Thursday, September 14, 2006

High Medieval Brick Kiln

You may remember back in May when I told you about the narrow shipping passage of Baggensstäket and the garden of my friend and mentor Jan Peder on its shore. I checked back then that there's no ancient metalwork in the garden's topsoil, but there is a ruin mound full of vitrified Medieval bricks. Is it the remains of a defensive tower or of a brick kiln?

After lunch today my dad, my friend Kristina and myself went by boat over to Jan Peder's to check out the ongoing excavation of the mound. It was a lot like a garden party with colleagues coming and going to look at the dig. Ancient fortifications expert Michael Olausson and a small team are investigating the mound. So far, they've mainly been busy cleaning out a huge volume of early 20th century garbage that Jan Peder's family deposited in the central depression. But they've already made some interesting observations.

It's clearly a brick kiln, not a defensive tower. But it's a weird kiln: built largely of High Medieval brick, sandstone and limestone, materials that weren't available locally. It looks a lot like the ruin of a nearby high-status building was cannibalised to build the kiln.

The land was owned by the Archbishop until the Reformation in the early 16th century. A single small artefact find so far seems to date that far back: the tubular handle of an earthenware three-legged pot, finely moulded.

Farther into the shipping channel, at the farmstead of Duvnäs, there's a historically attested brick kiln. And even nearer Stockholm there is a well-preserved High Medieval shipwreck on the seafloor, still neatly stacked with a cargo of bricks, elaborate ones for the first large churches in Stockholm. All this fits well with the existence of a busy shipping channel. Materials for brick manufacture and shipping to nearby markets were easy to come by.

We found an abandoned stolen boat at Jan Peder's jetty. So my dad called the police about it and tugged the boat over to his own place where he had a buoy waiting. I wonder what the story behind that is.

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Anonymous pablo said...

How do you know that a boat is both abandoned and stolen? And do they all come with beautiful women aboard them?

15 September, 2006 13:32  
Blogger Martin said...

The boat had been hard-wired and then left tied in a careless manner to a really crappy jetty belonging to Jan Peder, who had no idea whose boat it was.

Kristina is a complete and utter babe (and single at the moment!), but I don't think she's the kind of woman you impress by stealing boats. Always make sure you know what kind of audience you're playing to, lover boy. (-;

15 September, 2006 13:50  
Anonymous antikvetaren said...

Intressant blogg!

Är själv en arkeologstuderande, har grävt på Lovö. :)

16 September, 2006 13:27  
Blogger Martin said...

Thank you! I've desecrated a Viking Period grave on Lovö too. The department's sandbox.

16 September, 2006 16:57  

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