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Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Enigmatic structure discovered in Stockholm Archipelago

An enigmatic ancient structure has been discovered by archaeologists at a secret location in the outer reaches of the Stockholm Archipelago in Sweden.  It is extremely primitive in its construction, but it has similarities with other structures seen in the neighbourhood.

The discovery was made by a research team led by Prof Axel Dumpelson of Stockholm University, during a survey of remote territories undertaken by the Stockholm Cultural Archaeological Mission (SCAM) 2014. 

In response to questions from science journalists, Prof Dumpelson stated that the age of the structure is unknown, but should be revealed when radiocarbon dating results are collated.  The structure is basically made of timber -- logs and driftwood presumably collected from the vicinity, and crudely fashioned with some sharp implement.  The planking on the upper surface of the structure is generally irregular, but some of it seems to have been imported from neighbouring communities which enjoyed a more advanced level of technology.  "We believe that these cut planks may have been acquired as a result of barter or other trading activities," said Prof Dumpelson.  "So the makers of the structure must have had some means of transport between their home area and the islands occupied by rival tribes.  This implies peaceful coexistence, and even friendly cooperation, and we can assume that this structure and others like it must have been symbols of the first great political unification of Scandinavia."

The internal parts of the structure are made of  hundreds of boulders and stones of all shapes and sizes,  including some that are clearly not from the immediate neighbourhood.  This means that they were imported from far distant territories in which they must have have been accorded great spiritual, mystical or economic value.  At least three of the boulders are made of red granite, which is also common in the archipelago of Aland, about 100 km to the north-east.  Prof Dumpelson confirmed that he and his colleagues have now prepared a SEK10 million research grant application to the Swedish Cultural Fund, which will be used in the 2015 field season to discover the quarry from which these stones must have been laboriously extracted.

As for the meaning of the structure, Prof Dumpelson stated that this was a matter of heated debate in academic circles.  "It is clearly not connected with shipping or trading activities," he said, "because the water is here only about 20 cm deep -- not sufficient for trading vessels capable of reaching Mariehamn or even Stockholm.  At present we think it might have been for some ritual purpose, or maybe even a boundary marker of some kind.  Analyses of ancient maps reveal that the structure does indeed lie on the boundary between two territories with different owners.  On the other hand it also points towards the rising of the sun on the distant horizon at the time of the spring equinox, suggesting that the builders were fully aware of the movements of celestial bodies."

Prod Dumpelson suggested that several decades of research lie ahead for the archaeological community before this enigmatic structure will be fully understood.  In the meantime, it is understood that a film contract has recently been signed with the National Geographic Society for a three-hour documentary (with dramatic reconstructions) which will be screened at Christmas time in 2015.


TonyH said...

Any idea whether geomorphologists and/or glaciologists have been, or ought to be, involved in researching and analysing "the hundreds of boulders and stones of all shapes and sizes, including some that are clearly not from the immediate neighbourhood.....?"

Isn't it ironic, particularly if NO geomorphologists are invited to participate in Professor Dumpelson's research team, that the National GEOGRAPHIC Society, as with Stonehenge, is swiftly involved in film-making (and just in time for Christmas!).

Myris of Alexandria said...

I have applied to SCAM for my research on the Medusa effect on Fenno-Scannian trolls at the Summer
Solstice but was refused.
Not enough input from ethnogeomorphologists.
You just cannot win.

chris johnson said...

This is the traditional midsummer solstice jetty, having its origins in the mesolithic when small bands of hunter gatherers would moor their log canoes side by side in preparation for the annual celebrations.

BRIAN JOHN said...

You may be right, Chris. Professor Dumpelson tells me that there is a log embedded in the beach not far away, and that it looks distinctly Mesolithic. Beneath it, there was a half-full bottle of snaps which was still drinkable after all these years. Remarkable.

TonyH said...

I understand, following a private email from MPP, that a squadron of aeroplanes containing Ritual specialists from many far - thinking University Archaeology Depts has landed in the 2cms. of water adjacent to this curiosity, included Messrs Francis Pryor, woodwork expert and Thinker, and Sir Noddy Holder, formerly of The Slade, who said he wanted to be there to represent, at least in accent, his all - time hero, the late Mick Aston of Thyme Team and, more importantly, The Midlands.

Sir Noddy said, with typical Mick Aston understatement, "Well, this will certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons, that is, if there are any this close to the Arctic Circle".