”A good first mate will never become a captain.”

”A good first mate will never become a captain.” The words are my dad’s, an old sailor. Meaning that being able to load and unload a ship efficiently is such valuable quality that a shipping company would not be willing to lose it by elevating the first mate to a proper captain. Is it likely…

A thesis in Poznan on Çatalhöyük

Two days ago Maciej Chylenski defended his thesis, and he had a particularly mean and vicious examiner, namely me. With my stealthy and mischievous attacks coming in under the radar, I kept him on his toes. I thought. But actually he didn´t seem to worry too much about my questions. My verbal daggers did not…

A dissertation which taught me that we have to look over our enzymes

PCR is like cars. The car was invented a long time ago, but it remains important, and it is constantly developed and refined. Today I had the pleasure of examining Maja Sidstedt (as a member of the committee, Titia Sijen was the faculty opponent, and an excellent job she did). And the thesis was focused…

Of workshops and mutinies

If you are to move in to a new center, there are several things you need to work out first. Communication, procedures, economical stuff, actually all kinds of stuff. And that could take time, a lot of time. But if one is somewhat sneakily smart, one turns the whole thing into a democratic workshop for…

After publishing

I think I have posted a text on the lifespan of a paper previously. They have their own life, building up to the publication, and then just dying 24 hours after being published. Sure, when published they will be there for ever. But after the last media report on the result (which usually happens within…

Ancient chewing gums and DNA

Mesolithic chewing gums, it is finally properly published. Call me old fashion, but I like the quality control provided by peer review, to me that is proper publishing. And it is nice to move our chewing gums to such media now. This time we are publishing in Communications Biology, one of the Open Access journals…

The Sandby borg days in Kalmar

For three days now have we focused on Sandby borg and the period and special issues relating to it. Helena Viktor and Ludde Papmehl-Dufay managed to pull together both a good set of people who had worked with the material, and also representatives for similar research from neighboring countries. We have heard about the excavations,…

“My heart is now with gallant crew that plough through the angry sea”

Forskning & Framsteg is perhaps the best organization doing popular science in Sweden. They have done it for some time now, since the late 60-ies. And apart from their journal they also organize various events based on popular science. One such is their “Knowledge cruise” which they organize with some frequency. An over-night cruise to…

Another night

Love (Dalén): ”Anders, they told me themselves, they want to do this! You really should write the application. Anders (Götherström): “Yea, but the deadline is tomorrow…” Love: “But if they themselves suggest this kind of application to them, you really should write it up. You know I can’t, I already have a project with them.”…

Mitochondrial DNA, dogs, and Iberia

It has been over 10 years since I was last involved in an ancient DNA project focused on mitochondrias from dogs. Back then we used ancient dogs to study contamination, and the domestication study came as a bonus. This time it is a study with the only purpose to explore a part of the complex…

“Black, Not Gray: Ankara Rocks!”

A visit to Ankara is always uplifting, no matter how short. This one started with a visit to the new aDNA laboratory in Beytepe at Hacettepe University. Yilmaz Selim and Fusun Özer have designed a pretty nice facility there, and it is just about to be taken into use. I think a facility needs a…

Kinship in megalithic tombs

So is it finally published, the paper on kinship in Neolithic megalithic tombs. I did my archaeological training in the early 90-ies, and Carrowmore as well as Ansarve has been with me since the second year of that training. A kinship study on these tombs has been among the top things on my academic wish…