Frequently asked questions with answers about archeology
Are you thinking about something? Many questions come to us archaeologists at Kalmar County Museum. Here we have compiled the most common questions together with answers.
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If you do not find what you are looking for then just ask us. Contact information can be found on the web. You can also reach us via the museum's e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0480-45 13 00.
An archaeological excavation is largely about documenting, describing and chronologically determining the remains and traces of human activity that took place before 1850. These may be traces of buildings, cultivation, trade and graves.
When found remains have been documented and examined and any finds have been collected, the archaeologists make an interpretation of how what was found hangs the same to understand how a place was used for a while. Most often, one digs down through the top soil layers by machine, or by hand, to the layer that has been preserved without the influence of modern activity.
When visible remains are found, they are documented, after which the archaeologist continues to work his way down through the different soil layers, each of which may contain traces and remains of activities from different times. The finds found in the various warehouses are placed in special find bags that are carefully provided with information about where they were found. Together, the documentation of the site, the remains and the finds form the material that then forms the basis for the archaeologists' interpretations of a site.
It is always the County Administrative Board that makes decisions about archaeological investigations and when they should take place. Each county has its own county administrative board. In the counties where we mainly work, it is Kalmar and Kronoberg county administrative boards that make decisions. It is also the county administrative board that decides who or what organization who is commissioned to carry out an archaeological survey.
The cost of the archaeological survey varies with the size and type of company. It is always the county administrative board that decides on the cost of the archaeological investigation, even if the contractor submits a cost proposal. The client of the work, ie the person who is to carry out the work company, is also responsible for paying the cost. If, on the other hand, you find a previously unknown ancient monument, the county administrative board decides who will pay. Then it may be that the state instead has to bear the cost.
Archaeological investigations are assignments that the county administrative board has decided on. They must be performed by qualified and trained personnel. Sometimes, however, we hold open screenings with try-out excavations for the public and schools. Feel free to keep an eye out for ads about such occasions in the museum's event calendar and in our social media.
This is probably one of the most common questions we get as archaeologists. The answer is neither flint pieces nor gold. No graves or old ships either. Our investigations are based on a number of specific questions that we formulate before the excavation starts. Each archaeological survey has a plan that states how we are going to dig and what questions we hope to be able to answer with the help of the excavation.
The finds found during an archaeological excavation are usually taken to the museum where they are sorted, cleaned, photographed and registered in the museum's find database. In order not to destroy the objects after they have been taken out of the ground, some of the objects, especially those made of metal, must be sent for preservation. When the objects have been preserved and the report has been published, the objects are placed in the museum's magazine. Sometimes the objects are exhibited at the museum in our exhibitions.
Kalmar County Museum currently has 3-400,000 objects in 44,000 inventory numbers in its collections. Do you have questions about our collections? Feel free to contact one of our employees at The collection unit.
The National Heritage Board describes ancient monuments that trace human activity. In other words, an ancient monument can be, for example, settlements, graves, cultural warehouses in cities or in the countryside, crofts, remains of mills, coal mills and tar valleys, remains in forest land such as clearing piles, fossil arable land, ship remains, erected stones, rock carvings etc. The Cultural Environment Act states what is an ancient monument and what rules apply to the protection and preservation of these.
Ancient remains are protected under the Cultural Environment Act if they were added through "older times' use and are permanently abandoned". If the relic is assumed to have been added, or in the case of shipwrecks sunk, in 1850 or later, this does not count as an ancient relic.
No. All ancient monuments are protected in accordance with the Cultural Environment Act and thus require the County Administrative Board's permission to disturb, cover, excavate or remove.
No. It is prohibited under Swedish law to use a metal detector without the County Administrative Board's permission. For hobby activities, permits are only issued for limited areas indicated on a map and never in connection with ancient monuments. Contact the county administrative board in your county for more information.
If you have found something that you think is an ancient find or an ancient relic, you must report this to the county administrative board in the county where it has been found. If you come across an unknown ancient monument in connection with excavation work, the work must be stopped immediately and a report made to the county administrative board.
Anyone who finds an ancient relic does not receive any money - but you help to increase our common knowledge of older times. For ancient finds, you can sometimes get a hit salary, or so-called redemption in certain special cases. The National Heritage Board decides on such cases based on whether the find is wholly or partly made of precious metal, copper, bronze or other alloy with copper, or whether the find may have been part of a so-called depot or victim find. This means a find that was deliberately put together.
The National Heritage Board's database Fornsök provides basic information about all registered antiquities in Sweden. There you can search for ancient monuments via a digital map or in your area.