Friday, February 25, 2011
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
From the "Viking Archaeology Blog:"
New archaeological findings suggest that the Vikings considered Stone Age objects to have magical qualities, and that such “antiques” were more important in Viking culture than previously understood.
The Vikings buried this ship, the "Oseberg," in a grave south of Oslo. New discoveries indicate they also buried other items, with a purpose.
Examinations of around 10 Viking graves found in Rogaland, southwest Norway, revealed Stone Age items, such as weapons, amulets and tools. Olle Hemdorff of the Archaelogical Museum in Stavanger told newspaper Aftenposten that he believes the items were buried so that “they would protect and bring luck to the dead in the after-life.”
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Thanks to the Viking Archaeology Blog for permission to reprint this article.
Posted by JAMES JENNEWEIN & TOM S. PARKER at 10:43 AM
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
According to The Cosmic Log on msnbc.com, a new study suggests that the Vikings could have navigated the oceans in inclement weather with the aid of a crystal that pinpointed the sun's location behind banks of clouds and fog.
Such a tool, known as a sunstone, is known from legend, but until now experimental evidence that it could actually work as hypothesized was lacking.
The Vikings were Scandinavian seafarers who traveled widely in the North Atlantic, roughly between the year 900 and 1200. Under clear and partly cloudy skies, archaeological evidence indicates that they used sundials to find their way around. But a sundial is only useful when the sun is shining, raising the question of how the Vikings navigated in cloudy and foggy conditions, which can last for days along their known sailing routes.
In the 1960s, Danish archaeologist Thorkild Ramskou suggested that the Vikings used a sunstone to filter the sunlight so that it all had the same polarization, or direction. By rotating the crystal to and fro, the light would appear brighter or darker, depending on how the crystal was oriented. The brightest point would be toward the direction of the sun.
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Posted by JAMES JENNEWEIN & TOM S. PARKER at 10:05 AM