Damage Assessed at Ravlunda Iron Age Cemetery

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Yet another piece of news about Bob Lind's most recent archaeoastronomical caper (previously covered here and here).

The Scania County Archaeologist has had an independent contractor assess and document the damage done to an Early Iron Age cemetery by Lind and former geology professor Nils-Axel Mörner. The men's interventions will be repaired and the site's protected area will be enlarged, but no charges will be pressed. It's an unusual case as Lind made his unauthorised interference with the site known through a press release!

Here are a few choice quotations from contract archaeologist Lasse Wallin's report. I translate:

"The amateur archaeologist has issued a press release where he enumerates 55 stones on the central hillock, that is, within and immediately outside registered site 169. This may be compared to the Sites and Monuments Register's "c. 19 stones". Furthermore, eight stones on the eastern hillock are used in alignments, as are two on the western one. Many of these stones have clearly been excavated or de-turfed in the past few weeks. A number of pits have also been dug, of which some have been backfilled. Their depth seems to have been 0.1-0.2 meters. In two shallow pits, about 0.05 meters deep, flat stones have been placed. These stones apparently mark the centres of stone circles someone has envisioned."

"Repairing the damage to the site is important as the uncovering of selected stones according to a preconceived idea gives a doubtful impression of the monument."

"To possibly restore the site, in the sense of returning it to its original state [on the day of the last burial, one imagines] would be impossible without a very thorough investigation with non-destructive methods, and perhaps an excavation. Such a radical restoration would be neither feasible, nor, in our opinion, desirable."

"Fig. 8. Digging damage at 7. No stone was found at the desired spot!"

In other news, I have learned that Lind is not only an amateur archaeoastronomer, but also a practicing homeopath. Why am I not surprised?

Update 11 January: Clas Svahn covers the report in Dagens Nyheter.

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I've emailed Clas Svahn at Dagens Nyheter about it. I'm afraid it's not very newsworthy, though. Archaeology is generally beyond the ken of the news media.

Martin R: PURITY OF ESSENCE!

By Caledonian (not verified) on 21 Dec 2007 #permalink

Obviously you didn't watch him being interviewed in a very reverent manner in Swedish Televison as a great scientific expert. Interviews also with star-struck local residents. And to top it all with the "l�nsantikvarie" (?) who underlined the great touristic potential of this sensational find.

M�rner is the famous "dowser" I suppose?

Anatoly, yes, Sweden has the world's strictest legal protection for archaeological sites. (This is possible because a) we are very rich, b) we have very puny sites compared to e.g. Italy.

Bengt, yep, Dowsing Mörner.

I think the author uses the word nedgrävning, literally meaning "digging-down". You are of course right that not all digging-down produces anything that resembles a pit.