Norse Parliament Site Discovered on Scottish Island

Isle-of-Bute-2

 

A site on the Scottish island of Bute has been identified as a Viking gathering place known as a “thing” in Old Norse, used to make political decisions, promulgate laws and settle disputes.

The mysterious mount, known as Cnoc An Rath, has been known to archaeologists since at least the 1950s. However, its identity has been in question for several decades, with many suggesting it might have been a medieval or prehistoric farm site. According to The Herald Scotland, archaeologists now feel that this Viking parliamentary site was likely the seat of power for Ketill Flatnose, a powerful Viking ruler whose bloodline would go on to settle Iceland.

The key to the theory of the site being a Norse “thing” was a new study of the island’s place-names. The etymology of the names suggested many archaic designations for locations around the island could have indeed incorporated the word “thing”. Follow-up field investigations in the form of excavations have yielded preserved surface samples that have been radio-carbon dated back to when Norse raiders and settlers were active in and near the Argyll coast.

The analysis involved pieces of charcoal, according to archaeologist Paul Duffy, the head of Brandanii Archaeology and Heritage Consultancy. In an interview in the newspaper, Duffy recounted how the charcoal had been dated to the latter days of the kingdom of Dalriada – and the inception of Norse settlement on Bute. Eventually the date for the site was narrowed down to between the late seventh century and the late ninth century CE, which is within the window of certainty as to when Vikings were active in the region.

Read more here.

View From Space Hints at a New Viking Site in North America – New York Times

31VIKINGS1-master675

Douglas Bolender, left, and Sarah H. Parcak, right, looking for evidence of a Viking presence in Point Rosee, Newfoundland. If confirmed, the site would be the second known Viking settlement in North America.  Credit Greg Mumford

A thousand years after the Vikings braved the icy seas from Greenland to the New World in search of timber and plunder, satellite technology has found intriguing evidence of a long-elusive prize in archaeology — a second Norse settlement in North America, further south than ever known.

The new Canadian site, with telltale signs of iron-working, was discovered last summer after infrared images from 400 miles in space showed possible man-made shapes under discolored vegetation. The site is on the southwest coast of Newfoundland, about 300 miles south of L’Anse aux Meadows, the first and so far only confirmed Viking settlement in North America, discovered in 1960.

Since then, archaeologists, following up clues in the histories known as thesagas, have been hunting for the holy grail of other Viking, or Norse, landmarks in the Americas that would have existed 500 years before Columbus, to no avail.

But last year, Sarah H. Parcak, a leading space archaeologist working with Canadian experts and the science series NOVA for a two-hour television documentary, “Vikings Unearthed,” that will be aired on PBS next week, turned her eyes in the sky on coastlines from Baffin Island, west of Greenland, to Massachusetts. She found hundreds of potential “hot spots” that high-resolution aerial photography narrowed to a handful and then one particularly promising candidate — “a dark stain” with buried rectilinear features.

Read more here.

Scientists Find Evidence of Prehistoric Massacre in Europe

PrehistoricMassacre1

 

Photo released Monday Aug. 17, 2015 by researcher Christian Meyer shows the fractured skull of an about eight-years-old child with a digital mark to show the size. (Christian Meyer via AP)

 

BERLIN — Scientists say they have found rare evidence of a prehistoric massacre in Europe after discovering a 7,000-year-old mass grave with skeletal remains from some of the continent’s first farmers bearing terrible wounds.

Archaeologists who painstakingly examined the bones of some 26 men, women and children buried in the Stone Age grave site at Schoeneck-Kilianstaedten, near Frankfurt, say they found blunt force marks to the head, arrow wounds and deliberate efforts to smash at least half of the victims’ shins — either to stop them from running away or as a grim message to survivors.

“It was either torture or mutilation. We can’t say for sure whether the victims were still alive,” said Christian Meyer, one of the authors of the study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Meyer said the findings from Schoeneck-Kilianstaedten bolster theories put forward after the earlier discovery of two other grave sites in Germany and Austria. At all three sites, the victims and the perpetrators appeared to have been from the Linearbandkeramik — or LBK — culture, a farming people who arrived in central Europe about 5,500 B.C. Their name derives from the German phrase for “linear band ceramics,” a reference to the style of their pottery.

Read more here.

Neolithic house discovery at Avebury stone circle dig

aveburyarchaeologydiggingintheavenue©nationaltrustabbygeorge

Archaeologists at the three-week Avebury dig are researching the daily lives of Neolithic and Bronze Age people

Archaeologists believe they may have found the remains of a house where people who built Avebury stone circle may have lived.

The three-week Between the Monuments project is researching the daily lives of Neolithic and Bronze Age residents at the Wiltshire site.

The dig is being led by The National Trust and Southampton and Leicester University archaeologists.

The National Trust said if it is a house they will have “hit the jackpot”.

Spokesman Dr Nick Snashall said: “I could count the number of middle Neolithic houses that have been found on the fingers of one hand.

“This site dates from a time when people are just starting to build the earliest parts of Avebury’s earthworks, so we could be looking at the home and workplace of the people who saw that happening.”

Read more here.

Archaeologists Discover 1000-Year-Old Viking Fortress in Denmark

vikingdenmark

Viking-fortress-1

Archaeologists from Aarhus University in Denmark and The Danish Castle Centre have made a sensational discovery south of Copenhagen: A massive Viking fortress built with heavy timbers and earthen embankments. The Viking fortress is over 1000 years old, and it’s the first to be discovered in over 60 years. The fortress is perfectly circular and is similar to the famous “Trelleborg” fortresses built by King Harald Bluetooth around the year 980, which have been nominated for inclusion in UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites.

Read more: Archaeologists Uncover the First Viking Fortress Found in 60 Years

NEWLY FOUND MEGALITHIC RUINS IN RUSSIA CONTAIN THE LARGEST BLOCKS OF STONE EVER DISCOVERED

megaliths-in-russia2

An incredible discovery that was recently made in Russia threatens to shatter conventional theories about the history of the planet. On Mount Shoria in southern Siberia, researchers have found an absolutely massive wall of granite stones. Some of these gigantic granite stones are estimated to weigh more than 3,000 tons, and as you will see below, many of them were cut “with flat surfaces, right angles, and sharp corners”.

Nothing of this magnitude has ever been discovered before. The largest stone found at the megalithic ruins at Baalbek, Lebanon is less than 1,500 tons. So how in the world did someone cut 3,000 ton granite stones with extreme precision, transport them up the side of a mountain and stack them 40 meters high? According to the commonly accepted version of history, it would beimpossible for ancient humans with very limited technology to accomplish such a thing. Could it be possible that there is much more to the history of this planet than we are being taught?

Read more here.

Vikings and the little ice age: The end of beef and beer

story

While many of the stereotypical myths about Vikings being marauding adventurers have been proven to be just that, myths, there is one truth that is well documented. They knew how to win friends and influence people when they settled in a new land.

An ongoing archaeological dig of a farmstead called Hrísbrúin Mosfell Valley, in southwestern Iceland, led by Dr. Davide Zori, the archeological field director for the Mosfell Archaeological Project in Iceland, has shed some light on the Viking settlement there and how a changing climate may have changed their way of life., putting an end to brewing beer and raising cattle.

storynorse-3-long_house

 The Mosfell Valley site includes a Viking Chief’s 100-foot longhouse as well as a great hall where feasts were held. Carbon dating has shown the structures were built between the late 9th century and early 10th century. Further studies show the site was abandoned in the 11th century.
The fascinating part of this story is the way archaeological evidence has been combined with ancient Viking historical texts to give us a picture of the group’s culture. “These texts read almost like novels,” Zori said in a statement. “They talk about daily life. Yes, the Vikings may have put axes to one another’s heads, but these accounts also describe milking cows.”
Read more here

The Shigir Idol in Siberia. Is this the world’s oldest secret code?

Scientists close to precise dating of the Shigir Idol, twice as ancient as the Egyptian Pyramids.

inside face left

Picture: Ekaterina Osintseva, The Siberian Times

The Idol is the oldest wooden statue in the world, estimated as having been constructed approximately 9,500 years ago, and preserved as if in a time capsule in a peat bog on the western fringe of Siberian. Expert Svetlana Savchenko, chief keeper of Shigir Idol, believes that the structure’s faces carry encoded information from ancient man in the Mesolithic era of the Stone Age concerning their understanding of ‘the creation of the world’.

German scientists are now close to a precise dating – within five decades – of the remarkable artifact, which is a stunning example of ancient man’s creativity.

The results are likely to be known in late February or early March, The Siberian Times can reveal.

Now the question is turning among academics to a better understanding of the symbols and pictograms on this majestic larch Idol, one of Russia’s great treasures, which is now on display a special glass sarcophagus at its permanent home, Yekaterinburg History Museum, where Savchenko is senior researcher.

Read more here.

Did the Vikings Get a Bum Rap?

Did the Vikings Get a Bum Rap?

A Yale historian wants us to rethink the terrible tales about the Norse.

nationalgeographic-127852_84160_990x742

This illustration shows the stereotype of Viking marauders wreaking mayhem, even on clergy. The scene depicts the monastery at Clonmacnoise, Ireland.

ILLUSTRATION BY TOM LOVELL

Christopher Shea

for National Geographic

PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 26, 2014

The Vikings gave no quarter when they stormed the city of Nantes, in what is now western France, in June 843—not even to the monks barricaded in the city’s cathedral. “The heathens mowed down the entire multitude of priest, clerics, and laity,” according to one witness account. Among the slain, allegedly killed while celebrating the Mass, was a bishop who later was granted sainthood.

To modern readers the attack seems monstrous, even by the standards of medieval warfare. But the witness account contains more than a touch of hyperbole, writes Anders Winroth, a Yale history professor and author of the book The Age of the Vikings, a sweeping new survey. What’s more, he says, such exaggeration was often a feature of European writings about the Vikings.

Read more here.