The Magic of Metal (detecting)

Mats Blohmé working the magic

Mats Blohmé working the magic

For the past couple of days, intensive fieldwork was conducted at the site of Sa 14.9 – namely, after the fieldwalking survey and as the next step in my field investigations at Kvarnbo longhouse site, systematic metal detecting survey has now been carried out. I chose metal detecting as a part of my investigations at the site because it is a non-destructive method that has often proven to be useful in order to estimate the distribution of settlements as well as through finds providing a basis for dating sites. It is important to note that because Sa 14.9 is an ancient monument, the first step before undertaking any metal detecting activity was to obtain the necessary permit from the Museum of Åland, which delivered it with exemplary speed 🙂 Besides the official permit, obviously, the permission of the landowner was required as well and I was happy to find “my” landowner very accommodating to these investigations.

The man behind the metal detector was archaeologist Mats Blohmé. Mats’ work with metal detector has played a vital role, for example, in the sensational discovery of half-dozen Migration Period (400-550 AD) gilt-silver relief brooches the from the ring-fort of Sandby Borg on the island of Öland, Sweden, as well as in the discovery of the second largest silver treasure from the same island consisting of approx. 1000 very well preserved coins from the end of the Viking Age. And, now, his name is also added to by no means less important verification of the Late Iron Age longhouse in Saltvik, Åland 🙂 – because, yes, there is now pretty solid evidence that a longhouse, probably of not a very ordinary character, has once stood at Kvarnbo! A number of finds of Late Iron Age date were recorded at the site, however, just for now I intend to keep you waiting for more information in regard to these finds 😉

In total, an area of 7500 m² was investigated. And by “investigated” I do not mean that we just walked over the field with the metal detector; this area was studied inch-by-inch. Literally! Precious metals and their alloys had the priority in metal detector mapping, but as lead and tin objects also yielded relatively clear signals, in practice, only iron object were down prioritized. However, it is pretty clear that the field is scattered with iron objects. The find spots were recorded and, now, I also have a decent collection of photos that could be filed under the title “Things you find on the ploughed fields of Åland” – buttons and buckles, spoons and coins, lead shots and sheet metals and undefinable blobs 🙂

fynd met det


One thought on “The Magic of Metal (detecting)

  1. Mats Blohmé

    What a pleasure and privilege to work on this site. There’s no doubt that you are on to something big and that this will be the starting point for a very interesting discussion about Iron Age Åland.


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