Friday 20 March 2009

UNESCO refuses to move Denmark’s Jelling Stones

The Jelling Stones, ancient monuments that declare the birth of the Danish nation, have been ordered by UNESCO to remain outdoors in their natural location despite calls from Denmark’s National Museum that they are steadily eroding. The stones’ outdoor location at Jelling Church in Jutland places them at the mercy of a cold and wet climate.

Experts from UNESCO did their own research and concluded that the stones were best left where they are. UNESCO has placed both the Jelling Stones and the church on its list of World Heritage Monuments, so if Denmark wants to maintain their prestigious status they have to follow the orders of UNESCO.

The Copenhagen Post reports that Denmark’s National Museum determined earlier that the cold, damp weather in Jelling was slowly eroding the stones and their priceless runic engravings, and suggested that they be moved indoors to better preserve them.

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70th anniversary of Sutton Hoo's discovery

It was in 1939 an astonishing discovery was made at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk - the ship burial of an Anglo-Saxon warrior king and his most treasured possessions.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of this amazing discovery and to celebrate the occasion The National Trust are holding a 1930s garden party, just as there was 70 years ago.

Mrs. Edith Pretty owned the estate at the time of discovery in 1939. She had brought in local archaeologist Basil Brown the year before to investigate the mounds located on the site, under the supervision of Guy Maynard, curator at Ipswich Museum.

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Monday 16 March 2009

In praise of ... Vikings

There's no disputing that the Vikings have had a bad press - and not without reason. Immense whirlwinds and fiery dragons signalled their sacking of Lindisfarne in 793, states the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, while Alcuin of York thought such terror had never before been suffered in Britain. For the ensuing centuries the Vikings have been so synonymous with rape and pillage that the question "What did the Vikings ever do for us?" might seem to have no mitigating answer. In fact, as scholars have long known and as a conference at Cambridge university this weekend has heard, there was a lot more to the Vikings than pillage. Most Norse people of the nearly 300-year Viking period were farmers not raiders,

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Sunday 15 March 2009

Vikings 'welcomed' as immigrants

Vikings successfully blended into British and Irish culture long before they were labelled as barbaric raiders, academics have told a conference.

Researchers unveiled two dozen studies this weekend at Cambridge University revealing how Vikings shared technology and ideas with Anglo-Saxons and Celts.

They argue Vikings should be seen as an early example of immigrants being successfully assimilated.

New evidence shows this assimilation occurred over a very short period.

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Friday 13 March 2009

Vikings lived 'harmoniously with our ancestors'

Viking warriors who raided and colonised Britain in the 11th century went on to form harmonious relationships with our ancestors, scientists claim.

The Scandinavian invaders are remembered in history books as barbaric savages who pillaged towns and villages, and raped their women.

But new evidence shows that following their violent arrival, the Vikings lived in relative harmony with their Anglo-Saxon and Celtic counterparts.

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The Vikings: it wasn't all raping and pillaging

Forget what history tells us about the Nordic invaders. New research suggests they were model immigrants who co-existed peacefully with the natives

For centuries, they have been stereotyped as marauding barbarians arriving in their helmeted hordes to pillage their way across Britain. But now a group of academics believe they have uncovered new evidence that the Vikings were more cultured settlers who offered a "good historical model" of immigrant assimilation.

The evidence is set to be unveiled at a three-day Cambridge University conference starting today, when more than 20 studies will reveal how the Vikings shared technology, swapped ideas and often lived side-by-side in relative harmony with their Anglo-Saxon and Celtic contemporaries. Some may have come, plundered and left, but those Vikings who decided to settle rather than return to Scandinavia learnt the language, inter-married, converted to Christianity and even had "praise poetry" written about them by the Brits, according to the experts.

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Spotlight on the cuddly side of the Vikings

Academics gathering for a three-day conference on Vikings starting today at Cambridge University will celebrate the gentle side of the invaders: the town planners, ship builders, farmers, coin minters and stone carvers who were forever swapping songs, stories or a better way to rig a mainsail with their Gaelic neighbours.

"The rehabilitation of the Vikings is nothing new to academics, but it is surprising how enduring the myths are," conference organiser Maire Ni Mhaonaigh said. "Of course, initially there were extremely destructive raids, but over the four centuries covered by our conference they became completely integrated, even identifying themselves as the Gall-Gael, the Irish Scandinavians."

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Monday 9 March 2009

North Yorkshire's heritage goes on line

FULL details of some of North Yorkshire’s finest historic monuments is being published on the internet for the first time.

The Historic Environment Record, owned and maintained by the county council, is a database of information about archaeology, historic buildings and landscapes.

Primarily used by the authority and others to help manage and protect them, it is also often of use to researchers and of interest to the public.

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