Thursday 24 June 2010

Ten things you didn’t know about the Lewis Chessmen

The Lewis Chessmen Unmasked exhibition in Edinburgh brings together the British Museum and the National Museum of Scotland’s collections of the Lewis Chessmen – a set of medieval gaming pieces, originating most likely from Trondheim in the 12th or 13th century, which were discovered on the Hebridean island of Lewis sometime between 1780 and 1831.

Individually hand-carved from walrus ivory, and numbering 93 pieces in total – 82 of which are held by the British Museum, the remaining 11 by the National Museum of Scotland – the Lewis Chessmen are world famous for their mysterious origins, unique design and curious, almost comical expressions, which range from moody kings to a frightened-looking warder biting down on his shield. They even made a cameo in the film Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Read the rest of this article...

Archaeologists uncover Harald Bluetooth’s royal palace

In what they describe as a ‘sensational’ discovery, archaeologists from Århus find the remains of 10th century king’s royal residence

After speculating for centuries about its location, the royal residence of Harald Bluetooth has finally been discovered close to the ancient Jellinge complex with its famous runic stones in southern Jutland.

The remains of the ancient wooden buildings were uncovered in the north-eastern corner of the Jellinge complex which consists of royal burial mounds, standing stones in the form of a ship and runic stones.

Read the rest of this article...

Monday 21 June 2010

Two Birch Bark Manuscripts Found by Schoolgirl

Three ancient birchbark manuscripts and a seal have been discovered at Troitsky archeological pit in Veliki Novgorod.

On June, 17th a schoolgirl named Elizaveta Godunova taking part in the digging found two manuscripts. One of them is a three-line fragment 28 cm long. As roughly estimated by experts it dates back to the early 13th century and, probably, represents a bill of debt, since it monetary units of Old Russia are specified in it. The manuscript has been given the number 974.

Data concerning the second manuscript under the number 975 are still specified, but, according to archeologists, these are two independent documents, not related to each other.

Read the rest of this article...

Friday 18 June 2010

Herbal cold remedy from Iceland

SagaMedica’s online store has launched “SagaVita”, a herbal cold remedy made from Icelandic angelica herb; the same plant Vikings used in herbal medicine a thousand years ago.

There are absolutely, and without a doubt, no accounts of Leif the Lucky ever having suffered from a cold infection.

Leif, like other Vikings, was probably an avid consumer of the angelica herb. And justifiably so, it would seem, as modern research suggests antiviral angelica remedies may be used for preventing colds and other seasonal illnesses.

Read the rest of this article...

Monday 14 June 2010

School set to pay fiery tribute to a Viking past

A Viking boat will be burnt on Broadstairs beach as part of a school’s celebrations to mark its links with the past.

The 32ft-long Viking longship will burn brightly on the beach for about 50 minutes on the evening of Saturday, June 26.

The fire will be lit at 8pm and everyone is invited to attend Viking Bay to watch the spectacle, which is being held to mark Bradstow School’s 100th birthday.

Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday 9 June 2010

Historian reveals new insights into medieval rune stones

It was not necessary to be literate to be able to access rune carvings in the 11th century. At the same time those who could read were able to glean much more information from a rune stone than merely what was written in runes. This is shown in new research from Uppsala University in Sweden.

Rune stones are an important part of the Swedish cultural environment. Many of them are still standing in their original places and still bear witness about the inhabitants of the area from a thousand years ago. They thereby represent a unique source of knowledge about the Viking Age, providing us with glimpses of a period we otherwise would have known very little about. Among other themes, they tell us about family relations, travels, or matters of faith, and all of it in a language that scholars can understand fairly readily.

Read the rest of this article...

Tuesday 8 June 2010

Archaeologists given the rune around

A new study of rune stones from Viking times shows that many of the carvings are meaningless

After studying about a thousand inscriptions on ancient rune stones scattered around Scandinavia, a researcher from Uppsala University in Sweden has come to the conclusion that many of the carvings are gibberish.

The researcher claims that the Vikings who carved them couldn’t write and the people who saw them couldn’t read.

‘What was important was showing that you could write,’ explained researcher Marco Bianchi, who is an expert in Nordic languages. ‘What you wrote wasn’t so important since no-one could read it anyway.’

Read the rest of this article...

Sunday 6 June 2010

Priest who led campaign to save Viking site is honoured

THE most important Viking settlement ever found in Europe would have been lost forever were it not for an Augustinian priest who led the public campaign to halt its destruction by Dublin Corporation.

Fr FX Martin, the leader of the 'Save Wood Quay' campaign in the 1970s, was honoured at a ceremony in the National Library yesterday after it acquired his personal papers relating to the struggle, which ultimately failed to stop the local authority from building its civic offices on the site.

Discovered in the late 1970s, there was a public outcry over the decision to destroy the archaeological remains of what was regarded as one of the most important Viking sites in Europe.

Read the rest of this article...

Viking graves found with laser

Archaeologists sitting in front of a PC, dig up one of the largest burial mounds from Viking Age.

Recently they have discovered seven new mounds in an area that already has many others.

“Sparbu of Nord-Trøndelag is about to become the richest of these historical relics,” said county archaeologist Lars Forseth.

Read the rest of this article...