Monday 30 December 2013

Finnish archaeologist Jan Storå on the fascinating site of Stora Förvar

on Stora Karlsö Sweden. A new clip in which he shares his inspiring views on this remarkable prehistoric site (in Swedish). New excavations were carried out here in august this year by the University of Stockholm and the University of Lund! Enjoy :)

Late 19th century excavations of Stora Förvar.

Sunday 22 December 2013

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Completing an excavation report is no easy task

despite the detailed "recommendations and advice" that can be found on the website of The National Board of Antiquities. Despite my 30 years of experience as an field archaeologist so much has changed in recent years that it actually feels a lot like starting from scratch again.

Picture from the new archive facilities at Sturenkatu 2 Helsinki. Photo  Soile Tirilä.

Digitalisation has it´s understandable pro´s and cons too when it comes to excavation photographs. The NBA still advises or wish that excavations would also be photographed on black and white film which at the present almost requires one to start developing films by hand (in your own photo lab). I understand the issues when it comes to how materials will preserve in the archives but I can´t see how this could possibly work in the years to come.

Computer operated  archive cabinets at Sturenkatu 2 . Photo Markku Haverinen.

Then to the issue of numbering the excavation finds. A while ago it was still possible to take the excavation finds to the National Board of Antiquities for numbering. Not so any more this too has be done (and paid for) by the excavator. I look back at the good old days when employed people with the right attitude, skills, patience and good handwriting took care of this part. I honestly hope that things will work out in the future without the costs of making excavation reports rising to the extreme, or the quality suffering because of people lacking solid personal assistance in the future.

Page from the find catalogue of the "National Board of Antiquities" from ca 1900.

and today

Looking at the bright side of things regulations and written advice on how things should be done is a good thing that I really wish would have been available when I started my career as an field archaeologist. All that said an NBA peronal help desk would have been more than welcome many times this fall  :)

Tuesday 17 December 2013

The way it should be done!

Here´s a good example of using a metal detector in combination with archaeological excavation "Project Silverado" in Sweden (in Swedish). Enjoy!

An example of how to remove the topsoil by machine a CAT 322 and a grading bucket (from Denmark). These guys are professionals!

Drawing excavation maps

The maps from the excavation at Långåmossarna are almost done as is the full excavation report. Now I only need to sort the finds one more time and draw the archive numbers on them before delivering them to the archives of the National Board of Antiquities before the end of 2013.

 Todays work .

Map showing the excavation areas from 1993-1994 (1992 not added yet).

I visited Långåmossarna a couple of weeks ago and took this picture of what could be next years rescue excavation project (this time apparently with Karis Billnäs Gymnasium). Another large refuse pit seems to be slowly eroding into the gravel pit. The number of these large features now number five on this rather small site. The finds  near the location of the feature included early comb ceramic potsherds and a rather large amount of burnt bone (seal).

Another eroding refuse pit in the center of the picture.  

Saturday 14 December 2013

Another nice metal detecting find

A beatuiful bronze age axe (ca 2000 B.C.) from Kemiönsaari SW Finland. The axe was found in a field by Olavi Kauppinen approx 20 m above the present sea level which suggests it may be an offering made in shallow water although verifying this is of course impossible. Still a very nice find! Congratz to the finder!

Link to an article about the find in Swedish

Wednesday 4 December 2013

It´s Done (and I´ Feel Good) :)

Studies in archaeology 1986-1993 and 2012-2013

This is the first day of the rest of my life as an archaeologist in more than one sense. Today I finally completed my studies at Helsinki University which were left unifinished when (after completing my pro Gradu exam in 1993) I hit the rocky road as a field archaeologist. Looking back it was a  choice I never really regretted but the question about when I would finish my history and other studies haunted me every summer. Not so any more!

I have to say I have never been as excited about archaeology as I am right now. New projects with schools and archaeology are popping up every week and with the exam papers officially in hand it is finally time to start my own archaeology business in january 2014. I also have several ideas on postgradual studies related to maritime subsistence economy and resources  in the stone age but more about those after I have discussed them with professor Mika Lavento in february 2014.

I want to express my deepest gratitude to the staff at Helsinki University dept of archaeology for their support during the last leg of my studies 2012-2013, family and friends not forgotten! See you in the pit :)