Category Archives: Archaeology and History

Uppåkra 2014, part 3

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The excavation I’ve been part of in Uppåkra, Sweden, is now finished. We are currently writing the report and preparing to present our results to the rest of the class of archaeology students tomorrow. So we’re still busy bees even though the digging itself has ended.

So what did we find the last week? Well, nothing much in our half of the trench. Except for another oven! This is the third iron age oven so far in our trench. Third.

20140923_153808Here it is! I know it doesn’t look like much, but there, but I promise you that it’s very visible in the ground ;) The holes are stake holes. The stakes were probably used as the core of the oven dome, and were covered with clay.

20140922_144354We had a couple of really cold, windy days last week, and after the warm summer weather we had before it felt extra miserable. Here we have a group of archaeology students huddling together in a corner of our trench. :)

20140924_085313And here we are. Or, most of us. Circling the trench to get a better overview of what’s going on. In the half of the trench furthest away from the camera we have two iron age ovens, and the one we found last week is on this side of those ovens. “Our” oven is partly under the other ovens, meaning it’s the oldest one we’ve found in this trench so far. Since we didn’t have the time to excavate this trench fully we don’t know for sure how many ovens have been placed on this spot.

10716075_680750885336109_2073890728_nThe last day of the excavation our field leaders brought us cake! Yay! 4 cakes! It was well needed after all our hard work. :3

10711415_680750922002772_1678503839_nAnd here is my friend Toke, cutting the cake with a trowel. (A trowel used for excavating of course…)

To see the earlier blog posts about this excavation, click here and here! Next week it’s time for building archaeology and new adventures!
(Thanks to my friend Rebecka for the two cake photos :)

Next time I blog I promise I’ll show off some incoming and/or outgoing mail. I’m a bit behind mailwise because of my studies, but I’ll get back to my dear penpals eventually.

Uppåkra 2014, part 2

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So another week of excavating has passed, and it feels like we’re still pretty much in the same place as a week ago. (If you want to check out last week’s blog post about this excavation, click here.) We are just now getting down to (hopefully) untouched cultural layers in our end of the big trench. We have three trenches open, and my trench, the big one, is over an iron age oven. The other two were opened to check out anomalies in the ground penetrating radar results. My colleagues seem to have found some structures/contexts this week, but as far as I know we’re still not sure what they could have been.

20140919_140948Here is one of the other trenches, and my friend Rebecka is wielding the magic staff of measuring (aka total station prism). She is measuring the coordinates of the different things that have been found so that we can have a very nice computer made map of the archaeology in the end.

20140919_135628Here is another trench (still not the one I’ve been working in). My fellow diggers are cleaning the trench from lose soil for a photo shoot. We don’t want any messy footprints in the trench, hence the silly belly position.

20140915_144654And this is my trench! But the other end of it, where another group are excavating the destruction layers from the iron age oven. The stone area you can see in this photo is what is left of the top of the oven. Its floor is to the right of them.

20140916_115730This little thing of beauty is something I found this week. It’s a rim piece of a pottery vessel.

20140918_142456And not fa from the piece mentioned above I found this in the ground: more pottery! I don’t know if you can tell from the picture, but it looks like horse-shoe shaped blackness in the ground. We hope that it isn’t random trampled pieces, but a vessel or two in situ. We still haven’t excavated these yet, so I will give you an update on this next weekend! It would be really cool to find a pot where someone once left it, and not just trash that has been moved around a lot since it was gotten rid of.

20140915_151907A typical find for this place: a tooth, probably from sheep or goat. (I’m not an osteologist, so don’t bet your life on this.) We find a lot of animal bones on this site, and they’ve been plowed around on the fields for centuries, so most of them are just small random pieces.

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Here’s another example of an animal bone I found. It looks like an ear, don’t you think?! I love it! :D I had to ask an osteology student what it is, and he said that it looks like it’s from a heel from a cow or horse.

Tomorrow’s another day in the field, and I fear our great summer weather will turn to rain. This will be our last week of excavation, so let’s hope we get a grip on what’s been going on on this site before next Friday :)

Uppåkra 2014, part 1

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This week I have been excavating with my fellow classmates as a part of my Master’s. You might remember that I posted picture from this very same place last year. We’re back in the same location, same field, and in one case even the same trench as last year! We are excavating the outer part of an important iron age community in a village named Uppåkra. If you know Swedish and want to read more about this place you can do so here.

Last year we found a possible road, and also a low temperature oven. Since we didn’t have the time to finish the excavation of said oven, we have opened up that trench again to continue the work with the oven. It’s highly probably that there are even more ovens underneath this one because they rebuilt them on the same place, so it will be interesting to see if we can get to those.

Without further introduction I here give you some photos from our current excavation:

20140908_132019_50Same field as last year. This time around it is less muddy since the farmer hasn’t ploughed it yet, which is very nice :)

20140908_140737_50Here we are, both Bachelor students and Master students, opening up one big trench over where the low temperature oven is. We made the trench bigger this year to see what we can find around the structure.

20140912_151651_50And this is how it looked later in the week when we’ve gotten down to cultural layers. The orange area to the right is the oven. Here my classmates are measuring and drawing the stones we can see so far.

20140910_141717_50Here are the remains of the oven, the main focus of this year’s excavation. If you would like to see how it looked when we dug it last year you can find a picture in this blogpost.

20140911_095014_50This week we have had quite mixed weather. Some days were super sunny, and I even got a painful sunburn. Other times it was pouring down rain. We had a very pretty rainbow one day this week :)

20140912_144005_50Last year we didn’t do any water sieving of the soil we dug up, but this year we do. Here is my friend Chelsea sieving a bucket of soil for the small finds that you easily could miss if you just use your spade and trowel.

20140909_153232_50When it comes to finds I haven’t had much yet. I have spent a lot of time this week learning about using a total station (a device we use to measure and document the position of features, finds, trenches and what not more), so I haven’t actually dug much myself yet. I did however find this little metal piece. My field leader suggests it might be a pin from a fibula.

20140912_150047_50While sieving I also found this adorable little bone. My osteology friends tell me it’s a phalanx (finger or toe bone) from an animal in size of a cat.

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Hopefully I’ll have more things to show you next weekend when we have gotten further down into the cultural layers. We will be digging for three weeks, and I plan to make one excavation blog post per week. I hope you enjoy :)

The copper inflation

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20140725_170952nyHello friends! I am currently in the Swedish region Hälsingland where my family lives and where I grew up. This beautiful little church is standing in our home village, and it’s from the 12th century.

20140726_124621nyDuring my stay here I have visited a few flea markets.  There’s a lot of them around here during the summer, and it’s so fun to browse old stuff! This is the biggest one in Hälsingland, according to the interwebs.

20140726_142122nyHere’s another flea market. It had a room full of copper! All the places we visited were full of copper pans and pots and what not. I guess copper’s not hip enough to get a loving home. I think they’re pretty though!

20140726_180248nyI have bought two things during my flea market adventures in Hälsingland, both of them snail mail related! Here’s a little letter holder. I have no idea how old it is, but I like the steampuunkesque style of it. And my letter holder at home is always full so I could use an addition!

20140726_180410nyAnd then we have this little thing of beauty!  I just couldn’t resist it! It’s so small and cute and the keys are the most gorgeous dark burgundy red. It seems to be in a good condition. I’ll try to give it a clean up and hope it’ll work smoothly! I have ordered some ink ribbons for it already: black and purple! :D

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I have also written and sent some mail during my stay here, but I’ll post pictures of that next week. I hope you guys are having a great weekend!