Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Ways To Go

Swedish archaeologists have a way of going out with a bang. I collect stories of archaeologists dying spectacularly with their boots on. These stories are tragic, these people left loved ones behind, I mean no disrespect. But the stories are too good not to be told.

Two early investigators of megalithic tombs in Bohuslän went with a resounding WHUMP. Megalithic tombs. You can see where this is going, right? Yes. They removed the earth that had surrounded and stabilised the stones of the tombs for close on six millennia, and then they crawled inside. WHUMP.

In the 80s, rescue archaeologists began stripping huge areas of farmland outside Malmö, documenting entire prehistoric villages. The area is really flat, and the proximity to the North Sea can bring some pretty nasty weather. At one dig, the site manager took a walk across his site just as a thunderstorm started to build up. South Scania is flat. The site manager’s head was the highest point for several kilometers. ZAP.

Another flat site, in Östergötland, was the scene of an archaeological demise just a few years ago. The place was so flat that the railroad bank running through it was the best vantage point available if you wanted to get a good view. One morning the site manager arrives in his car, drives onto the unattended railway crossing – and spots something really interesting in the stripped area. He stops and idles the engine. Is it an alignment of post holes? HOOT. Maybe a number of paired ones, typical roof posts? HOOOOT. The engine purrs. The radio plays. Hey, that’s actually got to be a house foundation! HOOOOTCRUNCH.

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Blogger Martha said...

I'm sad for the families, but really, those are very funny stories in a sick sort of way. There is an entire book of ignominious endings of which I can't for the life of me remember the name.

Oh, and someone found my site by googling your name. Your name was being googled! You're famous!

01 June, 2006 18:07  
Blogger Martin said...

"Ya got big dreams. Ya want fame. Well, fame costs. And right here is where you start payin'. In blog entries."

01 June, 2006 18:59  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, seems there's risk and adventure, and not just all pottery shards. Who'd have thunk? ;-)


05 June, 2006 11:47  

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