From the editors - 2020


For the second year running, Current Swedish Archaeology begins with a themed group of research papers which provide a variety of perspectives on a shared topic. This year we present seven peer-reviewed contributions exploring a theme of human-animal relations, based on a workshop held in Kalmar in late 2018. Kristin Armstrong Oma and Joakim Goldhahn provide an introduction to the topic and each individual paper, showing how a focus on relations between humans and non-human animals within archaeological contexts possesses great potential to bring different kinds of archaeologies together. The theme includes papers presenting the results from natural science-based analyses, image-based research, studies of depositional rituals, and discussions arising from personal experience, making for a lively and varied collection. For 2021 we intend to return to the keynote discussion format, but we welcome proposals for future themed sections.

Three freestanding research papers follow. Two investigate intentionally deposited groups of artefacts, often known as hoards, but from widely spread periods and at different scales. First, Mathias Bjørnevad-Ahlqvist analyses 124 depositions from southern Scandinavia, showing that contrary to the common assertion that hoarding began in the Neolithic, these practices can be traced back to at least the Early Maglemose and extend throughout the Mesolithic. A catalogue of the studied hoards is included in the supplementary online material, along with details of use-wear analyses.

Second, Nanouschka Myrberg Burström provides a re-interpretation of the celebrated Viking-Age precious metal deposition from Eketorp in central Sweden. The paper presents new findings from excavations in 2017 and 2019, contextualizes the finds, and demonstrates how a biographical approach may fruitfully be applied to assemblages as well as to single objects. The deposited collection contains an exceptional number of miniatures and pendants, jewellery, and some unusual coins, and the author shows that it has been thematically composed.

The third freestanding research paper is by Vivian Smits, whose work investigates archaeological and museum practices and how they shape the artefact collections we preserve for the future. She uses the site Nya Lödöse (1473–1621) in Gothenburg as a case study, comparing find collecting practices during three episodes of archaeological excavation in 1915–1918, the 1960s and 2013–2018. In particular, the study aims to highlight the effects of the commercialization of archaeological services since the 1980s, and the impact of current legislative frameworks on the selection and discarding of finds.

Three reviews are included, all of books released in 2019 which present significant new research and perspectives on Scandinavian material. The first is Joakim Goldhahn’s Birds in the Bronze Age: A North European Perspective, published by CUP, which takes the reader further into the thinking behind the themed section in this volume. Next comes the revised second edition of Neil Price’s influential The Viking Way: Magic and Mind in Late Iron Age Scandinavia, published by Oxbow Books. The third is Gold Foil Figures in Focus: A Scandinavian Find Group and Related Objects and Images from Ancient and Medieval Europe, a 452-page fully illustrated volume edited by Alexandra Pesch and Michaela Helmbrecht and published under the auspices of the lively research environment at Schloss Gottorf, Schleswig.

We are excited to include a notice outlining the results so far from the extensive excavations in the Slussen area of central Stockholm, which have been underway since 2013 in advance of major redevelopment. Scheduled for completion in 2023 and with a target area of over two hectares, this will be the largest archaeological investigation ever carried out in the city.

A second notice gives a brief summary of the conference on sexual harassment organized by the Swedish Archaeological Society (Svenska Arkeologiska Samfundet), which had to be postponed earlier in the year but was successfully held in a pandemic-adjusted form this autumn.

In our last editorial we wished readers a great 2020, a hope that we fear has not been fulfilled for many. This year we are especially grateful to everyone involved in the lengthy production process, not least the over thirty unseen but indispensable peer reviewers, for their prompt work which has enabled us to release this volume on schedule despite the difficult circumstances.

Relatedly, several articles in this volume are authored by current or recently graduated PhD students, a trend which reflects the widening acceptance in the discipline of the model in which doctoral theses are composed of published papers. CSA is glad to be able to offer a constructive review process to all authors, but especially to early career researchers often publishing for the first time and under time pressure.

Last time we also expressed a wish for journal funding opportunities and there we are delighted to announce that the news is entirely positive. CSA has been awarded full funding for 2021–2023 from the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) through their journal grant for humanities and social sciences. The Swedish Archaeological Society had stepped in to support the journal during a gap in funding for the last few years, but the situation was not sustainable. We are therefore greatly relieved to be on a sound footing again.

Meanwhile digitalization efforts continue: CSA is working with the National Library of Sweden (Kungliga biblioteket) as a pilot case for their development of an open journal platform. It is hoped that this will become operational during the coming year and enable us to, for example, offer machine-readable articles.

Lastly, although it feels but yesterday that the current editors leapt into the CSA deep end, we are now starting on our fourth volume. Since we intend to do a five-year stretch including a handover year, the search will soon be on for our replacements.

Sophie Bergerbrant and Alison Klevnäs, editors
December 2020