministrativeBoard – An archaeological report records and historic village sites
  • Anna Lögdqvist & Roger Wikell – Torshammarringar (rings with ritual symbols sometimes connected to Thor) seen in bigger geographic circles

14 seminars in two days and a great meeting place to discuss whats new and old in prehistorics! 😀

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


Last in line

Tomorrow is the last day at Skepplanda 32 and most of the work will concern dismantling the excavation site, packing and finishing up.

Today we finished one of the larger hearths at Skepplanda 32, it was ca 4 m in diameter and ca 0,5 m deep.

Skepplanda 32 hearth

We didn’t find many artefacts in it but I found this nice cylindrical flint core, where the hearth met the sand.

 Flint core 2

Flint core

Flint core 3

Another nice find today was our second arrow head made of quartz.

 arrow head quartz

As I said tomorrow is the last day and then it’s up to Stockholm for a week worth of vacation.

Magnus Reuterdahl


We’re close to the finishing line

Skepplanda 32 hearth

The Skepplanda 32 excavation is beginning to come to an end – only two days left. We’ve made a lot of interesting finds during the excavation and these last few days we also found some hearts and cocking pits whereof some might be Neolithic. Several of them looks like they’re from the Iron Age but we’ve made some finds that indicatives that they possibly are from the Stone Age. Today I found this arrow head (type C) belonging to last phase of the pitted ware culture in a hearth.

Skepplanda 32 arrow head C type

Today I took a few moments to look at the view over Gota Alv (river Gota) it’s magnificent. The scenery is nothing like that the people of the middle neolitic saw as this was in the archipelago at the time and the sea level met the beach right were here. On that they made hearths, hunted seal, fished and possibly lived, at least for a while.

Skepplanda 32 view

Well all good things have an end and it’s been a good dig. Coming up next is a week of vacation and then it is of Ostergotland for more work.

Magnus Reuterdahl


Magnus in action

It’s not often I publish pictures of myself here at Testimony of the spade but I got these pictures of me in the field taken by fellow archaeologist Joel Berglund and I thought it might be a good idea to give evidence that I actually do some work as well as blogging. Here I am behind Totte (Swedish nickname for Total station) at the Skepplanda excavation.

Magnus Reuterdahl Skepplanda

Photo © Joel Berglund 2009
Magnus Reuterdahl Skepplanda
Photo © Joel Berglund 2009

Not about archaeology but perhaps not far away of becoming an artifact.

Have a nice weekend!

Magnus Reuterdahl


Skepplanda day 9

 Today dark clouds covered the sky and the rain have been falling more or less the whole day, most of the time in form of a drizzle. Now this does not stop an archaeologist in the field all that happens is that you get dirty.

Among other things I found this nice double edged flint scrape.

double edged flint scrape

I also found my peaked cap that I lost a few days ago, I’ve been morning it a little as it’s been my companion the last few years in the field and has a really good fit. But on my way to the local supermarket what did I find if not my cap – some nice soul had hanged it on a pole – Thank you whoever you are!

 my cap

It’s been ruffed up a bit but nothing the washer won’t be able to fix.

Magnus Reuterdahl


A theme song for a Stone Age excavation

Day 8 at the Skepplanda 32 excavation dealt a mixed hand; a bit of rain, a good deal of sun and some wind to top it off. It all started with horses though, two had escaped and was finding our excavation site a nice enough place (sorry no photos).

view skepplanda 32 

Obviously not all that glimmer in the ground is from the Pitted Ware Culture (ca 3200 – 2300 BC), today we found an arrow head from the late Neolithics (ca 2350 -1700 BC).

 arrow head skepplanda 32

arrow head skepplanda 32 2

Magnus Reuterdahl


Through the eye of the Geodimeter

 a look

The excavation continues, though a lot of nice flints and some ceramics we’ve still haven’t found any traces of the settlement itself, no postholes, no cocking pits and no hearths. Well we’ve found one hearth but it’s probably Iron Age and not Stone Age though a C14 analysis will settle that at a later date. The flints and the ceramics are from the Neolithic pitted ware culture.

 Skepplanda 32 excavation

At the moment it’s my task to excavate and document it; as seen on the picture below the SW quadrant have been dug so far, ca 1 x 1 m and 0,15 m deep. I’ve only found a few scattered flints at the bottom of the hearth, if they are part of the hearth or not is anyone’s guess at the moment; if they are it might be Stone Age if they aren’t it’s probably of a newer date.

 hearth skepplanda 32

As you can see there are a lot of stones, most affected by the fire and found in a layer filled with ash and coal.

This afternoon I got a curious visitor, a slow worm (Anguis fragilis) or in kopparorm (in Swedish) is a lizard that in Sweden is called a snake and in English a worm.

 slow worm kopparorm kopparödla

Returning to the title of this post. At this dig I’ve been appointed head of measurements; which means I constantly needs to find measure slaves (people to hold the lath), though the instrument isn’t the newest it is kind of nice to relax behind it and watch people run around at your whim.

 total station

Magnus Reuterdahl


A few finds

skepplanda_s32

A few finds from Skepplanda 32. The majority of the finds are different kinds of flints;

 flint square arrow head and chip

A square flint arrow head and a small flint chip (ca 15 mm x 3 mm)

 flint knife

A flint knife

 flint scrape

A flint scrape

 flint chip

A flint chip

These are just a few of our finds, most finds are flints that are raw material, of bad quality, possibly waste material etc. The settlemnet and these findings are tentatively dated as about 5000 years old, we hope to find hearths or other foundations that can help us date the settlement with a better certainty.

If you happen to be in Sweden around Gothenburg you are welcome to visit our dig, we (Arkeologicentrum) have daily tours at 12.30 Monday to Friday (Information in Swedish on how to find us are availble in this pdf; Flygblad_Skepplanda_32, please contact me if you want this in English) july 2 – july 16th.

Magnus Reuterdahl


Skepplanda 32; the beginning of the end

It’s been a hot couple of days with lots of sun, but all is well in Skepplanda due to lots and lots of water and some nice finds that keeps the spirits high.

In this picture at the S part of the settlement a search shaft has been made wherein we’ve found several nice flints, among them a few arrow heads and next to it in a newer search pit (not seen in this picture) we’ve found parts of a stone axe.

 Skepp32 1

In this picture is the NNW part within a part of arable land, used up until last year.

Skepp32 2

This part of the field we ploughed and then harrowed. As it has been ploughed up until now the ploughing init self does not harm the settlement, after the harrowing we’ve field walked the area and collected finds, mostly flints and measured them with a total station, from this we can see the spread of finds within the area. These finds are not in its orginal place but show general patterns. We will harrow the field three times and do field walks to get a good picture then we’ll start to excavate this area.

Best wishes

Magnus Reuterdahl


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