Today was the day of a grant feast in Viking style in the Kvarnbo Viking village that was launched by Ömsen together with Fornföreningen Fibula to celebrate Ömsen’s 150 years of activity. And what a feast it was! 🙂 Good food and excellent ale, many wonderful and happy people. At the site, we were also prepeared for the visitors – I even created an “extra” trench marking out all of our 252 archaeological features so that we could explain everything without stepping into the real trench. We were happy to see that our project sparks interest in a lot of people 🙂 – many found their way from the Kvarnbo Viking village to us and there were lot of questions asked. It is stimulating and encouraging to meet so many enthusiastic visitors and we thank everybody that found their way to our site!
With the start of our work, first journalists have already visited the excavation site. Åland’s radio and TV had a reportage with us and if you understand Swedish, you can listen to that following this link 🙂 Their reporter Tomas Tornefjell made even a short movie with the pretense of just “testing the camera” 😀 Nya Åland printed the story of our excavation start as the centerpiece of their today’s newspaper. The cover photo by Erkki Santamala really captured the genuine action with the pointed hoe.
Weeks ago, I was counting weeks until the beginning of the excavations, now, however, it is the matter of counting days 🙂 In exactly 30 days (or about 720 hours) the excavations will officially commence. How exiting is this!!!
Invitation to the biggest birthday party ever organized on the Åland Islands
While on the subject of counting, in exactly 70 days (or about 1680 hours), there will be a grant feast in Viking style in the Kvarnbo Viking village launched by Ömsen together with Fornföreningen Fibula to celebrate Ömsen’s 150 years of activity. There are 17 400 (!!!) private customers invited to this birthday party (which must be like the biggest birthday party ever organized on Åland considering that the islands have a population of only 28 000). And the program is rather pompous. Obviously, food and drinks will be offered, there are a lots of hands-on activities planned as well as performances. And I will be talking as well 🙂 – there will be three short lectures about the Late Iron Age on Åland. I’ll have a chronological approach meaning that I will start by telling about the global climate happenings and its’ impacts on Åland in the beginning of the era, second lecture might be titled as the time of the Kvarnbo Hall, and in my third lecture I will discuss the matters related to the end of the Late Iron age and I will try to do my best to answer the question, why there are no rune-stones on Åland. Visitors are also welcomed to visit our excavation site at the same time and see all the magic that has been revealed to that point 😀
If you have received the invitation to this feast, do not forget to register the whole family on www.omsen.ax before 20 June (that is in 9 days or about 216 hours counting from now 😀 )
Lecturing in the school of Strandnäs. Photo by Kjell Söderlund
Several months have passed by in silence on this channel – but it doesn’t mean that I have been silent otherwise and, especially, regarding the Kvarnbo Hall 😀 The thing is that I have actually talked a lot, and I mean a lot, as for the past 3 month I have had a serious “tour” in the primary schools of Åland talking about the Iron Age on the islands. The gist of my lecture was “walking through” the Iron Age on the Åland Islands, talking about archaeological interpretations and what are these based on, about how archaeologists work. The lecture was intended for the pupils that already have prehistory on their syllabus, and in these parts of the world, it meant mostly fourth graders (i.e. students are around 10 years old), but on some occasions even the 5th and 6th graders were participating. This was the first time for me officially holding lectures for children and I have to admit that it was actually a lot of fun. I never got tired of holding basically the same lecture over and over again as every lecture turned out to be different from previous ones. Reason for this was probably the fact that children ask a lot of and different kind of questions 🙂 It became obvious for me that their attitude towards lectures is so much different from adults as there is no question that children are afraid of asking. And, you know what, none of these questions was actually irrelevant to the topic in general – well, maybe except the questions about my age, which seemed to turn up several times 😀 All in all, it was a really positive experience for me and what I have heard from teachers afterwards, equally enjoyable for pupils. It made me especially happy to hear about a pupil who otherwise was so uninterested in anything that has with school to do, but was after my lecture afire with enthusiasm declaring that this was the best lecture ever. But at the same time, archaeology is very interesting (….it just makes a really bad main career…. but that is totally another story), and I am now certain that I don’t mind having lectures for children even in the future!
In addition to talking about archaeology, I have, of course, also been working with the preparations for the summer’s excavations in Kvarnbo, but more about that in my next post 😉
Well, winter as the season of the year will astronomically start in some days (I think its 22nd of December this year?). In terms of proper snow and ice as a defining factor, winter will probably skip its accepted appearance on Åland even this year…. However, it is not the matter of seasons and their characteristics I would like to share today; I would like to introduce Winter as a film production company. They have produced a number of commercials here on Åland and are now, on my sponsor Ömsen‘s behalf, working on creating a special website to the Kvarnbo Hall research. I am pretty excited about this new web platform in creation; obviously, the blog will be integrated into this new home page and will surely benefit from an updated design. But Winter is also working on a short movie trailer that is meant to tease and excite about the project. This is probably not the easiest task in the word – it is, after all, the knowledge creation process they must aim to create hype and attract attention to. But I think it will turn out just fine. Especially as this trailer is produced together with Disir productions working on the 3D reconstruction of the area and the things that have been done for this reconstruction look already absolutely amazing!
How do you think the Kvarnbo Hall looked like in the end of the Late Iron age for the people living 350 meters north from the longhouse site? The scene today is decidedly different 😉
Last week, the photogrammetric work during the excavations at Kvarnbohall was presented by me, Frands and Daniel at CAA-SE workshop in Stockholm. CAA-SE as in Computer Applications & Quantitative Methods in Archaeology – Swedish Chapter. Half an hour felt hardly enough in order to be very specific, but I do think that our presentation went well as we managed to cover everything we wanted to talk about. In general, it felt like unlike the other cases presented, our photogrammetric work at Kvarnbohall was much more daring as deriving measurements from 3D models was already initially part of the method employment (i.e. total station was practically ditched) and we were not using the method parallel to traditional archaeological documentation. The visually attractive representation of site, trenches and features (something that seemed to be emphasized by others at the workshop) is obviously very important as well, but it is the possibility of taking accurate measurements from the photographs that seduced me in regard to photogrammetry. Well, I appreciate this hybridized documentation technique as a whole!
(but I should seriously start working with other aspects of the site-report as well…. (although, I am not yet tired of exploring the models created – there is something very meditative to view the post-holes – you can try it yourself 😉 by following this link) ).
- If you happen to be on the Åland Islands tomorrow, Saturday 14th of June, you should absolutely come to Kvarnbo, to the Viking village, at 12 o’clock noon 🙂 because after two years of hard work, the association called Fornföreningen Fibula is ready to launch their (first) Viking ship and I will speak about Viking Age!
Fibula is all about increasing knowledge about Viking Age on Åland and they are active in reconstructing different constructions from the time in the Viking village, situated just by the road to Kvarnbo; they implement experiments and regularly demonstrate various crafts to public as well as have courses in ancient handicraft for people interested. They also engage in role play and re-enactment. Not to mention their role in the very successful yearly Viking market that has been arranged in Saltvik since year 2000. And starting from April 2012, the members of Fibula have built a Viking ship that has been inspired by the archaeological finds from Valsgärde, Sweden. Well, to be entirely correct, Fibula has built a boat and not a ship, as it is just 10 meters long 😛 and in the maritime archaeology tradition I have been educated in, the kinds of vessels under the discussion that are sized less than 12 meters in length are to be called boats. However, in general, I suppose the question about the difference between a boat and a ship will always remain a hot topic of discussion among people as there are other factors besides the length of the vessel to consider before any labelling.
Olaus Magnus 1555 (Historia de Gentibus Septentrionalibus)
In any case, the launching of Fibula’s boat will be a really spectacular event as the boat will be carried (!) and hauled (!) and rolled forward on logs (!) about 500 meters from the location where it was built to Kvarnbo bay where the vessel will be launched and given a proper name.
But before the activities connected to the actual launch of the Viking vessel, yours truly will talk about Viking Age in general, about Viking Age in Kvarnbo, but most of all, about the longhouse and other finds in the field north of the church of Kvarnbo. To be honest, I am a bit intimidated as there is no PowerPoint available, or any other technical equipment for that matter, and this will be thus my very first 30 minutes presentation ever without for me a customary possibility to show pictures… Come and witness how it happens! 😀
- However, if you are interested in somewhat longer presentation with loads and loads of lovely pictures and with the possibility to ask me questions, you should absolutely attend the presentation I will have on Tuesday 17th of June. This presentation takes room in the Åland Parliament Building in Mariehamn – Självstyrelsegården – in the auditorium called Sälskär, at 18 o’clock. This presentation will have much more specific focus on my project.
Although there are some parts that are overlapping, these two presentations will still be unlike and, therefore, I say – come to both! And, yes, both presentations will be in Swedish.