Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Archaeology of a 20th Century Garden

This morning I rode my bike to Kyrkogårdsudden, "Churchyard Point", and waited on the jetty there until Jan Peder came rowing and picked me up. Morning dog walkers passed on the other shore. Gulls crying, buoys still vacant. Too early in the season for any boats to pass that I could hitch a ride with.

I spent the day in the pleasant company of friends and colleagues, doing a total of 4½ hours of metal detecting around the brick-studded ruin mound.

I found a lot of stuff, all of it pertaining to the activities of the Lamm family during the 20th century. The house was built in 1918. JP's dad was an army officer working as an inspector at an arms factory, and JP used to play with guns as a teenager. So there were shells all over the place. And uniform buttons. And lots of burnt household garbage. And, of course, my ever-present Nemesis the aluminium bottle top. The coins cover the three latest kings of Sweden.

I guess in order to find something out about the ruin, I'll have to wait until they sink a trench into it.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is metal detecting legal in Sweden? A British friend of mine owns a farm in Södermanland and would dearly like to give it a go, but his neighbours said it wasn't allowed...


09 May, 2006 02:21  
Blogger Martin said...

Metal detecting is legal but heavily restricted in Sweden. You can get a short-term permit for a small area not bordering on any known archaeological site. Apply with the county archaeologist (länsantikvarien).

I'm a research scholar collaborating with museums, so it's easier for me.

Here's a few arguments for liberalisation.

09 May, 2006 09:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, thanks. I'll pass that on.

I did ask a Swedish pal if there was any sort of organised amateur archaeology, but got the distinct impression that it was a very odd question to ask!


10 May, 2006 21:58  
Blogger Martin said...

There is amateur archaeology, just not on the British scale. Maybe simply because of our low population count.

Sweden's best rock art surveyors are two amateurs who are often employed as consultants by field archaeology units. And they're also extremely good at lithics. One of them, Sven-Gunnar Broström, recently received an honorary doctorate for his outstanding contributions.

Local historical societies often take part in research digs. Academics welcome the free labour and the chance to connect with the public.

11 May, 2006 09:49  

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