Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Taking My Work Underground

Issue 2006:1 has just appeared of Grottan, the journal of the Swedish Spelunking Society. I've got a piece in it titled "Today's cave people can find the cave people of antiquity”, available here in Swedish.

Very few archaeological deposits are known from Swedish caves. The best-known one is Stora Förvar on a small island off the coast of Gotland, whose thick layers were excavated in the late 19th century. The artefact finds, mainly dating from the Mesolithic and Neolithic, were published in 1913. Most of the copious bone finds have yet to be analysed, though much work has been done on them by my friend Christian Lindqvist and others.

We know very little about the country's caves from an archaeological point of view. They're hardly ever touched by land development, and very few Swedish archaeologists are spelunkers. My idea is that if we want to know what's under the modern floor of those caves, we need to work with the amateur spelunkers. In my Grottan article, I describe how to dig a square meter test pit in 10 cm spits, sieving the spoil, and what sort of finds to search for. Hopefully, myself and a couple of interested colleagues will start to get pictures of cave finds sent to us. And you, Dear Reader, will get to see a few of the best ones.

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