Wednesday 28 May 2008

Authentic Viking DNA Retrieved From 1,000-year-old Skeletons

Although "Viking" literally means "pirate," recent research has indicated that the Vikings were also traders to the fishmongers of Europe. Stereotypically, these Norsemen are usually pictured wearing a horned helmet but in a new study, Jørgen Dissing and colleagues from the University of Copenhagen, investigated what went under the helmet; the scientists were able to extract authentic DNA from ancient Viking skeletons, avoiding many of the problems of contamination faced by past researchers.

Analysis of DNA from the remains of ancient humans provides valuable insights into such important questions as the origin of genetic diseases, migration patterns of our forefathers and tribal and family patterns.

Unfortunately, severe problems connected with the retrieval and analysis of DNA from ancient organisms (like the scarcity of intact molecules) are further aggravated in the case of ancient humans. This is because of the great risk of contamination with abundant DNA from modern humans. Humans, then, are involved at all steps, from excavation to laboratory analyses. This means that many previous results have subsequently been disputed as attributed to the presence of contaminant DNA, and some researchers even claim that it is impossible to obtain reliable results with ancient human DNA.

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Archeologists Discover Unique Things in Veliki Novgorod

A group of archeologists carrying out diggings in Veliki Novgorod have found several ancient feeding bottles for babies.

The finds were discovered at the digging site in Mikhailova Street. Here the archeologists found wooden feeding devices made of cow horns. The Slavs used to attach leather sacks with milk to the broad ends of hollow horns and their babies would suck the milk through holes in the narrow part of horns.

It is interesting to note that not far from the archeological excavation site there is a working municipal kindergarten.

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Monday 26 May 2008

Latest Newsletter from Havhingsten fra Glendalough

The latest Newsletter from Havhingsten fra Glendalough (The Sea Stallion from Glendalough) in now available.

The reproduction Viking ship will sail from Dublin back to Denmark on 29 June. This time the course will be south, round Land’s End, and into the English Channel. The Sea Stallion will stick close to the south coast of England with its famous seaside towns and historic harbours from the days of the full riggers, and then cross the North Sea to Danish waters. The voyage will end in Roskilde on 9th August.

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Sea Stallion steps back in history

AT three o’clock next Thursday afternoon Dubliners will be treated to an extraordinary spectacle. The Viking ship Sea Stallion, which has been on display at the National Museum in Collins Barracks, will be lifted 50 metres into the air by a giant crane. Then the huge vessel will be swung out over the three-storey museum building and deposited in the nearby Croppy’s Acre. In the middle of the night it will be moved to the River Liffey, prior to its long sea journey back to Denmark.

The Sea Stallion was built at Roskilde, the ancient capital of Denmark, and now a quiet town at the head of a long narrow fjord. About 900 years ago ships were scuttled in the fjord to protect the harbour from pirates. In 1962 five of the wrecks were discovered, one of which turned out to have Irish timbers; it had been built in Dublin about the year 1042. A replica was constructed. It required 7,000 iron rivets and 340 trees had to be felled. On September 4, 2004, the ‘Havhingsten fra Glendalough’ was christened by Queen Margrethe.

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Danewerk und Haithabu sollen Weltkulturerbe werden

Mit einem länderübergreifenden Antrag wollen Island, Dänemark, Schweden und Deutschland ihre Stätten der Wikingerkultur als gemeinsames UNESCO-Welterbe anerkennen lassen. Das internationale Propjekt fimiert unter dem Namen "Phenomena and Monuments of Viking Culture".

Die Initiatoren betreten mit ihrem gemeinsamen Antrag weitgehend Neuland. Anträge mehrerer Staaten sind bei der UNESCO bisher selten. Die vier Partner sind zuversichtlich, dass ihr Antrag Erfolg haben wird. Auch hoffen sie, dass sich ihnen weitere Länder mit ihren Wikingerstätten anschließen werden. Erste Signale hierzu aus Kanada und Norwegen sind positiv.

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Thursday 8 May 2008

Irish Viking trade centre unearthed

One of the Vikings' most important trading centres has been discovered in Ireland.

The settlement at Woodstown in County Waterford is estimated to be about 1,200 years old.

It was discovered during archaeological excavations for a road by-pass for Waterford city, which was founded by the Vikings.

The Irish government said the settlement was one of the most important early Viking age trading centres discovered in the country.

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Metal detectorists thrilled at Viking sword find

BURIED for more than a 1,000 years, these beautifully cast fragments of a Viking sword could be a once-in-a-lifetime find for two metal detector enthusiasts in the Isle of Man.
Only the 13th recorded Viking sword found in the Island, it was unearthed by Dan Crowe and Rob Farrer while metal detecting in the north west of the Island.

The two Manx Detectorists Society members have found many interesting artefacts over the years, so they knew the importance of what they had found.

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