What do an archaeologist do when he isn’t excavating? We do quite a lot of things – some obvious some less so. We write reports on the field works, we analyze the finds we’ve made, we attend meetings, we write survey and excavation plans, we attend meetings etc.
This week I’ve mainly been indoors preparing for a work next week’s work just outside Västervik. There’s a lot that needs to be seen to before you begin digging into the cultural layers. In this case I hadn’t done the excavation plan myself – so first there was some reading up, to get to know the area, what’s, what preps had been done etc. e.g. what I need to do. The work is the first step in the Swedish archaeological process an archaeological investigation; this means a survey of the area and on occasion we also dig search shafts in order to find remnants hidden underground – as will do in this particular job.
First things first – living arrangements; I got a hold of livening quarters just by the site – two minutes to my work area, lunch at home etc… luxury 🙂
Next order of business getting hold of a rover (a RTK Instrument) – a kind of multi-GPS, a backhoe and make sure that all tools are in place such as shovels, hoes, helmets, pads, tracing paper, etc.
Finally there are the question of other things that might be hidden underground – cables, wires, tubes etc. All to make sure all you guys still have an internet connection, electricity and water.
Well now all is done, I hope, so next week is field week 🙂
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.
This week will be a GIS kind of week for me, a lot o f measuring with the rover and the total station and processing the data and in between helping out in the search pits. As winter’s approaching the days are getting shorter, the weather in itself posses small or no problem but the light does, as the time with sufficient working light becomes shorter. It also means that we start early, I getting up at 05.30 which is not my preferred time to get up; I just seem to want to curl up under bed sheets and sleep for just a little longer.
Well off we go
A new week in the field awaits. Last week we managed to do a lot of work but there’s still plenty to do. We’ve dug a lot of search pits, ca 5-10 m in length 1,5-2 m in width and 0,4-0,5 m in depth, to delimit two grave fields. Between these grave fields earlier archaeological investigations has identified urn graves, urns filled with cremated bones, charcoal etc and dug into the ground. We’ve rediscovered these and found a few more. One thought was that these two grave fields might have been one but there seems to be an area ca 50-75 m in between with no graves, though this is just a preliminary assessment as we still have some search pits to dig before we are done.
In another parts of the area we’ve done search pits in order to find a possible settlement, in the first we’ve found nothing but in the other a few interesting finds have been done. More on that as it develops.
For me this week will be one in company with a Rover (network RTK) from Trimble (R8) as there are a lot of test pits to be measured.
As you can see on my boots they tend to become rather heavy as the mud sticks to them as glue.
Now, all I hope for is decent weather but it doesn’t look all that promising. So its another week in rain gear and long underwear.
The excavation continues under a burning hot sun which makes it a bit difficult for two reasons; the heat makes it hard to work and the soil dries up which makes it difficult to keep the different the layers apart.
In the southern end (the medieval part?) a lot has happened, in the beginning we believed that there were remains after two buildings, one of these is still considered to be a building while the other probably is part of a collapsed wall.
The formation we earlier believed to be the remains of a building. In front of the structure is what we think is part of a clay floor.
As you can see on the picture below we have identified part of a wall that we believe is connected to a cellar found in the 60’s that might be of medieval origin.
Today we also started on the structures from the 17th or 18th century in the northern part of the shaft. This is the remains of an oven of some sort, among the finds in the top layer are pieces of glass, iron nails, some ceramics etc.
A more detailed report is planned for the weekend.
As I promised a few pictures from the dig. This post mainly holds pictures, a little more info about the excavation is available in the last post.
The site seen from the east with dome’s church tower in the background.
The site seen from the south, the medieval structures are in the south part of the picture.
The northern part holds structures we believe are from the 17th or 18th century.
A medieval brick with stamps that has been reused in the newer structures.
A few of the finds, a part of a clay pipe and coin from the 1890’s; 2öre.
The excavation is being carried out by Östergötlands County Museum
That’s all for now