воскресенье, 6 мая 2018 г.

Making Medieval Magic: Countering Infections and Poison with Nine Potent Herbs

Making Medieval Magic: Countering Infections and Poison with Nine Potent Herbs

Many old spells have been lost or forgotten over the years, but careful readers of medieval books can still recognize some of them tucked within old tomes. There is a spell from a 10th-century book which was one of the most wanted recipes for medical emergencies – it was created to cure poisoning and infections.

Magic spells are mentioned in some of the world’s oldest resources. It also seems that people had practiced magic even before they learned how to write. Seeking spiritual or divine aid is still popular today and many people turn to the old beliefs when they face hardship. The traditions and practices that were cultivated before the appearance of Christianity or Islam seem to be making a particular resurgence.

Due to this, old spell books have become more and more popular once again. During the 19th century, publishing houses were also very interested in reprinting old books with ”remedies” for many different troubles. One of them was a book that contained the Nine Herbs Charm, a concoction that may have been used to save many lives.

Nine herb charm

Nine herb charm (incendiaryarts)

A Book of Spells

With the growing number of spells, people started to sort them and create ”volumes” with specific remedies for different spiritual and physical issues. Cures for poisons and infections were always important for all members of society – from the farm to the battlefield to the royal court, anyone could be struck with one of these ailments.

Secret Letters, Including 400-Year-Old Shopping List, Found in Historic Mansion in...

1633 letter found in the South Barracks of Knole House

Three letters dating back to the 1600s have been discovered hidden under floorboards during an historic house restoration. The incredible treasures have unearthed secrets about the Tudor mansion Knole House, and how it was run during the 17th century.

Using Sacred Numbers to Make Money – Secret Kabbalist Practices for Conquering...

Using Sacred Numbers to Make Money - Secret Kabbalist Practices for Conquering Chance

An unusual pentagonal diagram with numbers and letters is found in some old texts. The oldest extant version is in a French book published in 1754, but the image and explanation that accompanies it is much older.  Credited to someone named Albumaz de Carpentieri, it is one of many secret “systems” that could supposedly assist people to obtain fortune.  In particular, this is one of many secret Kabbalist ways of increasing one’s odds in lottery extractions.

A numerical system with numbers on a pentagram

A numerical system with numbers on a pentagram (courtesy author).

Mysterious Tome

I first came across this diagram and the explanation of how to use it in a yellowed, Italian-language book published in the 1800s.  It contains chapters on the Good and Bad Days of the Moon, the Golden Key, Sibyl’s Kabbalah, the Zoroastrian Kabbalah, and more than 10,000 vocabulary terms from dream topics, proverbs, and more, along with their numerical relationships.  The text only reveals that it was by an “anonymous Kabbalist.”  It also reveals that he was not the author; the unique methods (for conquering chance) within came from different Kabbalists and astrologers from earlier than the 1500s through the 1700s.

Another compilation of such systems (in Italian) is entitled A New Look at Lottery Games, published by Giustino Rumeo in 1866, and a second (also written in Italian) was published ten years later under the title Public Lottery Extraction Numbers.  The only English-language translation of the text is entitled Making Millions: A 500-Year-Old Kabbalist’s Guide to Conquering Chance.

2018 May 6 Meteors, Planes, and a Galaxy over Bryce Canyon…

2018 May 6

Meteors, Planes, and a Galaxy over Bryce Canyon
Image Credit & Copyright: Dave Lane

Explanation: Sometimes land and sky are both busy and beautiful. The landscape pictured in the foreground encompasses Bryce Canyon in Utah, USA, famous for its many interesting rock structures eroded over millions of years. The featured skyscape, photogenic in its own right, encompasses the arching central disk of our Milky Way Galaxy, the short streaks of three passing planes near the horizon, at least four long streaks that are likely Eta Aquariid meteors, and many stars including the three bright stars that make up the Summer Triangle. The featured image is a digital panorama created from 12 smaller images during this date in 2014. Recurring every year, yesterday and tonight mark the peak of this year’s Eta Aquriids meteor shower, where a patient observer with dark skies and dark-adapted eyes might expect to see a meteor every few minutes.

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap180506.html


True colours of ancient sculptures

When we think of statues and buildings of the classical period, we tend to imagine white marble; scientists in recent years have discovered that it is, in fact, most likely that many of the buildings and statues were painted and, probably, adorned with jewelry.

White marble has been the norm ever since the Renaissance, when classical antiquities first began to emerge from the earth.

By the early 19th century, the systematic excavation of ancient Greek and Roman sites was bringing forth great numbers of statues, and there were scholars on hand to document the scattered traces of their multicolored surfaces.

Ancient texts provide detailed information about the pigments used in antiquity. Actual pigment remains may be identified by various techniques, including polarized light microscopy, X-ray fluorescence and defraction analysis, and infrared spectroscopy.


“Young Roman,” 3rd century CE

So-called “Peplos Kore,” original alongside reconstruction, Athens (540 BC


“Lion from Loutraki” (reconstruction), Greece, c. 570–560 BC

Archer from the western pediment of the Temple of Aphaia on Aigina;


Source Museum of Artifacts

Before the development of photography, the Portrait miniature was highly popular in...

A portrait miniature is a miniature painting which came out of manuscript illumination. The miniature portrait paintings were made with watercolor and gouache paints.

These mini portraits had many purposes from the 16th to the 18th century. They remained highly popular until the development of photography. Painted on a square piece of vellum as a round image in the center surrounded by a painted frame, the miniatures were first invented in the 1520s. Like medals, they were portable but also had realistic color.

Jean Fouquet, self-portrait (1450). The earliest portrait miniature, and possibly the earliest formal self-portrait


A display case with 18th-century portrait miniatures at the National Museum in Warsaw  Photo Credit

The portrait miniature developed from the illuminated manuscript


In the 16th century, they were mainly popular in England and France and the earliest known portrait miniature is the one of young Henry VIII by Lucas Horenbout in Cambridge. Famous manuscript painters were the first portrait miniaturists like Lucas Horenbout, Jean Fouquet, Levina Teerlinc and Simon Bening.

It was a unique art form because it was a gift or lover’s token that introduced people to each other over distances. Also, they were worn like jewelry around the neck, or they could be worn from a belt of chain or pinned next to the heart.

Richard Cosway, a self-portrait in miniature, 1770


The future Duke of Wellington in 1808, by Richard Cosway

In the mid-16th century, in France, these kind of paintings were made on larger images and looked more like finished drawings with some color than portrait miniature. The first miniaturist that produced them was Francois Clouet.

In the 18th century in England, there were a lot of miniature painters and the most famous was Richard Cosway who was a leading portrait painter of the Regency Era. Some of the most famous portrait miniatures that he made were the Portrait of Arthur Wellesley, later Duke of Wellington and King George IV who appointed him as the painter to the Prince of Wales.

Another famous English miniaturist is George Engleheart who produced more striking portraits than that of Cosway. In his life, he painted over 4, 900 miniatures. The greatest of the 18th-century miniaturists was John Smart, and his last miniature can be seen in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri. Smart is the first who represented the portrait miniature in India which made the exchange of portraits between Britain and India cheap and easy.

Christian Horneman’s miniature portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven (1802)

Miniature of George Washington by Robert Field (1800)

In Denmark, in the 18th century, the most famous miniaturist was Cornelius Hoyer who was appointed miniature painter to the Danish Court. One of his most famous portrait miniatures is the portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven.  In Spain, miniatures were produced by very few artists, and one of them was Francisco Goya.

In the United States, the first American woman that worked on miniatures was Mary Roberts. After her work, around 1900,  many women worked on this kind of forms such as Lucy May Stanton, Cornelia Ellis Hildebrandt, and Virginia Richmond Reynolds.

Source The Vintage News

Old hand, coins and treasure map found in Florida attic

When it comes to spring cleaning, it’s always nice to have a spare hand to help. Finding a real human hand is probably not what the Lopezes had in mind, but that’s exactly what this family from Florida found in their grandparents’ attic. Cleaning the dreaded attic turned up a darling wedding photo of the Lopezes grandparents, but it also uncovered some interesting but creepy finds.

Mike Lopez said his sister was not expecting to find a human hand, a treasure map, and gold coins. He spoke to local TV news network WFLA about the discovery, and the story kept getting stranger. The items found by his sister were neatly packed inside a wooden box. To add more to the story, the treasure map contained the name of the infamous mythical pirate “Gaspar”.

Box allegedly containing Gaspar’s hand and related items  Photo Credit

This story seems to border on the outer limits, but a local historian doesn’t believe that the hand belongs to the famed pirate. The pirate, whose full name is José Gaspar, is a legend from the 18th and 19th century. He has taken his place in local folklore and culture and has an annual festival in his honor.

But Rodney Kite-Powell, a Tampa-Bay curator, doesn’t believe that the legendary figure was even real. He confirmed that indeed the Lopezes have found a real human hand, but as for “Gasparilla”, that was a myth.

The gold coins were too thin and too old to pass as authentic Spanish treasure. He weighed in on the treasure map as well and believes it was a blueprint for the area during the 1920s and 1930s, but nothing more.

How did the legend of Gaspar begin? The story of the famed pirate may have been the tall tale of a U.S. naval officer. As the story goes, the pirate Jose Gaspar was hunting for the USS Enterprise in 1821; onboard was Juan Gómez, the man who lived to tell the tale.

According to the story, Gaspar had underestimated the USS Enterprise as an easy target. After sustaining heavy damage, the famed Spanish pirate tied himself to his anchor and leaped to his watery death– apparently not wanting to be killed at the hands of the enemy.

There are many differing versions about the pirate’s origins and life, but there is no real historical evidence that he ever existed. This does not stop the legend of Gasparilla from living on in the Florida folklore; the story of his life is even retold in a hotel brochure at the site where supposedly his treasure was buried, The Huffington Post reported.

This tale doesn’t give the Lopezes a helping hand in solving the mystery of the finds from their grandparents’ attic.

The experts don’t believe that their find is a real treasure map or that the legend of Gaspar is anything more than children story or a folk tale that adds to the culture of the area.

Source The Vintage News

Took a trip to Castell Henllys Iron Age Settlement in…

Took a trip to Castell Henllys Iron Age Settlement in Pembrokeshire yesterday. Got some lovely photos in the sunshine. Looking forward to sharing them later!

Source link


A large manor has been found at the archaeological site of Korshamn near the Viking Age...

Established in the middle of the 8th century on the island of Björkö, Birka is credited for being the oldest town in Sweden. Protected under UNESCO’s World Heritage program, Birka also counts as a Viking Age proto-town and is the perfect destination for time-travelling hipsters who want to experience the real feel of Viking culture.

Once an important trading center that connected Scandinavia with the rest of the world, Birka is today known for its rich archaeological sites. In fact, the latest discoveries just outside the city may have affirmed the status of this settlement as one of the most significant sites in the Viking world.

A photo from previous excavation on the island conducted in 1991, photo credit

It was a team of Swedish and German archaeologists which confirmed the discovery of a large manor at the site of Korshamn, one of the main harbor bays of the island. The explorations were performed with the help of ground-penetrating radars as fieldwork was conducted in September 2016. The archaeologists now claim they have located one of the most significant Viking halls of the era. Early estimates indicate that the manor most probably dates to the period after 810 AD.

“This kind of Viking period high-status manors have previously only been identified at a few places in southern Scandinavia, for instance, Tissø and Lejre in Denmark,” stated Dr. Johan Runer, an archaeologist at the Stockholm county museum.

The first hints to the big discovery came as Dr. Runer and his colleagues located several large house terraces at Korshamn. Further investigations uncovered a major Viking period hall on the site, with a length of around 40 meters. The size of the manor implies that it could only have been the property of the highest-ranking person on the island, which was Herigar – the King’s representative and Birka’s royal bailiff.

Fenced areas of the site suggest that the manor was “linked to religious activities”. Herigar is also considered to have built the first Christian church on the Swedish island after he was Christianized by Saint Ansgar, the archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen sent to bring Christianity in Northern Europe.

“The site could say something very important about the establishment of the town of Birka because it is a place that dates back further than Birka,” have said Dr. Runer in another interview with TT Newswire.

Ansgars Cross in Birka, photo credit

According to the team, the identification of the house terraces at Korshamn and the subsequent geophysical surveys of these, together with the one of the house plateau conducted in September 2016, offer unique opportunities which have never been encountered before. This will lead to a deeper understanding of a site which is not only central to the early history of Sweden, but also a key location of the wider Viking world.

As the explorations proceed, we can only learn more about the first Christian mission in Sweden, the role of the royal administration, and the start of early urban life in Scandinavia.

Source The Vintage News

Landnám, loot, and long-distance trade: understanding Viking economics

The region of Scandinavia – which includes the countries of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark – has a rich and varied history that includes 300 years of the Viking Age. The Viking era becomes most influential historically in the 8th century CE, when the Vikings expanded outside of Scandinavia into Greenland and Iceland.

Over the following centuries, Viking warriors raided and settled an impressive number of locations as far as Russia and North America. Vikings first raided England in 793, and the Viking era in northern Europe is traditionally considered to have ended with the death of Harald Hardrada in 1066 during a failed attempt to take over the English throne. Leif Erikson led a westward expansion from Greenland and made landfall on Canadian shores in 1000 although the settlement there eventually failed.

The reasons for Viking expansion have long been debated among experts, with population pressure, political pressure, and economic gain most frequently suggested. The Vikings’ successes as conquerors would not have been fully realized had they not also developed extremely effective shipbuilding and navigation skills as early as the 4th century CE. During the Viking Age, political, religious, and economic structures were forever changed. Understanding Viking economics – a combination of pastoralism, long-distance trade, and piracy – gives valuable insight into the legacy of this group of warriors and imperialists.

The Viking system of pastoral farming was based on raising cattle, pigs, and goats. The type of grazing agriculture the Vikings used was called Norse landnám (new land settlement), and while it succeeded in Norway and the Faroe Islands, it was a failure in Iceland after the Vikings arrived there in 873 CE. The system also failed in Greenland after the Vikings arrived in 985 CE. Due to thin soils and a changing climate in Greenland, pigs and cattle began to be outnumbered by goats as the weather became harsher. In desperate circumstances, Greenlanders relied on local birds, fish, and animals for survival while also producing trade goods.

A modern recreation of the Norse site at L’Anse aux Meadows. Photo Credit

The Viking trade system was extremely successful as early as the middle of the 9th century, partly because it was supplemented by piracy. During raids on various European and western Asian countries, Vikings gained vast amounts of precious metals and other loot, which they buried in hoards. The Vikings’ legitimate trade involved coins, ceramics, polar bear skins, and slaves, and they were directly responsible for the movement of glass, walrus ivory, pottery and arctic cod through the northern half of Europe.

The Norse in Greenland traded heavily in its walrus ivory resources, but the collapse of the market likely led to the end of the colony.

Anglo-Saxon-Viking Coin weight. Used for trading bullion and hack-silver. Photo Credit 

Viking trading flourished during the 12th and 13th centuries, driven by the need to pay taxes to kings and tithes to the church. Commercial efforts in cod fishing, falconry, sea mammal oil, soapstone, and walrus ivory were assisted by a centralized government in Scandinavia that increased the growth of trading places and towns. These commodities became a currency and could be traded to fund art, architecture, and armies, About Education reported.

Despite a modern reputation as ruthless warriors, pillagers, and raiders, the Vikings were also innovative farmers, tradesmen, and builders. Their system of economics helped further Viking settlements in Scandinavia and beyond, leaving behind a legacy that both helped and hindered Scandinavia and other conquered regions during the Viking Age and the centuries that followed.

Source The Vintage News

One of the most impressive tombs found in the Kidron Valley: The Tomb of Absalom

The Tomb of Absalom (also called Absalom’s Pillar, Yad Avshalom, and Absalom’s Shrine) is an ancient monument in the upper Kidron Valley on the east side of Jerusalem.

It is the most impressive and complete of the ancient tombs of wealthy Jewish families that lived in Jerusalem during the era of the Second Temple. This entire area is a large cemetery with thousands of tombs, and this is one of the largest and the most beautiful.

Yad Avshalom, on Mt. Olives slopes, Jerusalem. Photo Credit

CSER PhD Opportunities

It’s the new year and we have some great opportunities for PhD study at the Centre for Sports Engineering Research.

Vice-Chancellor Scholarship

Sheffield Hallam University’s Vice-Chancellor scholarship program is a competitive process which will award the best students with a bursary which covers tuition fees and living costs.

The University has a large number of potential projects in numerous subject areas (see the main website) and CSER has 3 sports-engineering related themes (links below for details).

Industry Sponsored Project

In addition to the VC Scholarships, CSER has an industry-sponsored PhD in collaboration with adidas. Go here to read about the project details.

How to Apply

This is a competitive process and all of those interested need to complete an application form and e-mail it to HWB-DoctoralAdmin@shu.ac.uk by 12 noon on Friday 24th February 2017.

The quality of your application and the 1,500 word research proposal (section 9 of the form) will be used to judge your suitability for the program.

Along with the proposal, please identify:

  • the theme to which your proposal is aligned

  • whether you are interested in a full-time (fully-funded) or part-time (fees only) scholarship

You are encouraged to find out more about our staff and their current research to inform the development of your proposal, which will help ensure your proposal aligns with our research themes. Do not hesitate to contact a project lead (see theme descriptions) for more details and advice.

Selection process

Successful applicants will be required to attend an interview where you will be asked to talk through your research proposal. Applicants to the Vice-Chancellor’s scholarship will also be required to give a 10-minute presentation. Where travel to Sheffield isn’t possible, the interview will be conducted over Skype (or equivalent).


Where English is not your first language, you must show evidence of English language ability to the following minimum level of proficiency: an overall IELTS score of 7.0 or above, with at least 6.5 in each component or an accepted equivalent. Please note that your test score must be current, i.e. within the last two years. Please view our eligibility criteria before submitting an application.

Theme Descriptions

Performance analysis in Olympic Swimming

Contact: Dr Chris Hudson

The Centre for Sports Engineering Research (CSER) has been a Research and Innovation Partner of the English Institute of Sport (EIS) for the past 3 Olympic cycles. CSER carried out 61 projects with 10 sports during the last Olympic cycle and this supported athletes that won a total of 42 medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics. This partnership was showcased in a blog article by Professor Chris Husbands, the Sheffield Hallam University Vice Chancellor, as an exemplar of the how universities can have real-world impact. The nature of the support is often providing cutting-edge bespoke software and/or hardware solutions to support the Sports in the training and competition environments. The partnership has also included 4 PhDs, each working with a Sport. CSER has worked with British Swimming extensively over the past 8 years. Major projects include:

  • Producing British Swimming’s race analysis system – Nemo

  • Producing a start and turn analysis system that incorporates above and below water filming – Swimtrack – at the Loughborough National Training Centre.

  • Producing software and supporting the hardware installation of a permanent underwater swimming analysis system at the Bath National Training Centre

British Swimming enjoyed their most successful Olympics ever at Rio 2016 and will be looking to build on that for Tokyo 2020. The PhD research will be related to the work CSER does with British Swimming and provides the opportunity to work with world-leading athletes, support staff and infrastructure. This might be continuing prior research, using data collected by the CSER systems or asking a new research question based on current and future projects. Possible research areas include:

  • Start and turn analysis using the data collected from Swimtrack. This could look at athlete progression, intervention studies and development on the system and the analysis process.

  • Automatic data collection from training environments. This would implement work from a previous PhD that determined the calibration process and progressed work on automated stroke-rate detection for a camera based system. The work could be both practical system development and data analysis, cross-referencing with the data collected from competitions using Nemo.

  • Underwater swimming analysis using the systems at the national training centres and footage collected by CSER and British Swimming at major international competitions. This is a new area of development for British Swimming and there are likely to be many avenues to explore.

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Sports Injury Prevention

Contact: Nick Hamilton

Injury prevention is a key research area of the Centre for Sports Engineering Research. This work aims to reduce the prevalence of injury in sport through the development and evaluation of protective equipment and infrastructure. CSER have a strong reputation in sports injury research and have delivered many successful projects in collaboration with; governing bodies, commercial companies, standards agencies, elite sports and athletes. Our work has sought to understand the mechanisms of sports injury in order to mitigate their effect and inform the design of sports equipment and materials through a comprehensive methodology exploring:

  • causality;

  • infield measurement;

  • lab replication and testing;

  • material design and characterisation;

  • product development.

We have pioneered the use of infield measurements to better understand the causality of injury. This research has informed laboratory testing that can simulate injurious scenarios with fidelity. Materials and designs have been evaluated, characterized and developed to minimize the incidence of injury.

Recent projects include:

  • infield testing of football stud traction (adidas);

  • characterisation and simulation of in play football movements (adidas);

  • measurement of the damping characteristics of artificial turf (Labosport);

  • characterisation of snowboarding wrist guard performance;

  • characterisation and simulation of laceration injuries from studded footwear in rugby (World Rugby);

  • measurement of hip injury impact forces in figure skating;

  • characterization of materials for impact protection on human tissue;

  • development of auxetic foams specifically to reduce the forces during impacts within sports.

CSER welcomes applications for PhD study within the scope of injury prevention. Proposals should address a significant need within sport and focus on engineering techniques and methodologies. Successful applicants will benefit from the knowledge, facilities and capabilities of a world leading sports engineering group and will be able to develop rich research opportunities and commercial markets in the field.

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3D shape analysis and human body measurement

Contact: Dr Simon Choppin

Imaging in three-dimensions has come of age. Devices which can capture the external surface of an object or individual can now be purchased for less than £200. Through a research programme lasting over 4 years, we have developed an accurate (~3 mm), flexible and low-cost (~£1,500) 3D imaging system which we have demonstrated is an effective tool for measurement of human body size and shape in health and sport. Our work has demonstrated the system to be an effective replacement for traditional measurement tools (callipers, tape measure etc.). However, our interests lie in the new applications of this technology. There is great potential for advanced analysis and measurement which is impossible by traditional means. Work in the Centre for Sports Engineering Research is focused on applications and developments in sport, health and physical activity. Your project would be concerned with the application of this new technology to these research areas. We are looking for excellent candidates to work with our research group and we are particularly interested in how 3D shape analysis can be used to improve the measurement of the human body i.e. how 3D ‘shape’ in human body measurement can be used to inform, predict and diagnose. In the past we have completed projects regarding:

  • The assessment, monitoring and measurement of women undergoing breast cancer treatment

  • A motivation, measurement and assessment tool in obese populations

  • Bespoke training and assessment in elite sport for talent ID and training

We would expect your work to complement our existing work and demonstrate advancement in the field. We are interested in technical developments, participant-based studies and potential areas of application for our system. Your project could focus on any of these areas.

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Characterising player movement on hybrid football surfaces

External partner: adidas AG

Contact: Dr David James

Professional football is increasingly played on hybrid surfaces that combine both natural and artificial turf. The majority of top league stadiums around the world now use a hybrid surface that weaves artificial fibres into the natural surface. It is claimed that hybrid surfaces are more consistent, more robust, and provide better drainage.

Despite their popularity in the professional game, relatively little is known about the effect of hybrid surfaces on player movement. Footwear is typically designed for, and tested on natural turf. Recently, adidas AG sponsored a programme of research undertaken by Sheffield Hallam University to better understand player movement on artificial turf (Emery et al. 2016). It was found that the player movements and footwear requirements on artificial turf were different to those on natural turf. The research informed the development of new surface specific footwear and methods to assess their ‘real word’ performance. The absence of knowledge on hybrid surfaces and the potential to develop new products to enhance player performance provides the motivation for this PhD proposal.

The general approach of the project will be to focus on field-based observations of match play football. In sports biomechanics research there is a growing consensus that simulated labbased assessments often fail to elicit full match play intensity. This project will develop new methods (including the development of algorithms) to predict player kinematics and kinetics from multiple data sources including synchronised video, inertial sensor and GPS/LPS data. The Centre for Sports Engineering Research have developed considerable expertise in this area (Driscoll et al. 2015). The PhD will also involve a significant volume of fieldwork to establish and compare normative movement profiles for different footballers on natural turf, and hybrid turf.

The project is in collaboration with adidas AG, a global sporting brand with an excellent reputation for research and innovation. The results of the PhD will provide adidas AG with new knowledge and insights to develop new surface specific footwear for football.

A successful PhD candidate will be adept at developing excellent technical skills in fieldwork data collection with advanced data processing and predictive modelling methods. Furthermore, the PhD candidate will be confident in establishing strong working relationships with professional football teams, and the community of researchers at adidas AG. It is anticipated that the candidate will spend at least two months working in the research labs of adidas AG in Germany.


Emery, Jim, et al. “A Method for Characterizing High Acceleration Movements in Small-sided Football.” Procedia Engineering 147 (2016): 718-723.

Driscoll, Heather, et al. “Measurement of studded shoe–surface interaction metrics during in situ performance analysis.” Sports Engineering 18.2 (2015): 105-113.

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Source The Centre for Sports Engineering Research

How do we measure well-being?

Opinions differ on the definition of well-being. Yet there’s a growing consensus that it cannot be reduced to material consumption and that other aspects of life, such as health and good social relations, are essential to being well.

Increasing well-being is generally accepted as one of the essential components of social progress, but if different aspects of life all contribute to well-being, can or should we construct an overall measure of it? For example, is “happiness” a good measure?

Before we can begin to monitor social progress in terms of well-being, we need more clarity on the concept itself.

Measuring happiness

One possibility is to use large opinion surveys in which individuals answer simple questions on their degree of happiness or life satisfaction. These have revealed robust patterns, confirming that economic growth has a weaker than expected effect on satisfaction, and that other aspects of life, such as health and unemployment, are important.

These simple survey measures seem credible. But according to psychologists, happiness and life satisfaction do not coincide. Life satisfaction has a cognitive component – individuals have to step back to assess their lives – while happiness reflects positive and negative emotions that fluctuate.

A focus on positive and negative emotions can lead to understanding well-being in an “hedonic” way, based in pleasure and the absence of pain. Looking instead to individuals’ judgements about what is worth seeking suggests a preference-based approach (a possibility we discuss below). People judge all sorts of different things to be worth seeking.

In other words, happiness may be an element in evaluating one’s well-being, but it is not the only one.

The capability approach

Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen has pointed out that understanding well-being on the basis of feelings of satisfaction, pleasure, or happiness have two problems.

The first he calls “physical-condition neglect”. Human beings adapt at least partially to unfavourable situations, meaning the poor and the sick can still be relatively happy. One striking study by a team of Belgian and French physicians has shown that even in a cohort of patients with chronic locked-in syndrome, a majority reported being happy.

The second problem is “valuation neglect”. Valuing a life is a reflective activity that should not be reduced to feeling happy or unhappy. Of course, Sen admits, “it would be odd to claim that a person broken down by pain and misery is doing very well”.

We should therefore not fully neglect the importance of feeling well, but also acknowledge it is not the only thing people care about.

Together with Martha Nussbaum, Sen formulated an alternative: the capability approach, which stipulates that both personal characteristics and social circumstances affect what people can achieve with a given amount of resources.

Giving books to a person who cannot read does not increase their well-being (probably the opposite), just as providing them with a car does not increase mobility if there are no decent roads.

According to Sen, what the person manages to do or to be – such as being well-nourished or being able to appear in public without shame – are what really matter for well-being. Sen calls these achievements the “functionings” of the person. However, he further claims that defining well-being only in terms of functioning is insufficient, because well-being also includes freedom.

His classic example involves the comparison between two undernourished individuals. The first person is poor and cannot afford food; the second is wealthy but chooses to fast for religious reasons. While they achieve the same level of nourishment, they cannot be said to enjoy the same level of well-being.

Therefore, Sen suggests that well-being should be understood in terms of people’s real opportunities – that is, all possible combinations of functionings from which they can choose.

The capability approach is inherently multidimensional; but those seeking to guide policy often think that rationally dealing with trade-offs requires having one single ultimate measure. Adherents of the capability approach who succumb to this thought often mistrust individual preferences and apply instead a set of indicators that are common to all individuals.

So-called “composite indicators” – like the United Nations’ Human Development Index, which adds together consumption, life expectancy and educational performance at the country level – are a frequent outcome of this kind of thinking. They have become popular in policy circles, but they fall victim to simply adding up scores on different dimensions, all deemed equally important.

Taking individual convictions seriously

Beyond the subjective approach and the capability approach, a third perspective – the preference-based approach to well-being – takes into account that people disagree about the relative importance of different life dimensions.

Some people think that hard work is necessary to have a valuable life while others prefer to spend more time with family. Some think that going out with friends is key, while others prefer reading a book in a quiet place.

The “preference-based” perspective starts from the idea that people are better off when their reality matches better what they themselves consider to be important.

Preferences thus have a cognitive “valuational” component: they reflect people’s well-informed and well-considered ideas about what a good life is, not merely their market behaviour.

This does not coincide with subjective life satisfaction. Recall the example of patients with the locked-in syndrome reporting high levels of satisfaction because they have adapted to their situation. This does not mean that they would not prefer to have their health back – and it certainly does not mean that citizens without locked-in syndrome would not mind falling ill with it.

One example of a preference-based measure, advocated by the French economist Marc Fleurbaey, directs people to choose reference values for all non-income aspects of life (such as health or number of hours worked). These reference values will depend on the individual: everyone probably agrees that not being ill is the best possible state, but a workaholic lawyer is likely to place a very different value on work hours than someone with an arduous and hazardous factory job.

Fleurbaey then suggests that people define a salary that, combined with the non-income-based reference value, would satisfy the individual as much as their current situation.

The amount by which this “equivalent income” differs from the person’s actual work-based income can help answer the question: “How much income you would be willing to give up for better health or more free time?”

Some psychologists are sceptical about preference-based approaches because they assume that human beings have well-informed and well-considered ideas about what makes a good life. Even if such rational preferences exist, one struggles to measure them because these are aspects of life – family time, health – that are not traded on markets.

Does all this matter in practice?

The following table, compiled by the Belgian economists Koen Decancq and Erik Schokkaert, shows how differing approaches to well-being can have practical consequences.

It ranks 18 European countries in 2010 (just after the financial crisis) according to three possible measures: average income, average life satisfaction and average “equivalent income” (taking into account health, unemployment, safety and the quality of social interactions).

Income Subjective life satisfaction Equivalent income
1 Norway Denmark Norway
2 Switzerland Switzerland Switzerland
3 Netherlands Finland Sweden
4 Sweden Norway Denmark
5 Great Britain Sweden Great Britain
6 Germany Netherlands Belgium
7 Denmark Belgium Netherlands
8 Belgium Spain Finland
9 Finland Germany France
10 France Great Britain Germany
11 Spain Poland Spain
12 Slovenia Slovenia Greece
13 Greece Estonia Slovenia
14 Czech Republic Czech Republic Czech Republic
15 Poland France Poland
16 Hungary Hungary Estonia
17 Russia Greece Russia
18 Estonia Russia Hungary

Some results are striking. Danes are much more satisfied than they are wealthy, while France is the opposite. These large divergences are not seen when comparing equivalent incomes, however, which suggests that satisfaction in these two countries is heavily influenced by cultural differences.

Germany and the Netherlands also do worse on satisfaction than on income, but their equivalent income rankings confirm that they do relatively worse on the non-income dimensions.

Greece has a remarkably low level of life satisfaction. Cultural factors may play a role here, but Greece is also characterised by high income inequality, which is not captured by the averages in the table.

These differences among various measures of well-being hint at the important issues involved in deciding which measure of well-being – if any – to select. If we want to use the measure to rank nations’ performance at providing well-being, then we will be pulled towards a single, simple measure, such as subjective happiness. If we seek to keep track, for policy purposes, of whether individuals are doing well in the respects that really matter, we will be pulled towards a more multi-dimensional assessment, such as that offered by the capability approach. And if we are most impressed by disagreement among individuals as to what matters, we will have reason to understand well-being along the lines suggested by the preference-based approach.

The authors are lead authors of the chapter Social Progress, A Compass for the International Panel on Social Progress

The Conversation

The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.

Source The Conversation

Revolutionary War Artifacts Recovered in Virginia

Virginia Yorktown surrender


GLOUCESTER POINT, VIRGINIA—The Daily Press reports that artifacts dating to the Revolutionary War were found in a cellar at the site of Gloucester Point, an affluent colonial-era town located in southeastern Virginia, across the York River from Yorktown. Among the recovered artifacts is a brass plate engraved with the name “Lt. Dickson, 80th Regt. of Foot,” referring to an officer of the Royal Edinburgh Volunteers, who eventually surrendered Gloucester Town to American and French forces in 1781 during the Siege of Yorktown. Other artifacts include French infantry buttons, an English half-penny dated 1773, a silver piece of eight, two matching shoe buckles, and pieces of brass hardware. “We think they were all deposited during some sort of post-Revolution cleanup,” said archaeologist Anna Rhodes of DATA Investigations. The site has also yielded more than 600 features, including defensive ditches from the time of the Revolution and the Civil War. For more on the archaeology of the American Revolution, go to “Finding Parker’s Revenge.”

Source Archaeology Magazine

Ancient DNA evidence of an emerging noble class in early medieval Southern Germany

Some interesting news from 7th century AD Bavaria at the AJPA: Rott et al., Early medieval stone-lined graves in Southern Germany: analysis of an emerging noble class The paper’s about kinship and social structure, and not geared for ancient population genetics. But the Y-chromosome haplogroups include R1b (7), I1 (2), I2b1 (2), and I2b, and the mitochondrial haplogroups include T2f (6), H2a2 (3), H1b, HV0*, U3a and U5a. Keep in mind that many of these samples are close relatives. Source Eurogenes Blog

Ancient DNA evidence of an emerging noble class in early medieval Southern Germany

Some interesting news from 7th century AD Bavaria at the AJPA: Rott et al., Early medieval stone-lined graves in Southern Germany: analysis of an emerging noble class The paper’s about kinship and social structure, and not geared for ancient population genetics. But the Y-chromosome haplogroups include R1b (7), I1 (2), I2b1 (2), and I2b, and the mitochondrial haplogroups include T2f (6), H2a2 (3), H1b, HV0*, U3a and U5a. Keep in mind that many of these samples are close relatives. Source Eurogenes Blog

Sasanian Empire, Shapur II (AD 309-379), Gold Dinar, bearded…

Sasanian Empire, Shapur II (AD 309-379), Gold Dinar, bearded bust right, wearing turreted headdress, globe above, rev fire altar, 7.26g (Mitchiner 870).  Ex-mount, edge marks and smoothed surfaces, slightly wavy flan, fine and scarce.

I have a soft spot for the Sassanians, mostly because they were the other great world power in my period, and unlike the Romans, they had it all, and all together in this period. Shapur II, the longest reigning Sassanian Emperor, claimed descent from divinities, primarily from the Zoroastrian pantheon. He was, however, the last emperor to claim that status. His reign ushered in a golden age and he led two successful campaigns against the Romans.

Numismatically, Shapur II is interesting because he was, primarily, a recycler. Most of the bronze coinage from his reign was made by restriking Roman bronze coins that he stole in battle. His gold coins were rare, but were designed in a way that shamed the Romans, being both purer and heavier than the solidi struck by his neighbors.

A collection of images and articles about coins from the ancient (and especially Mediterranean) world

Oldest cemetery of African slaves found in Canary Islands

An international team of investigators has confirmed that the unique cemetery discovered in 2009 in Santa Maria de Guia, in the Canary Islands was indeed the oldest cemetery of slaves on the Atlantic sea coast, dating to the 15th and 17th centuries.

Oldest cemetery of African slaves found in Canary Islands
A team of investigators believe they have found the remains of the earliest victims of the slave trade, between Africa 

and Latin America, after a site was excavated in the Canary Islands in 2009 [Credit: EPA]

The slaves are thought to have come from different parts of North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, revealed the DNA study of the 14 men and women buried in the archaeological site, according to the study released by the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

The cemetery was found near an ancient sugar plantation “with funerary practices that could be related to enslaved people,” as such practices had never been recorded on the islands before.

Oldest cemetery of African slaves found in Canary Islands
The remains on the site are thought to date back to the 16th century and testing by research teams, from 

universities in Britain, Spain, Peru and the US, unlocked the identity of their origins [Credit: EPA]

About 12 million Africans were forcefully brought to the Americas between the 16th and 19th century in order to work as slaves in large plantations, mostly sugar cane ones. But this well-known true story actually started before Europe invaded Africa, also using African slaves in the Canary Islands, Cape Verde and Madeira in the sugar cane industry.

Although researchers found many references to this reality, they still failed to find any evidence until now. But eight researchers from universities in Spain, the U.k., Peru and United States, along with the Tibicena archaeological company confirmed the existence of a slave cemetery, thanks to analysis of ancient DNA, stable isotopes, and skeletal markers of physical activity.

Oldest cemetery of African slaves found in Canary Islands
DNA was extracted from the bones of the skeletons and revealed that the group was made up of a Canarian aboriginal 

woman, four black men and another six bodies belonging to native groups of Europe and Africa [Credit: EPA]

Most of the skeletons studied revealed that the slaves died in their 20s, with injuries in the column, suggesting “a pattern of labor involving high levels of effort” — about the same physical markers found in slave plantations in South Carolina, Surinam and Barbados.

The team is now looking for funds so they can continue digging, as they expect much more than 14 bodies buried in the cemetery.

Source: TeleSur [January 19, 2017]


Source TheArchaeologyNewsNetwork

Treasures from 2,600 year old grave of Celtic princess in Germany reveal their secrets

The grave of an aristocratic woman and child in the south of Germany has been dated to 583 BCE, making it 2,600 years old. The grave site, which was moved to a lab in Stuttgart in its entirety in order for the burial chamber to be studied, contains the remains of a woman adorned in gold, bronze, amber and jet jewellery, and about half a metre away from her, the remains of a girl thought to have been between two and three years old. The woman was buried with gold, bronze, jet and amber jewellery and armour for a horse’s head.

Treasures from 2,600-year-old grave of Celtic princess in Germany reveal their secrets
Gold and amber beads from Hueneburg Celtic grave [Credit: State Office for Cultural Heritage, Baden-Wuerttemberg]

Close similarities between the gold broaches worn by the woman and the child suggest that there may have been a familial relationship between the woman and child, archaeologists have reported in a paper published in the journal Antiquity.

“The broaches are very similar in decoration and style,” study author Dirk Krausse of the State Office for Cultural Heritage, Baden-Wuerttemberg, told IBTimes UK. “By typology and ornamentation decoration, they are from the same period – probably from the same goldsmiths.”

Treasures from 2,600-year-old grave of Celtic princess in Germany reveal their secrets
Bronze pendants mounted on boar tusks [Credit: Dirk Krausse et al/Antiquity]

“They are very special. We have no parallels to compare from the other graves. They’re only known up to now from these two graves.”

The burial mound is of Celtic origin, from the Iron Age period when the Celts occupied present-day Germany and traded with the rest of Europe. The excavated site was transported to the State Office for Cultural Heritage, Baden-Wuerttemberg in 2011.

Treasures from 2,600-year-old grave of Celtic princess in Germany reveal their secrets
Matching gold brooches [Credit: Dirk Krausse et al/Antiquity]

The location of this particular grave is likely to be the reason both for the preservation of the remains and the absence of looting.

“We were quite surprised that this grave of this woman was not robbed,” Krausse said. “It is close to a small river or creek and it is very wet there, so it’s a kind of bog. The other graves which were robbed in antiquity lay on drier ground. Most of the time there was water in this grave chamber, so it’s not easy to loot.”

Treasures from 2,600-year-old grave of Celtic princess in Germany reveal their secrets
Bronze belt adorned adult woman [Credit: Dirk Krausse et al/Antiquity]

The waterlogged, low-oxygen conditions also preserved the grave from degradation. Biological remains have been retrieved from the woman’s skeleton, but there are not enough remains from the child to do a DNA test, Krausse said. Only the enamel from the child’s teeth now remains.

At the moment, DNA sequencing technology is not advanced enough to work on the fragments of biological remains from the child’s grave. “But in 10 years, 20 years, maybe we will have the technology,” Krausse said.

Author: Martha Henriques | Source: International Business Times [January 20, 2017]

Source TheArchaeologyNewsNetwork

Discovery of lost Dark Age Kingdom in Scotland

Archaeological research led by GUARD Archaeology has just been published which reveals the location of a hitherto lost early medieval kingdom that was once pre-eminent in Scotland and Northern England.

Discovery of lost Dark Age Kingdom in Scotland
Entrance way to the summit of Trusty’s Hill, the carvings lie under the iron cage seen on the left, while the rock-cut 

basin lies to the right beyond the group of people [Credit: The Galloway Picts Project]

The kingdom of Rheged is probably the most elusive of all the sixth century kingdoms of Dark Age Britain. Despite contributing a rich source of some of the earliest medieval poetry to be composed in Britain – the poetry of Taliesin who extolled the prowess of its king, Urien of Rheged – and fragments of early medieval historical records of Urien’s dominance in southern Scotland and northern England, the actual location of Rheged has long been shrouded in mystery.

While many historians have assumed it was centred around Carlisle and Cumbria, no evidence has ever been found to back this up. However, new archaeological evidence from the excavation of Trusty’s Hill Fort at Gatehouse of Fleet in Dumfries and Galloway now challenges this assumption.

‘What drew us to Trusty’s Hill were Pictish symbols carved on to bedrock here, which are unique in this region and far to the south of where Pictish carvings are normally found,’ said Ronan Toolis of GUARD Archaeology, who led the excavation which involved the participation of over 60 volunteers. ‘The Galloway Picts Project was launched in 2012 to recover evidence for the archaeological context of these carvings but far from validating the existence of ‘Galloway Picts’, the archaeological context revealed by our excavation instead suggests the carvings relate to a royal stronghold and place of inauguration for the local Britons of Galloway around AD 600. Examined in the context of contemporary sites across Scotland and northern England, the archaeological evidence suggests that Galloway may have been the heart of the lost Dark Age kingdom of Rheged, a kingdom that was in the late sixth century pre-eminent amongst the kingdoms of the north.’

Discovery of lost Dark Age Kingdom in Scotland
Reconstruction of the royal stronghold as it may have appeared [Credit: DGNHAS/GUARD Archaeology Ltd]

The excavation revealed in the decades around AD 600, the summit of the hill was fortified with a timber-laced stone rampart. Around the same time supplementary defences and enclosures were added to its lower-lying slopes transforming Trusty’s Hill into a nucleated fort, a type of fort in Scotland that has been recognised by archaeologists as high status settlements of the early medieval period.

Anyone approaching the summit of Trusty’s Hill passed between a rock-cut basin on one flank and an outcrop on which two Pictish symbols were carved on the other. This formed a symbolic entranceway, a literal rite of passage, where rituals of royal inauguration were conducted. On entering the summit citadel one may have been greeted with the sight of the king’s hall at the highest part of the hill on the west side, where feasting took place, and the workshop of his master smith occupying a slightly lower area on the eastern side, where gold, silver, bronze and iron were worked into objects. The layout of this fort was complex, each element deliberately formed to exhibit the power and status of its household.

The excavation also found the remains of a workshop that was producing high status metalwork of gold, silver, bronze and iron. The royal household here was also part of a trade network that linked western Britain with Ireland and Continental Europe. In fact, research now shows that over the late sixth and early seventh centuries AD Gaulish merchants were making a beeline for the Galloway coast, ignoring Cumbria entirely. The excavation revealed that one of the reasons for this may have been to acquire materials like copper and lead. Isotope analysis of a lead ingot found during the excavation of Trusty’s Hill was found to have originated in the Leadhills of south-west Scotland, demonstrating that this mineral source was being mined and used to make leaded bronze objects at this time.

Discovery of lost Dark Age Kingdom in Scotland
Close up of Pictish Symbols at Trusty’s Hill [Credit: The Galloway Picts Project]

Other activities apparent at Trusty’s Hill included the spinning of wool, preparation of leather and feasting. The diet of this early medieval household, with the predominant consumption of cattle over sheep and pigs, and oats and barley rather than wheat, was largely indistinguishable from their Iron Age ancestors.

‘The people living at Trusty’s Hill were not engaged in agriculture themselves,’ said excavation co-director Dr Christopher Bowles, Scottish Borders Council Archaeologist. ‘Instead, this household’s wealth relied on their control of farming, animal husbandry and the management of local natural resources – minerals and timber – from an estate probably spanning the wider landscape of the Fleet valley and estuary. Control was maintained by bonding the people of this land and the districts beyond to the royal household, by gifts, promises of protection and the bounties of raiding and warfare.’

It is in this context that the Pictish symbols at Trusty’s Hill can now be viewed. The new analysis of the symbols here leave no doubt that the symbols are genuine early medieval carvings, likely created by a local Briton, melding innovation, contacts with Atlantic Europe and deep seated traditions.

Discovery of lost Dark Age Kingdom in Scotland
A laser scan image of the Pictish symbols carved at Trusty’s Hill, comprising a z-rod-and-double-disc symbol 

on the left and a dragon-pierced-by-a-sword symbol on the right [Credit: © DGNHAS/CDDV]

‘The literal meaning of the symbols at Trusty’s Hill will probably never be known. There is no Pictish Rosetta Stone,’ said Ronan Toolis. ‘But they provide significant evidence for the initial cross cultural exchanges that forged the notion of kingship in early medieval Scotland.’

The location of the symbols at the entranceway to the summit of Trusty’s Hill and opposite a rock-cut basin, mirrors the context of the inauguration stone at Dunadd, the royal centre for the kings of Dalriada, the early Scots kingdom that once covered what is now Argyll and Bute. The imported goods and production of fine metalwork at Trusty’s Hill is comparable in quality to Dunadd, showing that these two royal households were of equal status. Dunadd’s Pictish boar, footprint, ogham and rock-cut basin at the entrance to the summit enclosure are best viewed as a set of royal regalia where the rituals of inauguration took place. The only other Pictish carvings located outside Pictland were found near Edinburgh Castle Rock; another site attested by archaeological and historical evidence to be a royal stronghold of the sixth to early seventh centuries AD. Close comparisons can also now be drawn with the early sixth century royal site at Rhynie in the heart of what was once Pictland.

The 2012 excavation at Trusty’s Hill sought to reveal the archaeological context for the Pictish style carvings. They succeeded in showing that the site was very likely a royal stronghold and place of inauguration of the local Britons of Galloway.

Discovery of lost Dark Age Kingdom in Scotland
Anglo-saxon style bronze jewellery. Originally gilded and silvered and made of leaded brass,

it was probably brought to the site as loot [Credit: DGNHAS/GUARD Archaeology Ltd]

A cluster of contemporary Dark Age sites, such as Whithorn, Kirkmadrine and the Mote of Mark, is now known in Galloway. Trusty’s Hill is the only one of these where there is evidence of royal inauguration and suggests that this site was at the apex of a local social hierarchy. The new evidence from Trusty’s Hill now provides a political context to the wealth and complexity of Galloway during the sixth century, the attraction of the region to continental merchants, and Galloway’s claim as the cradle of Christianity in Scotland. The archaeological record for the establishment of Christianity in southern Scotland suggests that its elite communities were literate and well connected internationally. This could not have occurred without a powerful secular presence providing land and resources. With the corroboration of the literary, historical and archaeological evidence, we begin to see the tantalising clues to a vibrant and dynamic culture that is entirely consistent with Rheged, a kingdom that was pre-eminent in northern Britain in the later sixth century but which faded into obscurity through the course of the seventh century. The deliberate and spectacular destruction of Trusty’s Hill and the nearby contemporary fort at the Mote of Mark in the seventh century AD, which can also be surmised for a number of similar forts in Galloway, is a visceral reminder that the demise of this kingdom in the early seventh century AD came with sword and flame.

‘The new archaeological evidence from Trusty’s Hill enhances our perception of power, politics, economy and culture at a time when the foundations for the kingdoms of Scotland, England and Wales were being laid,’ said Dr Bowles. ‘The 2012 excavations show that Trusty’s Hill was likely the royal seat of Rheged, a kingdom that had Galloway as its heartland. This was a place of religious, cultural and political innovation whose contribution to culture in Scotland has perhaps not been given due recognition. Yet the influence of Rheged, with Trusty’s Hill at its secular heart, Whithorn as its religious centre, Taliesin its poetic master and Urien its most famous king, has nevertheless rippled through the history and literature of Scotland and beyond.’

The Lost Dark Age Kingdom of Rheged by Ronan Toolis and Christopher Bowles is published by Oxbow Books.

To find out more about this project visit www.gallowaypicts.com

Source: GUARD Archaeology [January 20, 2017]


Source TheArchaeologyNewsNetwork

Mysterious rings in Iceland’s Reykjavík possibly ruins of Irish settlements dating...

Mysterious rings on the tip of Seltjarnarnes peninsula, near the Örfirisey nature preserve, just east of downtown Reykjavík, could be ruins of Viking Age structures, built by Irish settlers. The rings have not been the subject of systematic archaeological excavations, but local engineering geologist, Þorgeir S. Helgason, believes they could point to a Celtic and Irish presence among the Viking Age settlers of Iceland.

Mysterious rings in Iceland's Reykjavík possibly ruins of Irish settlements dating to Viking Age
The rings, which can only be seen from the air, were discovered in the 1980s. No archaeological excavation 

has taken place at the site [Credit: Þorgeir Helgason]

Discovered in the 1980s, dated to the Viking Age

Nothing is known about the origins or nature of the rings which were only discovered in the 1980s. They are not visible from the ground, but can be seen from the air under certain circumstances.

The only academic studies which have been conducted at the site were performed by the National Museum in the late 1990s which revealed that the rings had been constructed shortly after the settlement layer of tephra fell.

Celtic settlers among the Norse Vikings?

The “settlement layer” is a layer of tephra, produced by a volcanic eruption in the Torfajökull glacier area which has been dated to around the year in 871, a date which fits with the 874 date given for the settlement of Iceland according to the Sagas. This indicates that the rings are remainders of structures built during the settlement of Iceland.

Mysterious rings in Iceland's Reykjavík possibly ruins of Irish settlements dating to Viking Age
The rings can only be seen from the air. They seem to be the remains of circular boundary walls 

[Credit: Þorgeir Helgason]

Numerous studies, including C14 radiocarbon dating has suggested that the settlement of Iceland began much earlier, perhaps as much as 100 before Ingólfur Arnarson settled in Reykjavík, according to Landnámabók, the Book of Settlements. This would mean that even more time passed from the actual settlement of Iceland and the writing of The Book of Settlements and the Sagas, allowing for more details to get lost in the mists of time.

Some historians and archaeologists, including Þorvaldur Friðriksson, believe that among these details which the written sources leave out are significant Irish and Celtic influences. Þorvaldur has pointed to place names which seem to have Celtic roots, especially in South-West Iceland and the area around Faxaflói bay, as proof of a strong Celtic presence. Þorvaldur told Stöð 2 that the rings support this theory.

Mysterious rings in Iceland's Reykjavík possibly ruins of Irish settlements dating to Viking Age
Field north of Nesstofa museum The rings are located in open fields to the west of the old farm site 

[Credit: Þorgeir Helgason]

Possible sign of Celtic influences

Þorgeir told the local TV station Stöð 2 that while the rings are very unique in Iceland, they would be perfectly at home in the Irish landscape:

“In Ireland this building tradition remains dominant until at least 1200. People built boundary walls of these sizes, just like those we see here. But the actual structures, outhouses or dwellings, were inside the boundary walls.”

Þorgeir argues that the rings point to a stronger Celtic presence in the settlement of Iceland than what we find in the Sagas.

Source: Iceland Magazine [January 20, 2017]

Source TheArchaeologyNewsNetwork


https://t.co/hvL60wwELQ — XissUFOtoday Space (@xufospace) August 3, 2021 Жаждущий ежик наслаждается пресной водой после нескольких дней в о...