Monday, 11 November 2019

Stave churches in Norway older than thought


Hopperstad Stave Church in Sogn og Fjordane county is dendro-dated to 1131-1132. Previously, the date was estimated at 1125-1250 
[Credit: Jan Michael Stornes]

Recently, researchers have used a different measurement method called photodendrometry. With this technique, the material can be photographed in place. The method has the advantage of not needing to take core samples, and scientists can photograph large amounts of material in a protected building and procure larger amounts of data. This provides more precise knowledge of the estimated construction date, because it allows wood that cannot be core sampled to also be dated.

Through the Stave Church Preservation program headed by the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage, dendrochronologists at NTNU received money to study the country's stave churches more closely. The program has yielded results.

"We now know the age of some stave churches almost to the year," says Terje Thun. He is an associate professor at the NTNU University Museum in Trondheim. Thun is one of the country's foremost experts in dendrochronology, or tree ring dating.

Read the rest of this article...

Sunday, 3 November 2019

The Viking warrior WOMEN: Scientists reconstruct the face of 1,000-year-old female with a 'battle wound' on her skull who was buried with a hoard of weapons in Norway

Scientists reconstructed the face of the female warrior who lived more than 1,000 years ago by anatomically working from the muscles and layering of the skin

Scientists have re-created the face of a female Viking warrior who lived more than 1,000 years ago. 

The woman is based on a skeleton found in a Viking graveyard in Solør, Norway, and is now preserved in Oslo's Museum of Cultural History.

While the remains had already been identified as female, the burial site had not been considered that of a warrior 'simply because the occupant was a woman', archaelogist Ella Al-Shamahi told The Guardian. 

But now British scientists have brought the female warrior to life using cutting-edge facial recognition technology. 

And scientists found the woman was buried with a hoard of deadly weaponry including arrows, a sword, a spear and an axe. 

Researchers also discovered a dent in her head, which rested on a shield in her grave, that was consistent with a sword wound.  

Read the rest of this article...

Meet Erika the Red: Viking women were warriors too, say scientists

Ella Al-Shamahi comes face to face with the Viking woman’s skull. Photograph: Eloisa Noble/National Geographic

Think of a Viking warrior and you probably imagine a fearsome, muscular, bearded man. Well, think again. Using cutting-edge facial recognition technology, British scientists have brought to life the battle-hardened face of a fighter who lived more than 1,000 years ago. And she’s a woman.

The life-like reconstruction, which challenges long-held assumptions that Viking warrior heroes such as Erik the Red left their women at home, is based on a skeleton found in a Viking graveyard in Solør, Norway, and now preserved in Oslo’s Museum of Cultural History. The remains had already been identified as female, but her burial site had not been considered a warrior grave “simply because the occupant was a woman”, according to archaelogist Ella Al-Shamahi.

As they worked on reconstructing her face for a 21st-century audience, scientists found that not only was the woman buried amid an impressive collection of deadly weaponry, including arrows, a sword, a spear and an axe, she also had suffered a head injury consistent with a sword wound. Her head, resting in her grave on a shield, was found to have a dent in it serious enough to have damaged the bone.

Read the rest of this article...