Tag Archives: Arkeologi

Hot diggity dang!!!

Last week we whilst doing an archaeological investigation, stage II, at Öland we found this stone cist. It was about time we came back with some real results and this one is a beaut’. It wasn’t visible above ground but as you can see it is more or less undamaged just below the plow depth.

It is probably from to early Iron Age and as it’s only about 1,50 m long it might be a child burial. More info and pics are available at Kalmar County museum blog (in Swedish).

Magnus Reuterdahl

Finnish archaeologist has unearthed a 7 000 year old grave in Osterbothnia

Through a Finnish friend I got notice on this interesting find. And to all you Finns out there forgive me if I’ve misinterpreted parts of this, and if so please correct me 🙂

Finish researchers has found a new model of Stone Age grave – at least new for Finland. A rectangular stone setting; 4×5 meter. It has been excavated this summer by Finnish archaeologist Teemu Mökkösen. The grave is situated in Keelaharjussa in northern Ostrobothnia.

According to the article this is the only grave of its kind in Finland. It’s filled with red ochre and has been dated to circa 5000 years BC, which makes it one of Finland’s oldest graves.

A few similar graves have been excavated in the north of Sweden, in Norrbotten. Late Stone Age graves for example at Lillberget and Ansvar etc. But somewhere in the back of my mind I believe I’ve read about similar graves in Finland before, though there is probably something special about this one, or it might be that this is the only one that has been dated or has the oldest dating.

If you know what please write a comment.

Nerveless it’s an exiting find. I felt quite pleased earlier today as me and my collegue had found a stone cist grave, though it feels a little petty in comparison – it’s not that unusal and its Iron Age so it’s a lot younger… can’t get it all can you!

Source; an article in HS.fi – a Finish newspaper.

Magnus Reuterdahl

Two reports away

Then my first reports for Kalmar County museum are up on the museum webpage for downloading (pdf style). They’re both in Swedish. As the results were more or less 0 I don’t expect any big rush. But as it is said a no-result is also a result.

The first concerns an archaeological evaluation in Västervik Municipality; Arkeologi på Hornslandet II. Särskild arkeologisk utredning, etapp II 2011. Del av fastigheten Horn 1:619 m fl i Västrum socken,Västerviks kommun, Kalmar län, Småland. Kalmar läns museum, Arkeologisk rapport 2011:9. The second concerns an archaeological evaluation in Mörbylånga Municipality; Ett stolphål i Eriksöre. Särskild arkeologisk utredning 2011. Del av fastigheterna Eriksöre 5:1, 6:1 och 6:14, Torslunda socken, Mörbylånga kommun, Kalmar län, Öland. Arkeologisk rapport 2011:10

Magnus Reuterdahl

Kalmar County Museum blog – a new home away from home

Kalmar County Museum blog Arkeologi i Kalmar län (Archaeology in Kalmar County) is a blog regarding the work that is beeing carried out by the archaeology division at the museum. Which I’m now a part of. I’ve just posted my first blog post for Kalmar County Museum (In Swedish) – go check it out 🙂

This does in no way mean I’ll quite this one – but I will post, on and off – in Swedish, posts regarding my current work at Arkeologi i Kalmar län. On this blog it’s as always my thoughts and words which not necessarily are the same as my employers.

Magnus Reuterdahl

En svensk uppdragsarkeologisk klassiker/A Swedish contract archaeological classic

This post will follow in English.

Som arkeolog är man tvungen att flytta runt, att jobba som projektanställda och att hela tiden planera framåt. Vad händer efter nästa jobb, projekt eller kurs?

Nu är inte allt negativt med detta, man får möjlighet att se mycket av vårt vackra land, uppleva olika kulturmiljöer och träffa mängder med fantastiska människor.

En sak som ofta kommer upp var och eller för vem man jobbat och i samband med detta började vi diskutera vem som gjort en svensk uppdragsarkeologisk klassiker. Dvs jobbat på Riksantikvarieämbetets arkeologiska uppdrags verksamhet (UV), ett länsmuseum , ett privat företag och för en stiftelse. För att göra det ytterligare mer exklusivt jobbat i minst ett län i södra, mellersta respektive norra Sverige samt arbetat antingen som inventetare eller annan special funktion, på en länsstyrelse eller som handläggare på riksantikvarieämbetet. Jag har inte nått upp till detta… än. Jag saknar en stiftelse och UV i min portfölj – hur är det med dig?

Har du genomfört en svensk uppdragsarkeologisk klassiker eller känner någon som gjort det, eller tycker du att något saknas som bör ingå i en klassiker? Lämna en kommentar!

Obs detta är skrivet på min HTC så jag ber om ursäkt för eventuella stavfel!

Magnus Reuterdahl

As an archaeologist you have to move around a lot, to work in projekt and konstanta plan ahead. What will happen next after this job, projekt or course.

Now there are positive sides to this drifter kind of life such as the possibily to see and experience our respective countries and perhaps more, to see and study different cultural historic areas and to meet loads of interesting people.

One thing that is often discussed are where, with and for whom we worked. At one time some of us came up with the notion of a Swedish contract archaeological classic, I guess this might be translateble to most countries. In Sweden this might be someone who had worked for the National Heritage Board’s contract department (UV), a county museum, a private company and a foundation. To make it more exclusive you should also have worked in at least one county in the south, middle and north of Sweden and have worked on a survey or other special function, at a county board or as an officer at the national Heritage Board.

I haven’t made a classic… yet! For me an employment at UV and a foundation is still missing.

If you have done this, or a similar classic in your country, or have thoughts on if something is missing – please leave a comment.

This is written on my HTC phone, so please excuse any misspellings.

Magnus Reuterdahl

A few words on prehistoric and historic wine imports, etc.

Detta inlägg finns på svenska på min vinblogg Aqua Vitae (This post is a translation from Swedish that was originally posted at my wine blog Aqua Vitae)

The Stockholm wine puller guilds emblem

A few weeks ago I wrote about the discovery of a unique wine bottle, found on the sea bed of the Stockholm archipelago in the 1940s and was rediscovered in Vin- och Sprithistoriska museet (the Wine and Spirits Historical Museum) collections a couple weeks ago, read more here. Since then, I been reading up a little on Scandinavian wine imports in prehistoric and historic times, read about vindragarna (the wine pullers) and their guild here (in Swedish), and got hold of some information that I present below. This is but a few scattered notes.

An interesting detail that the Groot Constantia bottle tells us is that wine was imported by the bottle. I have previously thought wine to be primarily imported in barrels or the like and then bottled in this country before sale. There are several examples of this, for example in the archaeological record from the neighbourhoods Apeln and Diplomaten in the city Jönköping – where archaeologist found several shards from bottles and bottle seals made in the Björkenäs glass works on Värmdö (1736-1786), outside of Stockholm. Björknäs glass works made bottles for wine and spirits among other things. The excavation was made by Jönköping County museum a few years ago.

Groot Constanz wine bottle

Via the Wine and Spirits Historical Museum in Stockholm I got an article by Karen Hjort describing the family Schulin’s wine cellar during the 1700s. The article is based on documents from Frederiksdal castle archives in Denmark. The oldest list is from 1744 and  about 50 years older than the bottle found in the Stockholm archipelago. It runs through until 1808. Records show which wines you might expect to find in a bourgeois family in Scandinavia at this time, but also from which countries they imported wine. Johan Sigismund Schulin (1694-1750) had worked in the Executive Board of generalpostamtet (the Post) in Denmark, he was secretary of the German Kancelli etc and finished his career as a contemporary equivalent of foreign minister.

In the first note 504 bottles are quoted: 9 ½ bottles of unfamiliar wine, three samples (a bit unsure of what is meant by sample but it’s not bottles) of Madeira, three samples of Mosel and Rhinsk wine, one Rhone wine, one Burgundy wine and ½ bottle of cherry wine, 83 bottles of English beer and 6 ½ bottle juice. In addition to this there are three oksehoveder (a measure) and 2 ahn and an one anchor rhinsk wine, translated this should be about 700 liters of red wine and 340 liters of Rhine wine. On the list is also mentioned usquebak which is synonymous with whiskey. Among the types of wine are notes of red wines, Pontac, Hermitage, Burgundier, Riinsk wine, French wine, Muscatvin, Samosvin, Mathers, Cote Roti, Constanze, Capvine, Hvid Capvin, Ungarsk wine, Syracuservin, Florentiervin, Peter Semeng etc.

I found this translation table on the measurement oksehoved from 1647 for wine (obviously different dimensions for different products) = 1 ½ Amme = 6 anchor = 240 potter = about 232.5 litres.

A quick glance at these facts shows that there are wines from several regions and countries – many of which still today are among the major regions. Wines from South Africa – the Constanza is there as well – that’s the winery that produced the wine in the bottle found outside of Stockholm. It is mentioned that there is both red and white Contstanz. The white sweet wine was the more famous. In the second half of the 1700s, the Constanz wine, and then the white sweet in particular, became hugely popular among the European aristocracy and was so until the 1880s when wine production in South Africa was hit by phylloxera.

Later on in the documents one can find several other interesting comments such as wines from more other regions, such as Margaux and Médoc, and names of wine merchants, such as Toyon. In total 2799 bottles made its way through the cellar between 1744-1808.

Let’s goback some years in time to the Swedish Middle Ages (1050-1523 AD). In Hans Hildebrands book Sverige Medletiden (Sweden the Middle Ages) it is stated the following on beer and wine; Beer plays the biggest role and can be called the national drink of the time, but wine is also mentioned. The first mention is regarding the funeral of Birger Persson in 1328 AD when three kinds of wine were served; white wine, Rhine wine and red wine from La Rochelle. During the 1500s there are references to wines from Klarethe (Claret, Clairet = Bordeaux), Malmarsey (possibly Italy and wines from grapes Malvasia), from Romani in Spain, Odersberg in Schleisen and from Thorn in Germany. The Wine imports in 1539 were nearly 50 000 litres – compared to Systembolaget’s (the Swedish Monopoloy) sales of wine in 2010 that amounted to 182 471 261 liters (Link in Swedish). In the encyclopedia Medeltidens ABC (the ABC of the Middle Ages), it is said that wine was imported by the aristocracy and the church, the majority of the wine came from Germany. From this book you can also get an idea of the price of wine at 14th century in Sweden. The wine from La Rochelle that were served at the funeral in 1328 costed 12 mark penningar per barrel (ca 150 litres), while the Rhine wine costed about 8 mark penningar per barrel. Compare this with the salary of a craftsman at the time which was about 45 mark penningar/year + food and drink or a farm labourer who earned about one mark penningar money for the summer and half a mark penningar during the winter months at the time. Wine was a luxury product and not for the common man.

The wines are usually shipped in heavy wooden barrels, which made long-distance wine trade in principle only possible through waterways. The long journeys often made the delicate wine go bad. Because of this it was often seasoned with ginger, cloves and or nutmeg. Another popular combination was Klaret and Rhine wine seasoned with sugar, honey, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and cloves. Then the wine was trickled from the spices, King Gustav Vasa’s (1496-1560 AD) court had it’s own brewer for this, Kilian Vintappare. Another type of spiced wine was Lutendank, a spiced wine mixed with milk (I’m pretty sure I don’t want to taste that!).

There are written sources and archaeological materials that indicate that wine was imported to Scandinavia before the Middle ages. During the Viking Age one can guess that the Vikings came in contact with wine during their journeys to Greece, France and Spain etc, but also through the travels through today’s Russia to the Black Sea and back. When Sweden became Christian during the late Viking Age and the early Middle Ages the wine import became institutionalized as the Church needed wine for communion.

The history of wine begins, however, long before this – the oldest traces have been dated to about 6000 BC. It is believed that the oldest wines were red and the white wines were added later. An early exampel of white wine is that found in amphoraes in Tutankhamen (death cirka1339 BC) tomb. As wine became a commodity it had to be transported and sealed. In antiquity they were transported in amphorae, which were sealed with pitch or resin. Sometimes they were provided with a layer of olive oil on top of the wine’s surface, as in the German example below. They also stirred down different spices and sulfur in order to extend the life of the wine. During the Roman Empire they began to store and transport the wine in barrels (wooden barrels) besides the traditional way of amphorae.

©Historisches Museum der Pfalz

That wine was transported in antiquity is obvious – there are plenty of amphorae around the Mediterranean as proof of that. The oldest complete wine bottle with contents is in the Historical Museum of Palatinate in Germany. It is a ca 1600 years old Roman wine bottle with dolphin-shaped handles, dating to 325 AD. It was found in a Roman stone sarcophagus during excavations 1867. Amazingly, there were and still is some liquid remaining in it, two thirds is viscous and probably some kind of olive oil poured in for preservative reasons. They have also found traces of honey. Underneath this was residues of wine. The contents were analysed in 1916 by senior inspector Schmidt and Professor Halenke. The result showed that it most likely contained wine together with olive oil. Further analysis was done in1934 and 1937/1938 by Professor Grüß and Professor von Stockmann in Berlin. Their findings were never published and was lost, unfortunately, during World War II. The museum’s former director, Dr. Karl Schulz wrote in the 50’s that during the analysis they found scent of aromatic wine. The taste is unknown – no one has tasted the wine. There are currently no plans for new analysis.

The wine bottle can be seen in the “Weinmuseum” as part of the permanent exhibition at the Historical Museum of the Palatinate in Speyer. The image is reproduced with the authorization of the museum.

Link to the Historical museum of the Palatinate (Historisches Museum der Pfalz)

A big thanks goes to the Historisches Museum der Pfalz for information and accessrights to the image.

Magnus Reuterdahl


Hjort, Karen 2003. En fornem vinlaelder. Siden Saxo 2003:01. Danmark

Hildebrand, Hans (1983 nytryck). Sveriges Medeltid, del 2, Städerna.

Medeltidens ABC

Muntliga källor

Claes Pettersson, Jönköpings läns museum

Ludger Tekampe, Historisches Museum der Pfalz

CAA SE work-shop in Stockholm

Some time ago a section for CAA, Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology, started in Sweden. I just found out that they hold a workshop on Monday January 31st – on GIS data, in Stockholm. I’ll participate in this. For more information see their group page at LinkedIn.

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.

Excavating in a snow storm

My future colleagues, from tomorrow onwards, got to experience excavating in a snow storm today. Whilest I on the other hand has spent the day indoors looking out on the snow storm. Tomorrow I’ll join the fun. Though, now, the temperature is ca 0 degrees and climbing – so tomorrow it will probably be a big mud puddle instead, in other word I’ll be down and dirty.

In Sweden we excavate as long as possible and as the country is rather long (N-S) it’s often possible to dig all year round in the south and the further north you go the season gets shorter. There are several tools to use as it gets colder to prolong the season; such as thermo blankets, tents and in worse case scenarios electric blankets – to keep the earth from freezing. Of course it’s never optimal to dig if there is snow or rain, but it is doable – with good results.

Today, though, I’m glad that I’m indoors and I’ll pray to the patron of Archaeologists for better weather the coming weeks.

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

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