Category Archives: Real World

ARCHIMEDES’ CANNON

If Archimedes (or Da Vinci) designed and built it you know it worked. Trouble would be reload/reset times, and handling parameters. To be effective you’d need a number of cannons firing in strict rotation, and you’d need some pretty damned effective ammunition. You couldn’t beat the Romans on psychological effect alone. Almost no one ever did.

Overall, and histrionically speaking, they were the most “cool under fire” military that ever existed.

Greek scientists make successful test with replica of ancient steam cannon

Source: Xinhua| 2018-07-01 20:01:38|Editor: mmm

ATHENS, July 1 (Xinhua) — A group of Greek scientists including engineer Alexandros Oikonomidis made a successful test this weekend, firing a replica model of the ancient steam cannon designed by Archimedes of Syracuse (287-212 BC), the ancient Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer and inventor.

The test was carried out in a field at Koropi, a suburb of Athens. Original cannon had been used to defend the city from invading Romans (213-211 BC). The replica model was constructed four decades ago by Oikonomidis’ late colleague Yannis Sakkas.

Centuries before him, Leonardo da Vinci had also reconstructed Archimedes’ war device, according to scholars.

The steam cannon basically consists of a metal tube. One end of the tube is capped while the other is loaded with the projectile. Once the tube is heated and reaches high enough temperature, a small amount of water is injected in behind the projectile. It rapidly turns into high-pressure steam, blasting the projectile out of the barrel.

A projectile of about 6 cm diameter reached some 30 meters on Saturday, far less than the over 1,000 meters the ancient steam cannon larger in size could reach. Still the mission was accomplished.

Oikonomidis, assisted by Yorgos Sakkas, the son of the late engineer, and other Greek experts, proved once again that the design of the machine is working and simple ideas can make great difference.

“This is a replay of an experiment made by my colleague and friend Yannis Sakkas 37 years ago. He worked based on a manuscript discovered in the archives of the great inventor, engineer, mechanic, architect and artist Leonardo da Vinci,” Oikonomidis told Xinhua before the test.

“Among these archives there were three sketches depicting da Vinci’s version of the steam cannon Archimedes had invented to target the Roman ships which had gathered around Syracuse,” he said.

“He (Sakkas) wanted to prove that Archimedes’ achievements, as narrated, were not legends but the crystal clear reality,” Oikonomidis added.

Oikonomidis undertook the task of tearing apart, repairing and putting together again the 1.2 meter-long device which had been left aside in a warehouse for years.

Saturday’s experiment was carried out ahead of an exhibition on Ancient Greek warfare technology which will be hosted at the Herakleidon museum opposite the Acropolis hill from August 22, Pantelis Mitsiou, head of the museum’s marketing and communication department, told Xinhua.

“Basically we wanted to have a firing shot for educational purposes, to see how this device functioned in antiquity,” Mitsiou said.

“The idea is very simple. The aim is to create enough pressure inside the chamber so that it will blast the projectile to a distance,” he explained.

INTERESTING

Interesting, especially given the differences of the cultures…

Dai tempi di Omero, i greci hanno idealizzato i loro antenati Micenei in poemi epici e tragedie classiche che glorificano le imprese di Ulisse, del re Agamennone e di altri eroi che entravano e uscivano dal favore degli dei ellenici. Sebbene i micenei raccontati nei poemi fossero frutto della fantasia, un team di studiosi ha compiuto una serie di analisi genetiche per appurare la discendenza dei moderni Greci.

Il DNA dei moderni greci è strettamente correlato agli antichissimi Micenei e Minoici

La Civiltà Micenea si sviluppò fra il 1.600 e il 1.200 a.C. nella zona di Micene, nel Peloponneso, per poi scomparire in modo repentino e misterioso, gettando però i semi per la cultura della Grecia Classica. I Minoici erano la popolazione dell’isola di Creta, oggi così chiamati grazie al nome del mitico Re Minosse, che costituirono la civiltà cretese fra il 2.000 e il 1.450 a.C.. I Micenei, contemporanei per lungo tempo dei Minoici, erano più combattivi di questi ultimi, che invece si dedicavano al commercio, e a un certo punto, fra il 1.450 e il 1.400 a.C., li assoggettarono al proprio controllo.

Sotto, la Porta dei Leoni a Micene. Fotografia di Andrea Trepte condivisa con licenza CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikipedia:

Epicamente non furono solo i Minoici a cadere, ma anche la città di Troia in Turchia, conquistata dai Micenei

In una ricerca del 2013, l’antico DNA di 19 persone vissute fra il 2.900 e il 1.700 a.C. (fra cui 10 minoici cretesi, 4 Micenei del sito archeologico di Micene e 5 persone di altre culture fra Grecia e Turchia) è stato confrontato con quello di 30 moderni Greci e altre 334 persone vissute in antichità in tutta l’area Mediterranea ed Eurasiatica.

I risultati sono stati sorprendenti

I micenei erano strettamente legati alle popolazioni minoiche, ed entrambi dovevano 3/4 del loro DNA ai primi agricoltori che vivevano in Grecia e nell’Anatolia sud-Occidentale. Entrambe le culture avevano un DNA connesso ai coltivatori caucasici nei pressi all’odierno Iran, suggerendo che la migrazione di persone dall’est avvenne prima che i micenei si separassero dai minoici. Tutte queste popolazioni, hanno un DNA profondamente diverso da quello delle popolazioni Africane ed Egiziane dell’epoca.

Rispetto agli abitanti di Creta, i Micenei portavano un’importante differenza:

Dal 4 al 16% del loro DNA proveniva da popolazioni del Nord-Europa o della Siberia

Uno degli autori dello studio, Iosif Lazaridis, genetista delle popolazioni presso l’Università di Harvard, afferma come sia quindi chiaro che le migrazioni dalla steppa eurasiatica proseguirono sino a poco prima del periodo Miceneo, ma non raggiunsero gli abitanti di Creta.

Sotto, affresco di una danzatrice al palazzo di Cnosso:

Non a caso, minoici e micenei si assomigliano. Negli affreschi, nelle ceramiche e in genere in tutte le opere d’arte, gli artisti di entrambe le culture dipingevano persone con gli occhi scuri e i capelli scuri, sebbene le due culture parlassero e scrivessero lingue diverse (Lineare A e Lineare B). I micenei erano più militaristi, e la loro arte era caratterizzata da lance e immagini di guerra, mentre l’arte minoica non era centrata sul culto della battaglia.

Sotto, una donna raffigurata a Micene:

E i greci moderni?

La parte forse più interessante dello studio è quella che raffronta la popolazione della moderna Grecia con quella degli antichissimi Greci. Fra i Micenei, i Minoici e i Greci Moderni esistono numerosissime sovrapposizioni genetiche. Per George Stamatoyannopoulos, co-autore dello studio, la continuità fra popolazioni vissute oltre 3.500 anni fa e i Greci moderni è sorprendente.

La Grecia subì le invasioni dei Persiani, dei Romani, dei popoli Barbari, il dominio dei Veneziani e dei Turchi Ottomani

Questo suggerisce che le componenti genetiche degli antenati dei Greci erano già consolidate durante l’età del bronzo (3.500-1.200 a.C.), dopo che la migrazione dei primi agricoltori dall’Anatolia stabilì il modello per il corredo genetico dei greci e, di fatto, per molti altri popoli europei.

Pittura a Cnosso:

La conclusione di Stamatoyannopoulos è che: “Ora sappiamo che i fondatori delle prima civiltà europea avanzata erano europei. Essi erano molto simili agli europei del neolitico e molto simili ai cretesi del giorno d’oggi“.

Il prossimo obiettivo dei genetisti è riuscire a identificare le connessioni fra il misterioso popolo Ittita e i moderni abitanti dell’odierna Anatolia.

Articolo parzialmente tradotto e da Science Mag., altre fonti sono le pagine Wikipedia riguardanti la Civiltà Micenea e Minoica.

THE BLACK SARCOPHAGUS

THE GOTHS AND HUNS TO THE NORSE

Rather fascinating accounts…

 

BREAD AND CIRCUMSTANCE

Archaeologists discover bread that predates agriculture by 4,000 years

July 16, 2018
University of Copenhagen
One of the stone structures of the Shubayqa 1 site. The fireplace, where the bread was found, is in the middle. Credit: Alexis Pantos

At an archaeological site in northeastern Jordan, researchers have discovered the charred remains of a flatbread baked by hunter-gatherers 14,400 years ago. It is the oldest direct evidence of bread found to date, predating the advent of agriculture by at least 4,000 years. The findings suggest that bread production based on wild cereals may have encouraged hunter-gatherers to cultivate cereals, and thus contributed to the agricultural revolution in the Neolithic period.

A team of researchers from the University of Copenhagen, University College London and University of Cambridge have analysed charred  remains from a 14,400-year-old Natufian hunter-gatherer site—a site known as Shubayqa 1 located in the Black Desert in northeastern Jordan. The results, which are published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provide the earliest empirical evidence for the production of bread:

“The presence of hundreds of charred food remains in the fireplaces from Shubayqa 1 is an exceptional find, and it has given us the chance to characterize 14,000-year-old food practices. The 24 remains analysed in this study show that wild ancestors of domesticated cereals such as barley, einkorn, and oat had been ground, sieved and kneaded prior to cooking. The remains are very similar to unleavened flatbreads identified at several Neolithic and Roman sites in Europe and Turkey. So we now know that bread-like products were produced long before the development of farming. The next step is to evaluate if the production and consumption of bread influenced the emergence of plant cultivation and domestication at all,” said University of Copenhagen archaeobotanist Amaia Arranz Otaegui, who is the first author of the study.

University of Copenhagen archaeologist Tobias Richter, who led the excavations at Shubayqa 1 in Jordan, explained:

“Natufian hunter-gatherers are of particular interest to us because they lived through a transitional period when people became more sedentary and their diet began to change. Flint sickle blades as well as ground stone tools found at Natufian sites in the Levant have long led archaeologists to suspect that people had begun to exploit plants in a different and perhaps more effective way. But the flat bread found at Shubayqa 1 is the earliest evidence of bread making recovered so far, and it shows that baking was invented before we had plant cultivation. So this evidence confirms some of our ideas. Indeed, it may be that the early and extremely time-consuming production of bread based on wild cereals may have been one of the key driving forces behind the later  where wild cereals were cultivated to provide more convenient sources of food.”

Dr. Amaia Arranz-Otaegui and Ali Shakaiteer sampling cereals in the Shubayqa area. Credit: Joe Roe

Charred remains under the microscope

The charred food remains were analysed with electron microscopy at a University College London lab by Ph.D. candidate Lara Gonzalez Carratero (UCL Institute of Archaeology), who is an expert on prehistoric bread:

“The identification of ‘bread’ or other cereal-based products in archaeology is not straightforward. There has been a tendency to simplify classification without really testing it against an identification criteria. We have established a new set of criteria to identify flat bread, dough and porridge like products in the archaeological record. Using Scanning Electron Microscopy we identified the microstructures and particles of each charred food remain,” said Gonzalez Carratero.

“Bread involves labour intensive processing which includes dehusking, grinding of cereals and kneading and baking. That it was produced before farming methods suggests it was seen as special, and the desire to make more of this special food probably contributed to the decision to begin to cultivate cereals. All of this relies on new methodological developments that allow us to identify the remains of  from very small charred fragments using high magnification,” said Professor Dorian Fuller (UCL Institute of Archaeology).

More information: Amaia Arranz-Otaegui el al., “Archaeobotanical evidence reveals the origins of bread 14,400 years ago in northeastern Jordan,” PNAS(2018). www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1801071115

Provided by University of Copenhagen

Explore further: Archaeologists revise chronology of the last hunter-gatherers in the Near East

THE ANCIENT DARK AGES

I’ve always greatly enjoyed Cline’s lectures even when I suspect he is wrong…

TODAY I LEVELED UP

LEVELING UP

Today I leveled Up. Several years ago I began directly applying the various gaming and wargaming techniques I have practiced most of my life directly to my “Real Life,” – to improve my character, nature, abilities, and to help me with my overall human accomplishments.

Part of my TSS (Transferable Skill Systems) and GPAD  (Games of Personal advancement and Development) Program.

Lately I have improved that system.

Today I made another Rise in my Accomplishments. Or, put in simplistic gaming terms I leveled up in Real Life.

This is basically my System and how I use it to advance myself (and those around me, like my wife and children).

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: (Rising or Leveling Up)

PROGRESSION – a minor accomplishment such as; making a ten pound increase in weight lifting routine, cutting time off of a sprint, climbing higher, faster, and farther, winning a sparring match (boxing, sword fighting, staff fighting, etc.), winning a game, minor increase in income, starting small business, play with children, make sketch or drawing or map, exploration and travel, attending a concert, play, or film, spending more time with family and friends, adding to my personal library, completing and submitting more work, writing more poems, songs, articles, and short stories, completing a chapter in a novel, designing a robot or artefact or machine, Vadding a new complex, local and state travel, clear land and do landscaping, do maintenance, buy new equipment and gear, undertaking important research, pleasant talk with a stranger successful training completed, learn new skill or technique helping someone, giving first aid, breeding spiders or small creatures of improvements, saving a wild animal’s life, etc.

ADVANCEMENT – a substantial accomplishment such as; doubling capacity or productivity, meeting a moderate income advancement goal, successful new investment, making business profitable, securing capital or funding or investors, finishing a book, epic poem, or song album, building a working invention prototype, painting, play by myself, assisting a charity project or making a generous donation to charity, having a nice and productive vacation, learning to read and/or write a new language, writing a major paper or developing a promising theory, making an important discovery, developing new fans and followers, finding clues to help resolve a case, a successful interview or interrogation, reading a book in a foreign/new language, regional or national travel, developing a new code or cryptological method, successful testing completed, master new skill or technique, renovate current home and estate, buy new properties, major or new purchase, successful infiltration, make new friend, treating an injury or disease, breeding a better, more intelligent, more capable, healthier animal, improving my own health (sthenicism), saving an pet’s life, etc.

ACHIEVEMENT – completing or resolving an important, major, or vital accomplishment or set of accomplishments such as; establishing my start-up(s) as a successful and profitable enterprise, taking company or corporation public, establishing or building a new church, writing a major work in a foreign or new language, selling a novel or major work, establishing a new industry based on my inventions, a successful archaeological expedition, discovering new artefacts and relics and ruins, helping to break an Organized Criminal Gang, resolving a major crime or violent crime, thwarting a terrorist attack, publishing a book or selling a major invention, album, musical composition, script, or piece of artwork, proving one of my theories, forming and funding a private army to fight terrorism, conducting a successful and crucial scientific experiment, major expedition, expanding PIIN network and making new Allies, create new system or technique successful counter-espionage, travel and exploration by sea or air, international travel, build new estate, a major philanthropic endeavor, becoming a billionaire, increasing my own longevity, adopting a child, curing a disease, saving a person or persons live(s),etc.

I have two systems I use for advancement. One is a sort of experience scorning system for each kind of activity. The other is a time completion system in which I can earn more or different kinds of experience for doing things within a certain critical timeframe.

Minor Accomplishments, such as Progressions score far less than Major Accomplishments such as Achievements. Of course.

I Rise, Advance, or “Level-Up” by meeting my “Accomplishment Goals” or by accumulating enough experience to Rise to the next “Level” (though I don’t really think of it in those terms, I think of it more in terms of level of expertise or objectives completed).

My goal at this point in my life is to make at least four or more Progressions every week, two or more Advancements every one month to three months, and at complete at least one major Achievement every three months to six months (depending upon the nature of the intended Accomplishment and how difficult it is).

So far I’m doing pretty good and I now tend to rise an a fairly regular and consistent basis.

Have a good day folks.

GREEN ICE OF THE ANTARCTIC

This gives me an interesting idea for both a science fiction story and an element to add to my fantasy novel…

 

Strange Green Ice Seen Floating in Antarctica’s Ross Sea

Strange Green Ice Seen Floating in Antarctica's Ross Sea

An imager on the Landsat 8 satellite captured this image, on March 5, 2017, of Antarctica’s Granite Harbor, a cove near the Ross Sea, where the sea ice has a green hue due to a bloom of phytoplankton.

Credit: NASA

No, Antarctica isn’t busting out the green beer for St. Patrick’s Day. But a new satellite image of the continent shows strange green ice floating in the Ross Sea.

The green-tinged ice is probably the work of phytoplankton, marine glaciologist Jan Lieser of Australia’s Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Center told NASA’s Earth Observatory, which released the image yesterday (March 9).

Photosynthetic plankton called phytoplankton (and algae) grow all around Antarctica in summer (which runs from October to February, because Antarctica is in the Southern Hemisphere). It’s now autumn on the icy continent, but algae blooms can happen in the Antarctic fall, too, the Earth Observatory reported.

In 2012, Lieser and her colleagues noted an enormous bloom in late February and early March that was 124 miles (200 kilometers) long and 62 miles (100 km) wide. Scientists on an expedition to observe the green swirls found that the bloom was not free-floating algae, but green sea ice, or sea ice with algae growing on it.

A zoomed-in patch of green ice near Antarctica's Ross Sea can be seen in this Landsat 8 image captured on March 5, 2017.
A zoomed-in patch of green ice near Antarctica’s Ross Sea can be seen in this Landsat 8 image captured on March 5, 2017.

Credit: NASA

The current late-season bloom appears to have gotten trapped in the slushy, just-forming sea ice, lending it a green hue. It’s unclear whether the algae bloom is on the ice, or trapped within or beneath it.

On the other end of the globe, Arctic waters experience phytoplankton blooms, too. As in Antarctica, these tiny organisms are the basis of the food web. Scientists have found, however, that the Arctic’s spring phytoplankton blooms are coming earlier. What’s more, a second season of algae blooms has emerged in the fall, as sea ice has retreated.

Original article on Live Science

I PREFER

I PREFER

I have always loved swords, don’t get me wrong. Especially short, compact to medium length swords, well weighted, tough, entirely functional and made for combat and killing. I speak specifically of the Gladius and the Spatha.

But far more I have always loved long knives and the warhammer. Both feel absolutely right in my hands. Perfect for me as a matter of fact.

Maybe that is because I am so tool oriented (probaly get that form my old man) and because by nature I am more of a scout and a man who prefers to operate alone rather than in a team or to fight in open terrain (likely get that from a coupla my great-grandfathers and my frontier ancestors). I think like a guerrilla, like a scout, like a recon-man. Like an infiltrator.

Anyway, the long knife and the warhammer is me. Made for my nature.

You can do a lotta things with a good long knife and a warhammer and a multi-functional tool. I prefer that kinda thing.

Also, I really, really like tomahawks and hatchets.

SUBURBAN MEN

Although I am not a suburban man, I am a rural man, I like this site:

SUBURBANMEN

 

 

BOGATYRI

Excellent Site:

and

THE BOGATYRI

 

INSPIRATION

SAINT OLAF

Archaeologists in Norway discover church and altar of Viking King Olav Haraldsson

ARCHAEOLOGISTS IN NORWAY CLAIM TO HAVE DISCOVERED A CHURCH WHERE THE VIKING KING, OLAF HARALDSSON WAS FIRST ENSHRINED AS A SAINT.

Archaeologists working on a site near Trondheim have unearthed the foundations of a wooden stave church and the alter where Olaf may have been enshrined immediately after being declared a saint. The discovery gives credibility to Norse saga accounts surrounding important events of that era.

Director of the project, Anna Petersén said “This is a unique site in Norwegian history in terms of religion, culture and politics. Much of the Norwegian national identity has been established on the cult of sainthood surrounding St. Olaf, and it was here it all began!”

Olaf II Haraldsson, later known as St. Olaf, was King of Norway from 1015 to 1028 till his death in the Battle of Stiklestad. His younger half-brother, Harald Hardrada, was also present at the battle who also became King of Norway in 1047, only to die in a failed invasion of England at the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066.

In his Chronicle of the Kings of Norway, the medieval Icelandic historian Snorri stated that “following King Olaf Haraldsson’s martyrdom in 1030, his body was buried in Trondheim, or Nidaros” (as it was known) and that the local populus soon reported portents and miracles attributed to the martyred king. A year after his death, Olaf’s coffin was dug up and opened in the presence of the bishop, revealing his miraculously well-preserved body. He was immediately declared a saint by popular acclaim and his body was enshrined above the high altar in the royal church of St. Clement’s church before being moved to the Cathedral some years later.

St. Clement’s church discovered

Archaeologists working for the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) have recently uncovered the stone foundations for a wooden stave church which they believe is the actual ruin of St. Clement’s Church from the dating evidence. Dating evidence and a study of the ruins places its construction at the time Olaf ruled.

During its excavation, the archaeologists uncovered a small rectangular stone-built platform at the building’s east end which is probably the foundation for an altar – probably the very same altar on which St. Olaf’s coffin was placed in 1031. In addition, a small well was also discovered which may be a holy well connected with the saint.

Niku

ISIS DOES MORE EVIL SENSELESS SHIT

ISIS Has Destroyed a Nearly 3,000-Year-Old Assyrian Ziggurat

The ziggurat of Nimrud was the ancient city’s central temple

Nimrud Ziggurat
American soldiers in Nimrud in 2008, with the Ziggurat in the background. (Staff Sgt. JoAnn Makinano via Wikimedia Commons)
SMITHSONIAN.COM
NOVEMBER 15, 2016
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In addition to the many human atrocities committed by ISIS, one of its regular calling cards has been the destruction of irreplaceable archaeological sites. Now, even as Iraqi forces work to drive the insurgent group from its strongholds, satellite images show it has left behind a trail of destroyed heritage sites, including a 2,900-year-old ziggurat in the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud in northern Iraq.

Predecessors to structures like the Great Pyramids, the ziggurats of Mesopotamia were massive step pyramids built as religious sites. For Nimrud, the capital of the ancient Assyrian civilization, the 140-foot-tall temple was the center of its spiritual life, Caroline Elbaor reports for artnet News. Built about 2,900 years ago by King Ashurnasirpal II, the mud brick structure was dedicated to Ninurta, a god of war and the city’s patron deity.

Iraqi forces announced that they had recaptured Nimrud on Sunday, Dominic Evans and Ahmed Rasheed report for Reuters. While experts are still waiting for permission to examine the damage inflicted on the ancient city, recent satellite images indicate that the ziggurat is no more.

ISIS has made a habit out of publically destroying and vandalizing ancient historical sites throughout its reign in the region, nominally as an attack on traditions and culture that do not fit into its religious beliefs. However, as Benjamin Sutton reports for Hyperallergic, experts unsure exactly why the group destroyed the ziggurat.

“The ziggurat mound is the highest point in the nearby landscape, making it an ideal defensive position for encroaching forces. However, the archaeological site is located in a remote area far from strategic points,” the American Schools of Oriental Research’s Cultural Heritage Initiatives says in a statement. “Alternatively, like the Northwest Palace and the Nabu Temple at Nimrud, the attack could have served a dual purpose: intentional destruction for the composition of future propaganda and retributory violence to demoralize local populations and goad invading military forces. ISIL militants could also have been searching for antiquities in the mound.”

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FCulturalHeritageInitiatives%2Fposts%2F423303684460130&width=500If the militants were looking for treasures to loot, they would have been sorely disappointed by the ziggurat of Nimrud. Unlike the Great Pyramids, which contained internal chambers and passageways, ziggurats were solid mounds made from mud brick, with nothing on the inside but more brick, Richard Spencer reports for The Times.

John Curtis, the president of the British Institute for the Study of Iraq, was told about the Nimrud’s destruction in September by Iraqi sources, but was asked to keep the information confidential, Martin Bailey reports for The Art Newspaper. The site at Nimrud still needs to be secured and swept for mines and booby traps left behind by ISIS fighters before civilian experts will be able to visit and assess the damage in person. But whatever the insurgent group’s reasons for demolishing the ziggurat, the result is the destruction of yet another priceless piece of humanity’s cultural heritage.

MIND AND MAGIC

As a gamer what do you think are the salient similarities and differences both in how psionic (psychic abilities) capabilities and magic works, or ought to work?

I mean in every respect (how they operate, how they function, what each should be able to do or not do, what is the goal of each, etc.)?

What is your opinion?

 

 

ROMAN MANNERS OF WAR

VIKING HOMES (ACTUALLY, DANISH HOMES)

What colour did the Vikings paint their houses?

October 16, 2016 – 06:25

Archaeologists in Denmark are busy building one of the largest experimental archaeology reconstruction projects. But what colours would the Vikings have used?

How did the Vikings decorate their houses? Archaeologists from across Denmark have been trying to find out. (Photo: Sagnlandet Lejre)

Did Vikings paint their houses white or red? Which colours were popular, and when?

These questions were the focus of a furious debate among researchers during a seminar entitled “Colourful Vikings” hosted by the Centre for Historical-Archaelogical Research and Communication in Denmark (as also known as Sagnlandet Lejre).

Archaeologists at Sagnlandet Lejre are currently reconstructing a full sized royal Viking hall.

When finished, it will measure 60 metres long, be slightly oval shaped, and built from planks of oak. But exactly what colours the original hall was painted with, remains a mystery.

Eighteenth century preservationist repainted Viking objects

Archaeologists have found a range of wooden Viking objects that have retained some colour, and preserve some evidence of the fashions of the day. But even so, we cannot be completely sure about the exact colours used, says Mads Christensen, a chemist from the National Museum of Denmark.

He refers to objects found in the tomb of Gorm the Old, one of Denmark’s earliest kings, in west Denmark.

“Various wooden objects found in Gorm the Old’s tomb in Jelling were probably painted with white, red, green, black, and yellow. They’re dated to around 960 CE,” says Christensen.

The colours of these 1,000-year-old pieces of timber are no longer visible, but Christensen was able to chemically extract traces of pigment from the wood. But he still cannot tell how intense the original colours might have been.

“We can determine that the colours were there, but we can’t tell how intense they were,” he says.

On top of this, the objects were likely repainted with a protective layer by a well-meaning conservationist in the eighteenth century, which somewhat muddles the results.

Read More: Fashionable Vikings loved colours, fur, and silk

Quicklime was probably a popular choice

Other archaeologists take another view: that Viking houses, or at least royal halls, were painted entirely white.

Should the Viking hall interior be painted white to meet Viking standards? (Photo: Sagnlandet Lejre)

“We found traces of clay with white chalk at the excavations of the Viking halls in Tissø and Lejre. So we think that the houses were covered with quicklime,” says Josefine Franck Bican, a research assistant at the National Museum of Denmark.

This would make a lot of sense, she says.

A white house would be visible from far away, making it a suitable status symbol and landmark. Using quicklime both in and outside the house would have provided effective insulation and a good indoor climate on top of providing light during the dark winter months.

During the Viking colour seminar, Bican ignited another lively discussion when she suggested that the royal hall most likely had windows.

Read More: New Viking graves discovered in Denmark

Glass beads suggest a change in fashion

In any event, it is likely that something exciting happened with colours during the Viking period, says Henriette Lyngstrøm, a Ph.D. student at the Saxo Institute at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

A comparison of coloured glass beads from before the Viking age, indicate that a shift in colour fashion took place, she says.

“When we compare glass beads dated to 600 and 700 CE, there is a clear difference in colour and pattern. Beads dated to 600 CE are predominantly red-brown and have a single colour, whereas beads from 700 CE are variegated with strong colours,” says Lyngstrøm.

The beads cannot tell us anything specific about the Viking period, which was between 800 and 1050 CE. But Lyngstrøm thinks that the early shift in colours might have influenced the Vikings later on.

Read More: Unique jewellery from the British Isles found in Danish Viking grave

“Did they perceive colours as we do?”

Many of the researchers questioned the whole premise of reconstructing colours in the Viking hall. How can we ever know whether we agree with the Vikings about what a colour is?

“There are, for example, many historical sources that suggest the Romans perceived colours differently than we do today,” says Amalie Skovmøller, a Ph.D. student at the Saxo Institute at the University of Copenhagen.

Facts

In 2009, archaeologists excavated the royal hall at Sagnlandet Lejre, near Copenhagen, Denmark.

It is one of the biggest buildings from the Viking period.

The Centre for Historical-Archaelogical Research and Communication (Sagnlandet Lejre) has begun a full size reconstruction of the hall.

Archaeologists are now discussing what colours best represent the original Viking hall.

Source: sagnlandet.dk (in Danish only)

Romans may have perceived colour more as an expression of different hues and nuances, than as an actual perception of red, yellow, or green.

“For example, the concept of purple is used in historical texts to both describe the surface of the sea and a glow in a woman’s eyes and not just the colour that we associate purple with today,” says Skovmøller.

The same could apply to the Vikings, she says.

Read More: Photo gallery: The six styles of Viking art

Can we ever create a truly authentic reconstruction?

But should the archaeologists really be so concerned with figuring out how such a hall may or may not have been painted? During the seminar, discussions often touched on the underlying premise of such an archaeological reconstruction.

“What does ‘authentic’ mean anyway?” says Tobias Jespersen from the Saxo Institute, referring to the ongoing discussion among archaeologists as to whether any reconstruction project can be considered truly authentic.

Jespersen has just written his master’s thesis on the subject.

“Regardless of which colour we choose, the reconstruction will always be inauthentic. Our task as academics is to give the best estimate of a previously impossible task–to recreate the past,” he says.

One suggestion would be to paint the hall in different colours to reflect different time periods.

Archaeologists behind the reconstruction will continue to investigate.

THE GIZA CHAMBERS

Not only does this first interest me as an amateur and industrial archaeologist (after all, looked at in one way this is one of the greatest and most extensive high industrial projects ever undertaken by man, especially given the limitations of the time) but this also interests me as a game and adventure designer and as a writer. I don’t think anyone has ever done an adventure or module series about the great pyramids themselves that encapsulates the true mystery and potential wonder of such a structure, and very few fiction writers have ever done the design real justice.

 

THE SPHINX LAYING IN FRONT OF THE GREAT PYRAMID OF GIZA. SORIN COLAC/SHUTTERSTOCK

The ScanPyramids project continues to break new ground on the Great Pyramid at Giza whilst barely laying a finger on it. Their latest find shows that the 4,500-year-old monument has even more mysterious hidden cavities and corridors than their previous work showed.

Their first new discovery is a cavity about 105 meters (345 feet) up from the ground on the northeastern corner of the pyramid. This is followed by another “void” discovered on the north face of the structure, AFP reports.

The project, led by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities Authority, uses infrared thermography, “cosmic ray” muon detectors, aerial drone photography, and laser scanning to “look inside” the pyramids in a totally non-invasive way. The project is coming to the final weeks of its year-long mission, which started last October.

The bulk of their work has been conducted on the Great Pyramid, the largest and oldest of the three pyramids at the Giza site, which acts a monument and tomb to Pharoah Khufu. They have also conducted work on its neighbor Khafre in Giza, as well as the Bent pyramid and Red pyramids in the Dahshur necropolis.

 

The exact size and shape of these new rooms are not yet known by the engineers, however, they’re conducting further scans to get a clearer view. This will also hopefully shed some light onto the function or purpose of the cavities.

Following the controversial work of archaeologist Dr Nicholas Reeves, the prospect of hidden cavities is always set to get the imaginations of Egyptologists going. In 2015, Reeves suggested the long-lost tomb of Queen Nefertiti could be hidden behind the burial chamber of King Tutankhamun.

So, could this discovery be a secret corridor or even a hidden tomb?

It sounds like a plot fit for an Indiana Jones movie, but others are not being so romantic with their estimations, instead believing the cavities are simply just part of the pyramid’s structure.

“These people are scientists and do not have an archaeological background,” Zahi Hawass, former Egyptian Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs and Director of the Giza Pyramids Excavation, told Seeker. “The core of the pyramid was built using long stones and small stones. If you know that, you’ll find anomalies everywhere.”

“I think there are no secret rooms and these anomalies have to do with the way the pyramid was built,” he added.

THE GOOD BARBARIAN

Brett | October 14, 2016

A Man’s Life, On Manhood, Podcast

Podcast #243: Becoming a Barbarian

Seven years ago, my guest today published what has become an underground cult classic on masculinity. His name is Jack Donovan and that book was The Way of Men. I had him on the podcast a few years ago to discuss it — check it out if you haven’t listened to it. In The Way of Men, Donovan argued that for men to really live what he calls the “tactical virtues” of masculinity, they need to join an all-male honor group, or what he calls a gang or tribe. In his latest book, Becoming a Barbarian, Donovan lays out what creating these honor groups would look like.

On today’s show, Jack and I discuss why masculinity is often tragic, why today’s modern world makes it hard for men to form male honor groups, the difference between a club and a tribe, and what it means to start the world.

Show Highlights

  • The runaway success of The Way of Men
  • How Becoming a Barbarian is a continuation of The Way of Men
  • The difference between a tribe and club
  • Why masculinity is tragic and requires conflict
  • Anti-fragility and masculinity
  • Why men need other men to fully experience masculinity
  • Why the lone alpha male is a myth
  • Why belonging to a group can make you a more interesting person
  • Why modernity makes it hard to be part of a community
  • Why individualism can make us less free
  • What it means to be a barbarian
  • Why social media gives the illusion of action and influence
  • Can you have an online tribe?
  • Why technology is the opposite of manliness
  • How the Amish can serve as a template for living in a community
  • What do you build a tribe around?

Resources/Studies/People Mentioned in Podcast

barbarian

Donovan and I admittedly have different conceptions of manliness. To me, “primal” anthropological/biological manhood should always be coupled with the ancient conception of manliness as virtue. Donovan champions a stripped-down, raw masculinity over and above more lofty conceptions. But even if you disagree with some of his views, his sharp and compelling insights into the core of masculinity force you to re-think your assumptions about what it means to be a man and to live in a community; after all, you can’t build towards higher manhood unless you understand the foundation — you can’t become a Gentleman Barbarian and neglect the barbarian virtues. The ideas in his books are thus worth grappling with. You can pick up copies of The Way of Men and Becoming a Barbarian on Amazon.

Listen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)

I’M NOT SAYING IT’S ALIENS…

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