Beautiful words and insight from Jake Powning, swordsmith.

Here is another video from swordsmith, Jake Powning. In the video Jake carves a gripping beast into a wooden scabbard and talks a little bit about the techniques he’s using and the folklore that inspires him. At one point in the video (47:07-49:22), a question is asked about the difference between a piece being historically accurate or historically inspired. Jake gives an excellent reply which deals with the philosphy of history and anthropology. It touches on a subject that Erin and I have talked about a lot in our discussions about the past. Namely, that the past doesn’t exist. We can’t access it. All we can deal with are these objects and texts from the past but in the present. We make up stories about them that are internally consistent but might not neccessarily be accurate to how things were.

The stories we make up about these objects all fit together, make sense, and don’t contradict eachother, but that doesn’t mean that’s the way it was. It’s likely we’re right about a lot; but there is so much we’ll never know and probably a lot that we’ve gotten wrong. Watch the video above, but especially the part at 47:07-49:22.


My favorite swordsmith giving a presentation on viking/celtic ornamentation on swords

Jake Powning is an extraordinary swordsmith and wood carver. Here is an hour long lecture/presentation on swordsmithing, word carving, and viking/celtic ornamentation. Very beautiful and very informative!

The sooner, the better!

I hope everyone is doing wonderfully!

It’s funny how little things can influence you to make big decisions. I wanted to wait until I had debt payed off and a savings before I applied to graduate school; but stepping foot back on the UCSD campus to pick up my cap and gown was like going back home. The sooner I earn my Master’s Degree, the better. I’m really leaning towards applying this fall for programs that begin next year.

My only problem? Specialization! I need to familiarize myself with the faculty at these universities, their research, and figure out a geographical and topical focus before I apply. Any ideas? 😉 (Keep in mind, I would need access to the resources. For example, if I’m focusing on Mayan petroglyphs, I would need to travel to Mesoamerica for the research.)

What do you think? 🙂

We’re home! And we’re selling a ton of our books on Amazon!

Erin and I got home safely from Sweden and just decided to sell a bunch of our extra stuff. Less clutter is always good. So we’re selling almost half of our giant collection of books on Amazon! Erin went through and matched the lowest prices for almost all of these books so come check it out and get a deal! We have Art books, Comics, Christian books, Scifi, Classic Literature, Nonfiction, History, Anthropology/Archaeology, Textbooks, etc!  Click on the “Book Sale!” link in the top right corner or just Click Here if you’re lazy. We’ll be updating the page frequently so check back often if you’re interested.

New Pic of the Week: Ancient Curse Tablet


I just put up a new Pic of the Week on the sidebar on the right. It is an ancient lead curse tablet like the kind I wrote about a few months ago [here]. If you click the picture you can see the whole story and the translation. It’s interesting stuff.

Free Archaeology Journals online for Open Access Week!

Click here and Here to check out free and open scientific journals on archaeology, anthropology, archaeometry, and conservation! Many of these will only be available until Nov 4th so download whatever you find interesting before then!

New reading material! “Lady with a Mead Cup”

I just checked out a very interesting book from the archaeology library. It’s called Lady with a Mead Cup: Ritual, Prophecy, and Lordship in the European Warband from La Tene to the Viking Age by Michael J. Enright. It seems to deal with the role of women, alcohol, and religion in the hierarchy of the Germanic and Celtic warband.

Chapters include:

I. Ritual, Group Cohesion, and Hierarchy in the Germanic Warband

II. Warlords, Hetzerinnen and Sibyls

III. The Liquor Ritual and the Basis of Lordly Power to Command Followers

IV. The Archaeology of Intoxication and the Continuity of Transalpine History
1. From Lubsow to te Vikings
2. From Hochdorf to the Gaels
3. Aspects of Continuity and Oral Culture

V. Warband Religion and the Celtic World.
1. Druids, Female Magic, and Weaving Beams
2. Wealhtheow
3. The Celto-Germanic Warband and the Rise of the Warlord
4. Governmental Forms
5. Mercury, Wodan, and the One-Eyed Warlord
6. Rosmerta and the Veleda
7. Mercury, Rosmerta, and a Concept of Rhineland Kingship
8. The Inauguration of the Warlord

VI. Conclusion

I can’t wait to dig in!