Sunday 22 February 2009

Face-to-face with a brutal past

YORK’s Viking Festival reaches a spectacular finale tonight.

The five-day sell-out festival is the largest event of its kind in the UK, attracting over 40,000 visitors from around the world, many from the Scandinavian countries. It culminates with a sound and light battle at the Eye of York in the shadow of Clifford’s Tower. Entertainment starts from 4.45pm, with the battle starting at 5.45pm.

The huge number of visitors to the festival put a big strain on temporary traffic lights at the junction of Water End and Salisbury Terrace, and caused some traffic delays in the city.

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Tuesday 17 February 2009

Heritage at Risk from Nighthawking

New Survey Reveals Low Levels of Prosecution and Crime Reporting

A national survey commissioned by English Heritage and supported by its counterparts across the UK and Crown Dependencies has revealed that the threat to heritage posed by illegal metal detecting, or nighthawking, is high but arrest or prosecution remains at an all time low and penalties are woefully insufficient.

The Nighthawking Survey, published today (16th February 2009), found out that over a third of sites attacked by illegal metal detectorists between 1995 and 2008 are Scheduled Monuments and another 152 undesignated sites are also known to have been raided, but secrecy surrounding the crime means that it is significantly under-reported. Only 26 cases have resulted in formal legal action, with the punishment usually being a small fine from as little as £38. (Illegally parking a car carries a £120 fine.)

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Monday 16 February 2009

No Comment

Owing to the rather infantile behaviour of a number of people who seem unable to confine their comments to a decent academic debate, I have very reluctantly decided to remove all comments from this blog and not to allow any comments in the future.

My sincere apologies to those of you who made useful contributions. I am afraid that it is a case of a thoughtless few idiots spoiling things for everyone else.

David Beard

Inukpasuit, Inuit and Viking contact in ancient times

There are many stories of ‘Qavlunaat,’ white-skinned strangers who were encountered in Inuit-occupied lands in times of old. Stories of contact between these foreign people and Inuit were passed down the generations and used mostly to scare children to behave “or the Qavlunaat will get them.”

This sparked my curiosity to explore both sides of the encounters from written records and Inuit oral legends to see if some of these events can be correlated. One must recall that these legends were passed down orally in the Inupiaq language.

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Thursday 12 February 2009

Major study to map our Viking heritage

MEN with long family links to West Cumbria are wanted to take part in a study to uncover the area’s Viking heritage.

Researchers at the University of Leicester are seeking men from northern England to help map the impact the arrival of Vikings in about 900AD had on the area.

Professor of genetics Mark Jobling said some knowledge of how Vikings affected the landscape could be gauged from archaeology and place names, such as Branthwaite, Flimby, Birkby, Crosby, Allerby and Dovenby, but the effect on genetics was less clear.

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Sunday 8 February 2009

Are you descended from Vikings?

But did the Vikings leave their genes behind as well? Scientists at the world-famous Department of Genetics at the University of Leicester, home of DNA fingerprinting, are beginning a new study to map the extent of Viking ancestry in men who live in the north of England.The study will focus on the Y chromosome, part of our DNA that is passed down from fathers to sons.Previous work from the group, led by Prof Mark Jobling, has shown a high degree of Viking ancestry among men from the Wirral and West Lancashire, and now the aim is to extend the work further afield.One question to be addressed is the relative distribution of Norse Vikings, focused in the west, and Danish Vikings in the east.

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