A funny discovery

An involuntary participant in the campaign against the EEC

The first week in Trondheim is over and everything has been going to plan, or possibly better. We have got a lot of work done. We have gone through more than a hundred boxes with skeletal remains and I’ve picked the ones I want to sample from and after that we went through the boxes again to examine the skeletons in the sample. Although I’ve examined quite a few, and determined sex and estimated age at death, there is┬ástill work for another couple of days doing this. Some interesting pathologies and other features have also come to light. I will tell you about one of these finds. It is not a skeletal feature as such but rather evidence of what can be a problem when excavating human skeletons. For some reason, some people like to steal skulls from excavation sites. There are many stories about this but this is the first time I’ve seen evidence of this in a skeletal collection. The pictures show a cranium from the S├Şndregate site which was excavated in 1971. This was the year before Norway’s first referendum to join the EEC and people were mobilising for and against Norwegian membership. As evident from the photos, this was stolen by someone in the against camp. Written on the cranium are the words “mot EEC” (against the EEC), together with the words “love” and “peace”. It is, of course, unacceptable to remove skulls or any other object from archaeological sites, but at least it was decent of them to return this fine cranium. Or maybe they got caught. At least it’s back where it belongs. Now, 42 years later, it is an amusing find and a funny story.


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Immigration and mobility in mediaeval and post-mediaeval Norway
Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion, University of Bergen
E-mail: stian.hamre@ahkr.uib.no

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