Lost the plot? What plot? I make the rules here on Archaeodeath and if I want to post about making runestone replicas fly in Wales, I darned well will!
So in 2005 I visited Anundshög for the first time: a later prehistoric ceremonial complex in Västmanland, Sweden. Here you can see ship-shaped stone settings, a series of burial mounds, a stone row leading from the ford over adjacent river and a huge prominent 11th-century runestone (Vs13) stating
Folkvid raised all of these stones after his son Heden, Anund’s brother. Vred carved the runes
It is a superb and striking site that my colleagues and friends Alex Sanmark and Sarah Semple have subsequently investigated.
Now when at the National Historical Museum, either in 2005 or on subsequent visits, I bought a paperweight replica of Vs 13. I’ve had it on my office shelf ever since.
Now, regarding my recent post about Archaeology of the Sky, I considered the work of a photographer who tried to evoke place and landscape by throwing rocks into the sky and photographing them: Rocks in the Sky. He has included archaeological sites in his portfolio and I discussed this as a practice that might be adapted as a fun and slightly disturbing way of engaging people with archaeological sites, monuments and landscapes.
So today, I thought this replica runestone might be a perfect item to deploy in my ‘artistic’ endeavour to visualise floating archaeology. So in a park in NE Wales, today my daughter and I experimented in creating flying runestones! Here are our best efforts!
What does this tell us? It is disturbing, deceptive and decidedly incongruous. Beyond that, it probably tells us precious little I guess. It was fun all the same. Yet just maybe it is a comment on Viking diaspora, memory and place and inscribing practices of remembrance – particularly with the juxtaposition of graffitied skate park and runestone – or perhaps more specifically one the crafting and transportation of runestones – seemingly permanent and fixed, and yet malleable spatially and mnemonically. I’ll leave you, dear reader, to decide!