Posts Tagged With: Vikings

USA: RUINS OF VIKING SETTLEMENT DISCOVERED NEAR HUDSON RIVER….


USA: Ruins of Viking Settlement Discovered near Hudson River

Stony Point, NY| A team of lanscaping workers, proceeding to an excavation near the banks of the Hudson river, has discovered the archeological remains of a Norse village dating from the 9th or 10th Century AD.

The workers were digging with a mechanical shovel near the shores of Minisceongo creek, when they stumbled upon the ruins of an ancient building. A team of archaeologists linked to Columbia University, was called to the site to inspect the findings, and they rapidly identified the site as a possible Viking settlement. They proceeded to extend the excavation, and have finally discovered the remains of six buildings.

The various structures are believed to have been constructed of sod, placed over a wooden frame. Based on the associated artifacts, the buildings were variously identified as four dwellings and two workshops. The largest dwelling measured 88 by 42 feet (26.8 by 12.8 meters) and consisted of several rooms, while two of the dwellings were much smaller and were identified as living quarters for lower-status crew or slaves. The two workshops for their part, were identified as an iron smithy, containing a large forge, and a carpentry workshop.

It is unclear how many men and women lived at the site at any given time, but the archaeological evidence suggests it had the capacity of supporting between 30 to 100 individuals, and that the site was inhabited by the Norse for a relatively short period of time.

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During their search of the site, the archaeologists have discovered nine skeletons, who were identified as four adult males, two adult females and three children. Only one of the male warriors had been given a proper burial, being placed in a tomb with his weapon and belongings. The other skeletons showed traces of violent injuries and seemed to have been simply left on the site of their death by the killers.

Many clues discovered on the site suggest that the Vikings could have come into conflict with the indigenous people of the region. Besides the skeletons that were found, who were most likely killed in combat, the numerous remains of native American weapons found on the site suggest the colony suffered a large-scale attack by indigenous warriors.

Several artifacts were also found on the site, suggesting the inhabitants of the site who survived the attack, must have left hastily. These include a dozen of pieces of jewelry, like brooches, pins and arm-rings, mostly made of silver and walrus ivory. The archaeologists also unearthed iron pots, potteries, oil lamps, tools, a whetstone, coins, as well as a few broken weapons and pieces of armor.

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The Vikings were Germanic Norse seafarers, speaking the Old Norse language, who raided and traded from their Scandinavian homelands across wide areas of northern and central Europe, as well as European Russia, during the late 8th to late 11th centuries.

Using their advanced seafaring skills and their famous longships, they created colonies and trading posts throughout the North Atlantic islands, navigating as far as the north-eastern coast of North America. Another short-lived Viking settlement was already discovered in 1960, in present-day L’Anse aux Meadows, located in the province Newfoundland and Labrador, in Canada. The remains of butternuts found on that site, had indeed suggested that other settlements further south, because these nuts do not grow naturally north of New Brunswick.

The scientists believe that the settlement could indeed be the legendary Norse colony known as “Vinland”, mentioned in the Icelandic Sagas. Based on the idea that the name meant “wine-land”, historians had long speculated that the region contained wild grapes. Wild grapes were, indeed, still growing in many areas of the Hudson Valley when the first European settlers arrived in the region, so the archaeologists believe that this could really be the colony described in the mythological saga.

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legendary Norse treasure worth more than £800,000?…..


Has a man with a metal detector really stumbled upon the legendary Norse treasure worth more than £800,000? Experts believe long-lost trove of gold and silver may be the real deal

A metal detector-wielding amateur archaeologist may have discovered the legendary hoard that inspired one of Richard Wagner’s most epic works of opera.

 

The trove unearthed in Rhineland Palatinate, western Germany, includes silver bowls, brooches, other jewellery from ceremonial robes and small statues that adorned a grand chair, said experts.

 

Amid speculation that it may be the legendary Nibelung hoard, they have valued the haul of gold and silver, which dates back to Roman times, at nearly £826,000.

‘In terms of timing and geography, the find fits in with the epoch of the Nibelung legend,’ Axel von Berg, the state’s chief archaeologist was quoted by German media as saying.

‘But we cannot say whether it actually belongs to the Nibelung treasure,’ he said, adding that whoever owned it had ‘lived well’ and could have been a prince.

 

The haul, which was found near Ruelzheim in the southern part of the state, is now at the state cultural department in Mainz, but officials suspect they may not have all of it.

Prosecutors have begun an inquiry into the man who found the treasure because they suspect he may have sold some of it, possibly to a buyer abroad, the department said.

‘The spot where the find was made was completely destroyed by the improper course of action,’ it said in a statement.

Whether the treasure is the famous ‘Rhinegold’ or not, it seems to have been buried in haste by its owner or by robbers in around 406-407 AD, when the Roman Empire was crumbling in the area along the Rhine, Mr von Berg said.

The Nibelung hoard features in Wagner’s epic opera cycle, Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring Of The Nibelung), often referred to as the Ring Cycle, which follows the struggles of heroes, gods and monsters over a magic ring which grants the power to rule the world.

Modelled after ancient Greek dramas, it is a work of extraordinary scale – intended to be performed over four evenings with a total playing time of about 15 hours – that took Wagner 26 years to compose.

The cycle is based on the Germanic legend of Siegfried and the mythology surrounding the royal lineage of the Burgundians who settled in the early 5th century at Worms, one of Germany’s oldest cities.

According to the Nibelung legend, the warrior Hagen killed the dragon-slayer Siegfried and sank his treasure in the Rhine river.

The Rhine has shifted its course many times over the centuries, so the treasure need no longer be under water.

Rhineland Palatinate boasts the most famous stretch of the Rhine, dotted with castles and steeped in legend that has inspired German poets, painters and musicians.

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Researchers: We may have found a fabled sunstone..Used by the Vikings?


sunstone
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A rough, whitish block recovered from an Elizabethan shipwreck may be a sunstone, the fabled crystal believed by some to have helped Vikings and other medieval seafarers navigate the high seas, researchers say.
In a paper published earlier this week, a Franco-British group argued that the Alderney Crystal — a chunk of Icelandic calcite found amid a 16th century wreck at the bottom of the English Channel — worked as a kind of solar compass, allowing sailors to determine the position of the sun even when it was hidden by heavy cloud, masked by fog, or below the horizon.
That’s because of a property known as birefringence, which splits light beams in a way that can reveal the direction of their source with a high degree of accuracy. Vikings may not have grasped the physics behind the phenomenon, but that wouldn’t present a problem.
“You don’t have to understand how it works,” said Albert Le Floch, of the University in Rennes in western France. “Using it is basically easy.”
Vikings were expert navigators — using the sun, stars, mountains and even migratory whales to help guide them across the sea — but some have wondered at their ability to travel the long stretches of open water between Greenland, Iceland, and Newfoundland in modern-day Canada.
Le Floch is one of several who’ve suggested that calcite crystals were used as navigational aids for long summer days in which the sun might be hidden behind the clouds. He said the use of such crystals may have persisted into the 16th century, by which time magnetic compasses were widely used but often malfunctioned.
Le Floch noted that one Icelandic legend — the Saga of St. Olaf — appears to refer to such a crystal when it says that Olaf used a “sunstone” to verify the position of the sun on a snowy day.
But that’s it. Few other medieval references to sunstones have been found, and no such crystals have ever been recovered from Viking tombs or ships. Until the Alderney Crystal was recovered in 2002, there had been little if any hard evidence to back the theory.
Many specialists are still skeptical. Donna Heddle, the director of the Center for Nordic Studies at Scotland’s University of the Highlands and Islands, described the solar compass hypothesis as speculative.
“There’s no solid evidence that that device was used by Norse navigators,” she said Friday. “There’s never been one found in a Viking boat. One cannot help but feel that if there were such things they would be found in graves.”
She acknowledged that the crystal came from Iceland and was found near a navigation tool, but said it might just as easily have been used as a magnifying device as a solar compass.
Le Floch argued that one of the reasons why no stones have been found before is that calcite degrades quickly — it’s vulnerable to acid, sea salts, and to heat. The Alderney Crystal was originally transparent, but the sea water had turned it a milky white.
Le Floch’s paper — written with Guy Ropars, Jacques Lucas, and a group of Britons from the Alderney Maritime Trust — appeared Wednesday in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A.

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UK…Wales…Skeleton at Llanbedrgoch, Anglesey, sheds light on Viking Age



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The discovery of a skeleton in a shallow grave has raised new questions about Wales in the age of the Vikings.

The skeleton, found at Llanbedrgoch, Anglesey, has forced experts to revise the theory that five earlier skeletons were the victims of a Viking raid.

Evidence now suggests the men may have spent the first part of their lives in Scandinavia.

Experts say artefacts discovered confirm Llanbedrgoch as a 10th Century manufacture and trade centre.

The site was discovered in 1994, and in the late 1990s, five bodies – two adolescents, two adult males and one woman – were found.

The bodies were thought to be victims of Viking raiding, which occurred throughout the Viking period (850 to 1,000).

However, the new skeleton discovered this summer was buried in a shallow grave, which National Museum Wales archaeologists say was unusual for the period.

They say the “non-Christian orientation of the body” and its treatment “point to distinctions being made in the burial practices for Christians and other communities during the 10th Century”.

Analysis indicates the males were not local to Anglesey, but may have spent their early years – at least up to the age of seven – in north west Scotland or Scandinavia.

Excavations this year also produced 7th Century silver and bronze sword and scabbard fittings.

Archaeologists believe it suggests the presence of a “warrior elite and the recycling of military equipment” during a period of rivalry and campaigning between kingdoms Northumbria and Mercia.

Excavation director, Dr Mark Redknap, said: “Other finds from the excavation, which include semi-worked silver, silver-casting waste and a fragment of an Islamic silver coin – exchanged via trade routes out of central Asia to Scandinavia and beyond – confirm Llanbedrgoch’s importance during the 10th Century as a place for the manufacture and trade of commodities.”

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