Prospects for Sweden
Rundkvist, Martin, Antiquity
Swedish archaeology enters the new decade reeling, not so much from seasonal feasting as from lay-offs and excavation unit close-downs caused by the 2008-09 recession. Where to now? Where should we go? And, wishful thinking aside, where are we likely to end up?
Where are we now?
Ours is a large country with many spruce trees, many elks and few people. We are only 9.3 million citizens on 450 000[km.sup.2], with 90 per cent of that population living in the country's southern third where almost all land development takes place. Sweden has one of the world's most comprehensive sites and monuments registers (www.fornsok.se) and probably the world's strongest legal protection for archaeological sites. In Sweden, a site receives protection comparable to UK scheduling the moment it is identified. Our concept of a site currently extends to tar-making pits, isolated cultivation layers and the findspots of single knapped quartz flakes. And it shows a long-term tendency to grow ever more inclusive. All medieval towns are large sites, legally speaking. If citizens have reason to believe that there is a site in front of them, then they are required by law to protect it from harm.
Land owners have no right to finds that others make on their property and there are no trespassing laws. Metal-detector use is severely restricted. Archaeological finds belong to the finder, though anything made, at least in part, of precious metal or copper alloy must be offered to the state for a reward, as must any objects of other materials where more than one are found together, such as a scatter of flint and pottery. The Museum of National Antiquities, where many of the finest objects are kept, has a world-class online catalogue (mis.historiska.se).
Salvage archaeology is developer-funded and each job above a certain cost-threshold is put out to tender by the county council. The council also handles heritage aspects of building permits and decides whether there is a salvage job in each case. Contract archaeology is a three-step process: evaluation, trial excavation and final excavation. The evaluation step allows the County Archaeologist to place …
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Publication information: Article title: Prospects for Sweden. Contributors: Rundkvist, Martin - Author. Journal title: Antiquity. Volume: 84. Issue: 325 Publication date: September 2010. Page number: 848+. © 2008 Antiquity Publications, Ltd. COPYRIGHT 2010 Gale Group.
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