It´s alive! Accessible archeology

As someone pointed out, it´s been a while since I posted last. Well, what can I say? It´s summer, lots to do, places to go. Things to prepare. Weather to enjoy. And I haven´t even gotten to polishing all the windows...

However, I have gotten through a couple of really nice volumes on the Bronze and Iron Age in Sweden. First, "Stuga och säte" (=cottage and seat, roughly translated) by Lena Edblom, which is a study of the field archeology and reconstructive archeology that has been done at Gene Old Village near Örnsköldsvik in Sweden. This is the best description of an Iron Age house and farm that I have come across. Would be fun to visit, it looks like this:

Cool, or what? It´s really interesting to read how they have tried to make it work according to the theories, and some of it has really not been very straight forward at all. There is nothing "primitive" about the way these houses work, it´s not done in a day by any dummy come off the street. Experts in all kinds of building techniques come together and scratch their heads. Apparently, it´s fundamentally important where a house is built, as much as how it´s built. And these houses were large. Very large.

My next read was Maja Hagerman´s "Försvunnen värld" (= lost world). She is a science journalist and archeology and Swedish pre-history is her special field, she has written a couple of great books about how Sweden came to be. She compiles the current opinions of the scientific community, translates and communicates to ordinary folk like me what is known about this foggy time in our history. This book is about the largest excavation ever in Sweden, and it came about because a new road was being built north of Uppsala, and acres and acres of land was being literally dug out, and with it all traces of human activity.

It´s a thick volume and Hagerman gets a bit too chatty at times. Or perhaps it´s just that I don´t want to know how much the archeologists didn´t have time to look at, or couldn´t afford to handle. And it seems that it was dug by rivalling teams, which is just soooo dispiriting. I want the scientific community to be one big happy family, all focused on one thing: me becoming better informed. And themselves and every other person who should be interested, which is everybody.

I will not go into detail about what they found out, that would make a very long post indeed, but I´m pleased to find that my own very speculative ideas about what went on in Bronze Age and Roman Iron Age here in Sweden seem to be verified. Haha.

And, for your enjoyment, some bling collected from a headman´s grave. (Not from this particular dig, though.) That´s a roman coin there, from year 290, and the ring with the red stone is roman, too.

I think there is a treasure hunter in every archeologist, deep down, no matter how happy they are about their postholes. Actually, if I hadn´t seen hundreds of episodes of "Time Team", I wouldn´t have been able to follow Hagerman´s story quite so easily. Have I recommended "Time Team"? In Sweden, they are currently showing episodes from 2007 on channel 9. Tune in and enjoy.

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