Tag Archives: Linköping

Day of Archaeology Sweden – 25th year anniversary!

Arkeologidagen (Swedish word) or Day of Archaeology is an annual event in Sweden, celebrating its 25th consecutive year. All over Sweden the National Heritage board, the County museums and other excavating companies, foundations and universities shows part of their work for the public, usually by opening up an excavation-site to the public, by giving lectures or by giving tours.

This year Day of Archaeology is on Sunday August 26th .

In Östergötland County you can visit the excavations at Linköpings castle where Östergötland museum are excavating a tower foundation, dated to ca 1100-1300 AD (read more here) or visit the excavations done by the National Heritage board, UV Öst, at Askeby monastery (read more here). In Norrköping Stiftelsen Kulturmiljövård opens up the excavation site at the quarter Mjölnaren where parts of the medieval and historic part of the town is excavted (read more here). Another event in Norrköping is held by the rock art museum Himmelstalund that gives guided tours of the rock art area (read more here).

And more… this is but a few of the things happening, keep a look out for more! If you are in another part of Sweden check the local museum or the National Heritage board webpagefor some of the activities.

OBS – All links are in Swedish, but that’s normally readable with a little help of google translate etc.

Magnus Reuterdahl

Black hawk up & The Swedish Air Force Museum in Linköping

As we said good bye to a colleague that goes into retirement we visited the The Swedish Air Force Museum, but before that my colleague got to get a flight in the SK60 (a jet plane) we got a trip in Helcopter 16 or better known as Black hawk. Really really cool 🙂

I can also strongly recommend Flygvapenmuseum The Swedish Air Force Museum in Linkoping. Here are almost all planes that can be connected to Swedish air force as well as an exhibit on the cold war, where Swedens military, Swedish politics and domestic issues are connected – really good and then an exhibt or a crypt of a a Swedish DC3 that was shot down in the Baltic Sea in the 50’s and the story of the political game behind the story – this is stuff for a Hollywood picture – the plane was found a few years ago and lifted from the bottom of Sea. This museum is not only for air force or air plane buffs but everyone that wants to know more about the history of the cold war.

The pictures are divided into three groups: air force exhibit, cold war exhibit, DC3 exhibit.

Air force exhibit

Cold war exhibit

DC3 exhibit

Magnus Reuterdahl

Medieval cellars of Linköping.

As promised I’ll show posts some notes on the medieval cellars that I visited while I was working in Linköping. There are several medieval cellars that have been preserved to our days around the city, most of them in the area between the main square and the dome; I got to visit five of them.


As we approached the Dome the sky was darkend by lots and lots of birds.

The first cellar we visited is from the 13th century and situated under a more modern house, from the 18th or 19th century. The V-formed vaults are a nice touch. This cellar has been used as a food cellar at least until the first half the 20th century.

 On our way to the next cellar we made a short stop at the old Main Street, Storgatan, of which a part has been preserved for us to see. It probably is rather close to how the street looked in the 19th century or so. Medieval religious centres are also often early centres for higher education; this is also true for Linköping. A cathedral school in Linköping can be traced back to at least 1266 and is possible the first of its kind in Sweden. For a long time it was situated in this building at the main street.


The Cathedral school

There after we went to Linköpings castle which has one of the oldest cellars possibly from the 12th and the 13th century. On of the oldest parts is the well that is more than 12 meters deep while this roof is from the 15th century.


The Castle


The well

The interior

The 15th century roof

The cellar at Konsistoriehuset is from the 13th or 14th century is clothed in bricks which is unusual.


The cellar at Bishops mansion was restored in 2006 and has two rooms and is probably from the 14th century


The last cellar is the cellar at Domprostgården (Dean’s mansion) a bit smaller and has houseguests in the form of spiders; The European cave spider, Meta Menardi, a long-jawed orb-weaving spider in the Tetragnathidae family.

There is yet more to come from Linköping

Best wishes


Magnus Reuterdahl

Excavations at Konserthusparken in Linköping; summery week two

From the left; Christer, Hanna, me and Lena
From the left; Christer, Hanna, me and Lena

Another week has passed and on Monday we move on to the final week of excavations at Konserthusparken. This week has been dedicated to the constructions in the northen part of the shaft. We have dug down through the floor of one of the buildings and found several postholes and the delimitation of the structures, in the second “house” we more or less found the delimitations but we still need to dig through the floor.

We’ve found several finds that helps us to date the buildings to the 18th century hence we do believe that they were erected for the purpose of the construction of either the bishops mansion, ca 1730, or in connection with work on the dome in the mid and late 18th century. The finds constitutes of ceramic shards, animal bones, clay pipes and molten iron and glass slag. The iron slag indicates some kind of iron production or refinement though we have not found any further evidence for this except the slag.

My favourite find this week is this part of a bone flute, I’ve found it at the bottom the floor layer and I think it is really cool.

There is one more week of excavation then it seems as I might get a few extra days working with the finds, cleaning, washing, sorting and on top of that make a small osteological review of the findings.

Next week I will attend a walk through of the medieval cellars of Linköping, very exacting and I hope for some great pictures, and I will visit the ruins of the 12th century church St Lars that actually are preserved under the floor of the present St Lars church, how cool isn’t that.

I’ll get back to you with pictures, excavation results and more!

For you who happens to read Swedish this article in the local paper was published on the dig.

The excavation is being carried out by Östergötlands County museum.


Magnus Reuterdahl

The dig is on

On Thursday we started the excavation at Konserthusparken in Linköping, the excavation area is somewhere around 300 m2. The area can be dived into two parts; a southern and a northern area. In the northern area structures dating to the 17th or 18th century have been uncovered. The remains are sill stones and remains of cairns of the smelting oven. We believe that the smelting ovens have been used for iron smelting, glass manufacturing etc. These structures were probably somewhat temporary, perhaps in connection with the rebuilding of the nearby dome of Linköping in the early 18th century or the building of the “new” the Bishops mansion in the 17th and 18th century. In the southern area we have uncovered remains of a few walls that we believe can be of medieval decent. In the 60’s a cellar dating to middle ages was excavated just a few meters away and we hope that these walls my be connected to this cellar in some way.

The first few days we have been opening up some space around the structures found during the preliminary investigation/excavation and widening the excavation area. This has been done to be able to do measurements and to take photos of the structures. During this work we’ve found a lot of animal bones, mainly from pig and cattle but also from dog, hare and some birds, a lot of ceramic shards from the 17th -18th century, parts of clay pipes and a lot of handmade nails and such.

On Monday the real excavation work will begin.Unfortunately I forgot my camera so I don’t have any photos from last week , but I’ll be sure to bring it along this week.

The excavation is being done by Östergöland County museum.

Article in Lindköpings paper (in Swedish)

Magnus Reuterdahl

The exterior of the dome of Linköping and then some

In my last post I showed parts of the interior of the dome now to the exterior.

Linköpings domkyrka

The history of the dome of Linköping begins before the dome; it probably is predated by a small wooden church, maybe built during the 11th century. The first stone church was built during the first half the 12th century. The foundation of this church was excavated in 1915-1916. During the beginning of the 13th century the bishop Bengt (1220-36) started to make expansions. He built a new chancel as well as a transept nave. These parts are still a part of the dome as well as the altar. Since the church has been rebuilt, added to and renovated. A dome can be seen as a constant work in progress, though these days there are mostly renovations and changes of the interior design.

 Linköpings domkyrka

One interesting detail is the sundial, it can be found on one of the exterior pillars of the chancel.

Medeltida solur Linköpings domkyrka

It is dated to 1512 and one of the oldest in Sweden. As you can se in the photo below it is a square with lines and inscriptions to help the watcher to read the time.

 Medeltida solur lindköpings domkyrka

Just northwest of the dome is a reconstruction of a labyrinth, a.k.a. a trojaborg.

 linköpings domkyrka labyrint

Just southwest of the dome is Linköping castle. The oldest parts of the castle are dated to the 12th century and it is one of the oldest profane buildings in Sweden. The oldest parts are a small basement and a small two-storey house, both made out of limestone, they are dated to the first half of the 12th century (of which I have no pictures…).

Linköpings slott 3

Linköpings slott 1

Lindköpings slott 2


Magnus Reuterdahl


Notes from the Osteological Associations 2008 symposium part 4

These are notes that will be edited, I urge you to comment on anything that seems to be out of place or faulty so that I can correct this. The intention is to compress these notes into a far shorter and more focused version to be printed in the Swedish Osteological Associations journal Benbiten during 2008.  The last lecturer of the day was Fil. Dr. Caroline Arcini from the National Heritage Board (RAA), UV Syd. UV is RAA’s department for archaeological excavations, and UV syd is the regional office for the south in Sweden, mainly Scania.

Reconstructing daily life in past populations. The future of Paleopathology.

Fil. Dr. Caroline Arcini


Caroline Arcini started off with a discussion of anthropology and the importance of collaborations to answer questions of what happened, how it happened and why did it happen instead of merely describing what we see.

For example how do we determinate if markers from a trauma are due to an accident or to violence? In some cases as in beheadings, shootings and stabbings these markers can be clear in others as fractures it can be more unclear.

Examinations of skeletal material from Lund dated to ca 1000-1500 has showed that many wounds/injuries have been treated and healed well, this includes both in infections and fractures. Some injuries have healed so well that it is hard to detect them at all, but there are exceptions.


Some diseases lead to Social exclusion for example Leprosy, the oldest written sources of leprosy is from ca 600 BC and comes from China and India. A common misperception is that the disease makes you drop your limbs, this is not the case instead it is bone resorbtion that makes it seem as the patient loses his or her limbs

The oldest finds in Sweden has been dated to ca 700 AD. The normal funerary practise of the time is cremation. The skeletal material with traces of leprosy has not been cremated, is this due to the disease? (Skeletal funerals do exist side by side with cremations through the late Iron Age though they are not as common and most of these have not had leprosy.)

In the Viking Age skeletal material from Lund ca 3-4 % show signs of leprosy.

990-1100 AD                      42/1300 individuals = 3,2 %

1100-1536 AD                    1/1500 individuals = > 1 %

This is material from within Lund which shows that not all were banished to special hospitals. These hospitals were normally placed outside of the cities. It seems as the frequency decreases during the Middle Ages, this might indicate a new view on the lepers for example that they have been forced to hospitals outside of the city.

Leprosy has existed for a long time though it is more or less non-existing in Sweden today; though as late as in 1864 a new leprosy hospital was built at Järvsö where ca 400 lepers lived. Outside of Visby at Gotland are ruins after an older leprosy hospital (St Görans? ca 1300-1540 AD).


Finds of Arteriosclerosis has been made in China (ca 2100 yrs old) and from mummies in Egypt. There are also a few finds from Scandinavia. The finds looks like a dried macaroni or a cheese doodle and has approximately that size. They are found in the cranial region and are very fragile, therefore one should be very careful when cleaning skeletal finds, and when it is done it should be done in a laboratory.

Atherosclerosis is a disease affecting arterial blood vessels. It is a chronic inflammatory response in the walls of arteries. It is commonly referred to as a “hardening” or “furring” of the arteries. It is caused by the formation of multiple plaques within the arteries.

Tooth health

Of the teeth from the Middle Ages examined by Caroline Arcini ca 40 % was affected by caries, this problem is big in both adult and milk teeth. Another big problem during this period was tooth loss.

On teeth we can find evidence of people’s habits for example smoking. Clay Tobacco Pipes gives clearly visible marks on the teeth. Findings of these markers can be dated (in Sweden) from the end of the 17th century till the 19th century. Until the 19th century it seems like it was almost exclusively a male habit.

In situations like this archaeology and ethnology has lots of information to share with each other.

Case study the Dome of Linköping

Caroline Arcini has skeletal material from 560 graves, dating to ca 1100-1810 AD, to analyze. In this case there are records such as death certificates from ca 1750 and forth that can be compared with the analyses and church books regarding who is buried where, date of birth and death etc. In other words a great part of this material comes with answers and should be possible to use as a Swedish standards.

Possibilities regarding age estimations which in turn is important concerning issues of health etc.

In a well documented material as this one can study and interpret living conditions. Here we cam find information about access to food, occupation, kinship etc. All this information is interesting when compeered to Osteological data, for examples, common traits, teeth hypolasia. The key to all this is of course dating and identifying the individuals.

When studying welfare three components are important; Age groups, how old did the population get, stature and child morality.

A part of the study will be concerning Tuberculosis. Between 1780-1810 there were 4500 deaths recorded, of these 36 (8 %) were recorded to have died from TB. An estimation is that 5-7 % would have skeletal TB and 2-3 5 TB on the spine. Of these 4500 individuals 140 has been exhumed, among these 1 can be expected to have had TB.

There are other marks than those of disease.

Arcini have been working on an article that is coming in BAR in a near future concerning man made marks on teeth, teeth mutilation in Scandinavia. In this article she has been studying 60 teeth from Gotland, 1 from Öland, 1 from Denmark and 4 from Scania. All teeth have been filed. These are among the few finds in Europe, though there are several other finds in the world.

This concludes my notes from the symposium. I’ll now start working on a summary that will be presented in the Osteological Associations annual, Benbiten, later this year.

Remember that these are notes that will be edited, I urge you to comment on anything that seems to be out of place or faulty so that I can correct this.

Magnus Reuterdahl

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