Monday, September 11, 2006

Into the Barrow

So I'm back in the field again with Howard and Libby and Peter and Marie, just like last summer. But without the students. Enjoying myself a lot in the sunny weather!

The talk yesterday in Kaga went well, good big audience, good questions, and a lady showed me some really good finds afterwards. She had a huge pristine thin-butted polished flint axe and part of a similar one made from basalt, both Early Neolithic. She had a Late Neolithic pressure-flaked flint dagger. And she had a Late Bronze Age socketed cast bronze axe. Östergötland is a cool place for archaeology.

Also, it's a great place for hospitality. Salto sobrius reader Hans Persson invited me home after the talk, introduced me to his wife & kids and gave me dinner! And I saw your kind words about the talk, Hans. Many thanks!

The barrow dig has started off very well. We are accompanied by a flock of bull calfs who are very curious about us but also pretty shy. So we chase them off and they keep coming back and when we leave the site they stand around in our trench sniffing our gear.

We've opened a 2.5 by 1.5 trench near the edge of the barrow and gone down through homogenous stone-free mound fill until we hit what looks like a cairn. This is unexpected as the central cairns in 1st Millennium barrows tend to have a much lesser diameter than the covering mound, and Bronze Age ones aren't supposed to have cairns at all. Even stranger is the fact that there are empty spaces below a number of the stones, looking a lot like an abandoned rabbit warren. Libby saw a rabbit (or was it a hare?) on site today. This could seriously muck up our charcoal samples if the animals have been dragging organics down into the barrow. But we do have samples from two small hearths interleaved with the mound fill on top of the cairn, about 25 cm below the barrow's surface. Looks like the people who built the thing lit little fires on it during work.

I had a really nasty chicken kebab for dinner in Linköping. No tomato sauce and no garlic sauce -- instead they had this really greasy concoction of mayonnaise, sour cream, finely chopped pickles and chili pepper. Very un-Turkish. I had something similar in Germany back in June and I'm not enthusiastic.

Stay tuned, true believers, for tomorrow's entry, wherein shall be revealed what lies hidden Beneath the Stones. After all, as H.P. Lovecraft put it, with strange aeons even death may die.

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Blogger mugabe said...

Tartar sauce. Or an aberration thereof.

12 September, 2006 00:12  
Blogger Karen said...

That kebob sands hellish.

I'm all a-tingle with excitement in anticipation of seeing what lies beneath the stone!!!!

12 September, 2006 03:32  
Blogger Hans Persson said...

I'll try to make it out to the dig one of these days. I biked today, but perhaps tomorrow. Maybe even some geocaching after work as well?

12 September, 2006 10:29  
Blogger Candy Minx said...

Looking forward to hearing more. Great posts last few bits!

12 September, 2006 20:49  
Blogger Karen said...

I love how you convinced a bunch of cows to work for you in place of student volunteers. Students can be very demanding. However, cows don't have opposable thumbs - shovels and trowels might be a problem.

14 September, 2006 02:30  
Blogger Martin said...

A good thing about students, though, is that they very rarely shit at the edge of the trench.

14 September, 2006 17:04  
Blogger Karen said...

Rarely yes, but it HAS been known to happen...

14 September, 2006 21:20  

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