Excavating, part 3


This will be my last blog post about the last three weeks’ excavation of an Iron age/Viking age settlement in Southern Sweden that I’ve attended. You can read the earlier two posts here (1) and here (2).

So after finishing our trench we opened up a new one at the location of an interesting anomaly in the geophysics results:

nyttschaktOur second trench had the form of an “L”. Here we have marked where to dig.

nyaschaktetAfter removing the top soil these stone features were revealed. As you might remember we had a lot of stone in our old trench as well.

We started cleaning up the remaining soil over the stones, and later we removed the stones to see how deep they went and what they might hide. During that process we found this:

hästskoA horseshoe!
It was tiny so it must have come from a pony, which some argued was because it’s from the Viking age (no large horses here at that time). Others called that wishful thinking since it’s not at all common to find such early horseshoes. We have no exact dating for it and it’s not in the best condition so it’s hard to say much about it except that it doesn’t look too modern. I adore this find, and I think it tells a story, no matter the age of it. This horseshoe might also be evidence of the road our excavation leaders so dearly want to find here.

potteryWe also found this; a bigger piece of pottery. (Ok, I found it and therefore it’s special to me ;) Other finds in our new trench include metal pieces and bones. As to the stone features, they might be part of an old road, a levelling of the ground or traces of an old settlement boundary. Your guess is probably as good as ours. More digging needs to be done for us to know for sure.

Just a few finds from other trenches at this excavation:

ugnYou’ve guessed it! This is an oven! (You guessed that, right? ;) It was probably used for bread. This is actually the only structure found during this dig that we can say for sure what it was used for.
(…Do you notice a trend when it comes to pants? (And all the hands put in pockets indicates how freaking cold it was this morning. Brr! ))

knivHere is an iron knife for you to feast your eyes upon!

hundskalleAnd this, my friends, is a dog’s skull.

igengrävningAnd then, before we knew it, it was time to close the trenches. Let me tell you, moving all that soil was heavy work!

organisera fyndkontextblanketterAfter the actual digging part was finished it was time to start on the paper work; sorting and registering finds, fill in context sheets and write a report. As to the moment we still have a few pages left to write on the report, so that is our work for this week.

So what is it we have found here? What role did this area play in the big Iron age settlement of Uppåkra? One theory is that this is the settlement’s periphery where goods were stored and crafts of different kinds were plied.  We might have found a road leading through the area in to the settlement, but that’s not for certain. More certain is that someone baked bread here, someone took the time to move a lot of stones to this area, someone was cooking here, and someone’s horse did at some point of history (or prehistory) lose a shoe here.


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