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And they said the Vikings were bloodthirsty?

Posted by forestwood on March 14, 2010 at 6:00 PM Comments comments (0)

 

 

Popular British empire history paints the Vikings as a marauding bloodthirsty pirates that used to pillage and raid the residents of Anglo Saxon England. Some claim that although there were raids on England and other coastal countries, the majority of Vikings led a peaceful life, but that in order to assist the spread and adoption of Christianity, myths pervaded about their bloodthirsty pagan rituals and fearsome callous immoral ways.... however, archaeology throws a different light on this, as new evidence is uncovered. One site in England has archaelogists buzzing... as it seems the peaceful residents of England also had mean streaks... read on....


 Rosemaling is an over 1000 year old art form which was copied by the roving Vikings in the 8th.century from the Greek and Roman acanthus leaf design. The Vikings used to carve the form of the leaves on their war ships as a decoration and protections from all evil spirits, sea monsters and other dangerous threats that might face them during their long journeys from the North to other distant places in the world. Not all the Viking's lives were saved by the acanthus carvings on their ships....

 

 

ARCHAELOGISTS FIND MASS VIKING GRAVE IN WEYMOUTH ENGLAND


An analysis shows that many of the men suffered wounds thought to relate to the process of decapitation.

 

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

*         51 bodies were unearthed near the site of the 2012 London Olympics

*         On Friday, scientists announce the men were Vikings from the Dark Ages

*         The men, who were beheaded, were found near the Olympic sailing venue

*         Carbon dating places the men in the time period from A.D. 890 to 1030


 

London, England -- They were 51 young men who met a grisly death far from home, their heads chopped off and their bodies thrown into a mass grave.

Their resting place was unknown until last year, when workers excavating for a road near the London 2012 Olympic sailing venue in Weymouth, England, unearthed the grave. But questions remained about who the men were, how long they had been there and why they had been decapitated.


On Friday, officials revealed that analysis of the men's teeth shows they were Vikings, executed with sharp blows to the head around a thousand years ago. They were killed during the Dark Ages, when Vikings frequently invaded the region.

"To find out that the young men executed were Vikings is a thrilling development," said David Score, project manager for Oxford Archaeology, which excavated the remains. "Any mass grave is a relatively rare find, but to find one on this scale, from this period of history, is extremely unusual and presents an incredible opportunity to learn more about what is happening in Dorset at this time."


Radiocarbon dating had already placed the remains between A.D. 890 and 1030, before the Norman conquest of Anglo-Saxon England.

 


Teeth ID beheaded Vikings

 

Scientists from the British Geological Survey then went further and analyzed the men's teeth to find out exactly where they were from. Isotope analysis of teeth can reveal clues about a person's drinking water, and in turn the climate they came from, said Jane Evans, an isotope geochemist at the survey.


"What we found was all of these guys came from a climate that had to be colder than Britain ... probably Sweden and Norway," Evans said by phone Friday. "One guy had such a signature of such a cold climate that he probably came from above the Arctic Circle."

The isotopes also show the men had eaten a high-protein diet, comparable to known sites in Sweden. It means the men were probably Scandinavian Vikings who were executed by Anglo-Saxons.


Evans and her colleagues at the British Geological Survey's NERC Isotope Geosciences Laboratory in Nottingham, England, analyzed 10 of the skeletons over the course of six weeks.


This is the best example we have ever seen of a group of individuals that clearly have their origins outside Britain.

--Jane Evans, an isotope geochemist at the British Geological Survey

 


"These results are fantastic," Evans said. "This is the best example we have ever seen of a group of individuals that clearly have their origins outside Britain."

Many of the executed men suffered multiple wounds, inflicted by a sharp-bladed weapon, to the skull, jaw and upper spine, all thought to relate to the process of decapitation, the Dorset County Council said.


Some men show evidence of other wounds, including a cut to the pelvis, blows to the chest and stomach, and defensive injuries to the hands, the council said.

The bones still appear cleanly sliced, indicating the men suffered a "sword-based execution," Evans said.


There are also two examples of healed fractures that are unlikely to have been medically treated. In one case, the skeleton's right leg is 5 centimeters, or about 2 inches, shorter than the left, which would have given the person a pronounced limp, the council said.


The burial site was found during work for the Weymouth Relief Road, meant to ease traffic congestion on the highway to Weymouth, on England's southern coast. Weymouth Bay and nearby Portland Harbor will host the Olympic and Paralympics sailing events during the 2012 London Olympics. The leader of the Dorset County Council, Angus Campbell, said the construction of the road had already revealed prehistoric and Iron Age finds.

"But we never would have dreamed of finding a Viking war grave," Campbell said in a statement. "The burial pit took us all by surprise and its story gets more fascinating as the analysis goes on."


Researchers are hoping to find further evidence about the men's lifestyles, activity, health and diet, the council said.


Was it just the Vikings who were bloodthirsty heathens or a "urban" myth designed to promote Christian beliefs and conversions?

Somthing to ponder about

Are our Health Expectations too High?

Posted by forestwood on March 7, 2010 at 5:26 PM Comments comments (0)

Nowadays it seems there is an expectation that as one ages, we can expect have a knee replacement/hip replacement/ bypass surgery etc.  The health care system (especially the public ones) are strained by an affluent society with expectations that each niggling pain and ache will be dealth with promptly.


Is this an unreal expectation? I have known many people who have had a hip replacement, only to pass away six months later, never havig gotten out of the rehabilitation wheelchair; other more mobile citizens being told they need a knee replacement but ten years later they are still mobile, albeit in some pain, but still not enough to warrant them consenting to a knee replacement.


I have an 88 year old father - in - law with circulation impaired enough in his leg that his knee bone is dying. Yes dying, and ten years ago they drilled a hole in his kneecap to initiate further bone growth. This worked. Now the problem has recurred. At 88 what would he do differently if he knee was magically fixed. In his words, probably nothing different, except perhaps walk a little further than he does each day.  He would not play any more lawn bowls or sport than he does now, would not be taking on any marathon challenges, so does he need the magic wand, even if the Doctor had it?  Probably not, although some pain relief would probably be desirable.


I am not in any way demeaning the suffering of those with a very serious condition who do urgently need replacement joints. This will always be necessary in some cases. And I can only imagine the agony that some people go through with their joints. I really hope I am never in that situation myself.


 However, perhaps insted of lamenting or questioning a health care system that is struggling to cope with the masses of patients, and a shortage of beds, we should rather question modern lifes' expectations in senior years and the quality of life that is possible without resorting to major surgery.


Is the Work Ethic dead? or does it need Reforming?

Posted by forestwood on February 1, 2010 at 6:03 PM Comments comments (0)

"The work ethic has become obsolete. It is no longer true that producing more means working more, or that producing more will lead to a better way of life.The connection between more and better has been broken; our needs for many products and services are already more than adequately met ,and many of our as-yet- unsatisfied needs will be met not by producing more, but by producing differently, producing other things, or evenproducing less. This is especially true as regards our needs for air,water, space, silence, beauty, time and human contact.


Neither is ittrue any longer that the more each individual works, the better off everyone will be. The present crisis has stimulated technological change of an unprecedented scale and speed: `the micro-chiprevolution'. The object and indeed the effect of this revolution has been to make rapidly increasing savings in labour, in the industrial,administrative and service sectors. Increasing production is secured inthese sectors by decreasing amounts of labour. As a result, the social process of production no longer needs everyone to work in it on afull-time basis. The work ethic ceases to be viable in such a situation and workbased society is thrown into crisis." André Gorz, Critique of Economic Reason,Gallilé,1989

 


St Lucia Day

Posted by forestwood on December 9, 2009 at 4:41 AM Comments comments (0)

December 13th will mark St. Lucia Day. Lucy/Lucia (283-304) was a Christian who lived among pagans. She dedicated herself to God, pledging to remain pure.


She refused to marry a pagan, and gave her dowry to the poor. Her would-be husband denounced her as a Christian to the governor of Syracuse, Sicily. She was condemned and was to be put to death. Miraculously the guards were unable to move her or even set her on fire so the guards took out her eyes with a fork. She is the patron saint of the blind.


The current tradition of having a girl portray Lucia is said to have started in the late 1700s. She wears a white gown with a red sash and a crown of candles on her head. She is at the head of a procession of women carrying candles. Boys have recently joined the festivities. St. Lucia's is not an official holiday in Sweden. Many cultures have a similar celebration and Scandinavians around the globe continue to observe this ancient celebration. A special bun made with saffron is baked for this day called Lussekatt (St. Lucia Bun.)


Communities around the world celebrate St Lucia in many ways. In  my town, a combined Norwegian and Swedish service will be held in the Swedish church.