With new technology the vast majority of archeological “excavations” and discoveries are now done in cardboard boxes found in museum storages.
Dendrochronology, bio-archeology, CT scannings, AI and accurate 3D printing makes old finds interesting objects for further investigation.
You are what you eat, and everything you eat and drink will be logged in your body. The calcium in yesterday’s breakfast bacon will be tomorrow’s replacement cells in your skeleton.
Especially the isotopic ratio variations of strontium and oxygen will incorporate quite specific geographic signatures in your body.
“I was in Spain for a couple of weeks; it has become a part of my body”. Yes, it literally has!
If we make a cross section of a sample of your skeleton, slices will reveal where you have lived your entire life: Birka 15 years, Holmgarð 2 years, Kiev 6 months, Miklagarð 5 years, Kiev 3 years, Ribe 3 years, Jórik 2 years…
Teeth will confirm where you grew up, and the fastest growing part of your body – your hair – will add a very specific travel log of the last year, or so: Jórik 3 months, London 1 month, Jórik 2 months, Repton 1 week.
Skeletons, teeth and hair will in many cases last for thousands of years if buried in good soil.
Now it’s possible to separate the male and female chromosomes in DNA, so scientists, who thought that the population of Iceland was mostly purebred descendants from Norway, basically inbreeding for several generations, found that it turned out to be blokes from Norway who made a small detour to Ireland and picked up some Cailins, before settling on Iceland.
Recently Norwegian-English archeologist Doctor Cat Jarman identified some semi precious stones, from a Viking grave in Repton, England, that can only be found in Gujarat, in India. Making this proved connection across the continent, it sparked a new interest in the travels and conquests of the Rus Vikings, and led her to write the best selling book “River Kings“.
In Riksantikvarieämbetet in Stockholm Laila Kitzler Åhfeldt has developed a method to identify stonemasons of runestones by scanning the runestones, and basically use the same kind of software as you would use to recognise fingerprints, but in 3D.
Every mason has his own rhythm and style in his muscle memory, and the runes engraved reveal this.
That is how we know that Ravnunge Tue who made both Jelling stones also made the Læborg stone [SJy37] and a few more.
With all the new technology we can basically trace things back to an exact date and place, and answer all the question: Why, how, where, when, who and why not.
We all love a good detective series on TV, providing a little personal drama, hidden clues, lots of lies, and the smart detective who will methodically filter out all the noise, and find the truth with an abundance of proof. Even more impressing when it’s a “cold case”.
Archeology can do this: Solve 1000 years old cold cases.
What’s not to love?