Archaeology

New Pic of the Week: Ancient Curse Tablet

[ARTICLE]

I just put up a new Pic of the Week on the sidebar on the right. It is an ancient lead curse tablet like the kind I wrote about a few months ago [here]. If you click the picture you can see the whole story and the translation. It’s interesting stuff.


Antiquarian Book Fair in Copenhagen

Hello, all! Erin, here. ❤

We hope you had a beautiful Thanksgiving holiday. It was nice and calm for us. We will be having our dinner with other exchange students tomorrow. As for today, we visited Copenhagen to see one of the largest antiquarian book fairs with international sellers, book binders, and conservators. It was fantastic! So many gorgeous books from different countries dating back to several centuries ago…Mike and I were hypnotized and we kept envisioning our library we want to put together! There’s something about a book on science or religion from centuries ago…it’s similar to the affects that archaeological sites and artifacts have on me. I go into this trance and I feel an indescribable connection to the past creators and users. It’s nerdy, I know. Everyone gets their kicks in their own ways! 🙂

Here are a few of the pictures from the fair.

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The fair was held at Rundetårn (The Round Tower), which is a combined church, library and observatory built in 1642. We climbed all the way to the top to find a breathtaking view of Copenhagen and a freezing wind that has a mind of its own…an abusive one, at that. We soaked in the stunning views of the city and went back inside before my body temperature dropped to a painful low.

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Copenhagen was great! We plan on going back a couple more times before we leave. We miss you all! ❤ 🙂


Museums and Halloween!

Hello everyone! Erin, here. I recently had the opportunity to take a couple tours of museums in Lund. A couple of my professors took us through the exhibits and brought everything back to life! Here are some pictures.

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The visits taught me not only about Scandinavian Stone Age and Iron Age practices, but also about the organization and presentation of these artifacts. I was surprised to find that both professors were quite critical about the exhibits. The exhibits lacked cohesiveness. The presentation was kind of spread out all over the place. There was no chronological order. They also imposed modern day beliefs about cult practices by the way they created the dark tone…by the way they set the ominous mood. An objective mindset, crucial to the field of archaeology, was missing. What’s funny is that I would’ve never realized this if it weren’t for my professors. So much for all the “critical thinking” I’ve been trained to practice! I suppose I’ve just made a bad habit of visiting museums and accepting everything they have to offer in the way they choose to offer it. If we were dealing with art museums, then that perspective would be ok; but archaeology is about striving to be objective while we understand and accurately teach about past cultures. These visits have definitely benefited me! 🙂

Happy Halloween! We visited a Halloween party…complete with ghosts, ghouls, music, and food! …MEXICAN food, I might add! The enchiladas were pretty good…strangely combined with white rice, but still good. 🙂 We had quite an adventure after we left! Lund, in all its historical glory, is hypnotizing at night. It makes me uncomfortable to use this comparison for some reason, but it felt like we walked right into a movie! A Sherlock Holmes movie! The castle towers, massive canopy trees, and autumn leaves on the ground were transformed in the thick fog that glowed in the orange streetlights. Walking away from the street into the trees was something I would have loved to capture on video. Mike tried, but the camera couldn’t capture the light. All you would see is what looks like a forest of trees, dirt ground covered with fallen leaves, and scattered glowing light throughout the area. We walked to the cathedral and looked up to see the top of the tower fade into the fog. Words fail to describe the enchanting environment. What a strikingly beautiful environment and perfect for Halloween! 🙂 As far as the adventure goes, we basically got lost trying to find a rescheduled transport back to Malmö (because the trains were not operating) and met a couple awesome Swedish guys. We were all roaming around Lund together and having conversation before we found (to our surprise) the luxury charter bus that would take us back to Malmö! It was a great night.

We miss and love you all!


Free Archaeology Journals online for Open Access Week!

Click here and Here to check out free and open scientific journals on archaeology, anthropology, archaeometry, and conservation! Many of these will only be available until Nov 4th so download whatever you find interesting before then!


Uppåkra Visit

Hello everyone!

Mike reminded me that I took a few photos when I visited the Uppåkra excavation site! I completely forgot to post them for you. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any of the actual excavation site. I only took a few photos of the laboratory where they perform artifact conservation before transferring them to a local museum. Here are the photos:

Uppåkra Lab

Uppåkra Lab

Uppåkra Lab

Uppåkra Lab

Visiting the lab was an interesting experience because I was able to see how the conservator was removing the corrosion from a metal artifact. She was so incredibly sweet and allowed students to get a closer look at the objects. I asked what she was using (chemicals, methods, etc.) to stabilize the object and she either didn’t want to go into detail for some reason or she wasn’t employing methods about which I have read. It was a bit strange. First, she mentioned the object was “gold.” Gold is an inert metal and does not corrode or rust. It must have been an alloy; I’m just confused why she wasn’t clear about it. I admit that I am an amateur conservator with limited knowledge on the subject, but from what I have seen, there are a couple different chemical solutions and electrochemical methods that can stabilize metal objects in that state. It doesn’t have to do with funding, either; the methods are relatively inexpensive and can be set up at home! She said she was simply removing the corrosion with a pick, other small tools, and water. I hope it was deionized water! … Time for me to stop rambling about this. Honestly, the visit was very nice. I’m thankful I had the opportunity to see how excavation and conservation is done in Uppåkra. 🙂 I still have a lot to learn! Visits like these are important for students.

Now, I must get back to studying the Vikings, Swedish history, chemistry, and archaeology! We miss and love all of you…

-Erin 🙂


New reading material! “Lady with a Mead Cup”

I just checked out a very interesting book from the archaeology library. It’s called Lady with a Mead Cup: Ritual, Prophecy, and Lordship in the European Warband from La Tene to the Viking Age by Michael J. Enright. It seems to deal with the role of women, alcohol, and religion in the hierarchy of the Germanic and Celtic warband.

Chapters include:

I. Ritual, Group Cohesion, and Hierarchy in the Germanic Warband

II. Warlords, Hetzerinnen and Sibyls

III. The Liquor Ritual and the Basis of Lordly Power to Command Followers

IV. The Archaeology of Intoxication and the Continuity of Transalpine History
1. From Lubsow to te Vikings
2. From Hochdorf to the Gaels
3. Aspects of Continuity and Oral Culture

V. Warband Religion and the Celtic World.
1. Druids, Female Magic, and Weaving Beams
2. Wealhtheow
3. The Celto-Germanic Warband and the Rise of the Warlord
4. Governmental Forms
5. Mercury, Wodan, and the One-Eyed Warlord
6. Rosmerta and the Veleda
7. Mercury, Rosmerta, and a Concept of Rhineland Kingship
8. The Inauguration of the Warlord

VI. Conclusion

I can’t wait to dig in!


Fotevikens Viking Village

Erin and I visited a living viking museum the other day. It was the last day of their season before closing for the winter so there were almost no reenactors there. It sits on the site of an important trade center for Scandinavia from roughly 1000 years ago. Reenactors from all over the world are allowed to visit and even live there for free during the summer. They’re allowed to sell their wares for free as long as they stay in character. We’re a little sad that we missed the huge lively viking market, but on the plus side, we had the village to ourselves, and we got to have a private chat with the archaeologist who runs the museum.

 

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