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!
Mike reminded me that I took a few photos when I visited the Uppåkra excavation site! I completely forgot to post them for you. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any of the actual excavation site. I only took a few photos of the laboratory where they perform artifact conservation before transferring them to a local museum. Here are the photos:
Visiting the lab was an interesting experience because I was able to see how the conservator was removing the corrosion from a metal artifact. She was so incredibly sweet and allowed students to get a closer look at the objects. I asked what she was using (chemicals, methods, etc.) to stabilize the object and she either didn’t want to go into detail for some reason or she wasn’t employing methods about which I have read. It was a bit strange. First, she mentioned the object was “gold.” Gold is an inert metal and does not corrode or rust. It must have been an alloy; I’m just confused why she wasn’t clear about it. I admit that I am an amateur conservator with limited knowledge on the subject, but from what I have seen, there are a couple different chemical solutions and electrochemical methods that can stabilize metal objects in that state. It doesn’t have to do with funding, either; the methods are relatively inexpensive and can be set up at home! She said she was simply removing the corrosion with a pick, other small tools, and water. I hope it was deionized water! … Time for me to stop rambling about this. Honestly, the visit was very nice. I’m thankful I had the opportunity to see how excavation and conservation is done in Uppåkra. 🙂 I still have a lot to learn! Visits like these are important for students.
Now, I must get back to studying the Vikings, Swedish history, chemistry, and archaeology! We miss and love all of you…
Yesterday while Erin was in class, I got to spend time alone in the Archaeology Library at the university. I spent hours looking through books that were decades or even more than a century old while the rain pattered on the glass and the image of the cobble stone streets outside became distorted. Here are a few of the interesting books I found.
Now this is interesting. While looking at a book about the mystery cults of ancient Greece, I found handwritten notes. I don’t know if they were corrections to the book or study notes from a former student, but I could tell they were old because…(Next photo)
This is a photo of the scroll containing the Egyptian creation story. My note book is there for size comparison but I was also taking notes. No I can’t read Egyptian hieratic texts; I was taking notes on the translation provided a few pages earlier. The story goes like this.
In the beginning, the God Neb-er-tcher, “The Lord to the Uttermost Limit”, “The Universal Lord,” created himself by speaking his own name and then said “I am alone.” There was no ground for him to stand on, only the formless waters of the deep; the primeval ocean, “nu.” He uttered a word of power and created a soul body for himself to work through like a puppet. This makes me wonder if there is any connection with the Gnostics’ belief that God of the Abrahamic faiths is just a demiurge. Meaning they believe he is the creator but that there is a God, Abraxis, above him. The beliefs seem similar. I’ll have to look in to it. Anyway from there, Neb-er-tcher thought or spoke creation into existence by the force of his will. It’s interesting that all of the religions of the middle east have creation stories with similar details. And more interesting still that many cultures around the world have creation myths that start with water. There’s the Egyptians, as we just learned, and the Mesopotamian cultures. Even the Japanese and Viking creation stories begin with water.
The first chapter of enchantment for all kinds of water. It shall be recited by the man in authority, who hath understanding of it, against the Kaiu folk. It is a veritable mystery of the House of Life. “Egg of the water which is poured out upon the earth. Existing One of the Eight Gods of Khemenu (Hermopolis). Chief in the heavens. Chief in the Tuat. Dweller of the Nest. President of Mer-Tchestches.
“I have come forth with thee from the water. I have risen up with thee from out of the divine Nest. I am the god Menu of Qebty (Coptos). I am the god Menu of the Land of Coptos.”
Rubric: This Chapter shall be recited over an egg [made] of dung which shall be placed in the hands of a man [standing] in the fore part of a boat. If anything shall appear on the water, cast the egg on the water.
Hm. No indication of what it’s supposed to do. Not very helpful is it? 🙂
This is how Erin found me when she came down after her class. Time flew by while I was in the Library on my own. While I was in there, a man came in and opened that roll-up cabinet behind me. Inside it was full of clay, stone, and metal artifacts from who knows how many cultures. I couldn’t believe I had been sitting next to all that history the entire time! After a minute or two he locked it back up and left with a few artifacts. When Erin came down I told her about the man and she said, “Oh? Was he bald with glasses and a black hoodie? Yeah, that was my teacher.” Erin got to touch and hold the artifacts during her class. After all that, I was jealous of her adventure for the day.
Here’s an incomplete list of places we’re really looking forward to seeing.
The Lund Cathedral
In Lund, where we’ll be living for six months, there is a huge Lutheran cathedral that was built around 1085. The location has been a sacred site since pre-Christian times. Every Saturday morning there is an organ concert and every day at 12pm and 3pm the magnificent astronomical clock chimes.
In the crypt, which hasn’t been changed since 1123, there are many wonderful pillars. One, the most famous, bears the image of a man with his arms wrapped around it. Locals say it is the image of Finn the Giant, the legendary builder of the Cathedral.
Lund University has many libraries which are open to students and to the public. Each library houses books related to their respective departments. For example, the library I expect Erin will be visiting the most is the Arkeologiska Biblioteket or Archaeological Library.
I plan to visit the Astronomy Library at least once, although I don’t expect to understand what is going on there. The thing I’m most excited to see there is the Observatory. I doubt it’s open to the public but at least I’ll be able to see it from the outside. It was built in 1867 and it’s beautiful.
Sweden Solar System
I don’t think many people have heard about this, but Sweden itself is actually a giant model of the Solar System.
It really opens your eyes to the huge scale of our tiny corner of the universe. For example, the sun is represented by the Ericsson Globe is Stockholm.
Pretty impressive right? It’s even more impressive when you realize that, at that scale, the earth is this big:
One of the things Erin and I are really excited to see are the many Stave Churches in Scandinavia. (The one pictured happens to be in Norway). They are medieval Christian churches that are known for their gorgeous wood working.
I’m a beer geek. If I’m going to be living in Sweden for 6 months, you bet I’m going to find the best place to buy craft beers. One of the places I’ve found online that I want to check out is The Bishop’s Arms
It’s actually a chain of pubs all throughout Scandinavia. I haven’t been able to find any tap lists online but judging from some of the photos on their facebook page, they have a good selection. They even have some California craft brews just in case I get homesick. Although they looked pretty pricey. $9 for a pint of Sierra Nevada Big Foot? Well I guess I should just be glad I can get it at all 5,500 miles away from home. The Bishop’s Arms looks good, but I’m still hoping to find that hidden gem that no one knows about and only the locals visit. Some place nice and quiet with a good selection, and a mellow atmosphere. That’s my type of place.
Lion of Lucerne
The Lion of Lucerne is a monument commemorating a group of Swiss mercenaries that were massacred while defending the French King during the French Revolution. The King had already fled and left a note saying that the Swiss Guard could retreat, but they stayed and fought, and died anyway. While I normally wouldn’t be on the side of a monarch, the monument is a testament to the bravery of the Swiss Guards who were once famous for their loyalty. They now only serve the Pope since an amendment to the Swiss constitution prohibited Swiss nationals from hiring themselves out to other countries as mercenaries.
Lungern and Sarnen
My (Mike’s) great-grandparents lived in Lungern and Sarnen. And even though the two towns are only a few miles apart, they never met until they moved to America. I don’t have any specific places that I want to visit in these towns yet, I just want to explore, eat, visit long lost cousins, and soak up the sights.
The Moesgård Museumin Aarhus Denmark is going to be one of the first places Erin and I will be visiting. It is full of wonderful Viking artifacts, but the reason we’re specifically flying in early and landing in Aarhus is for the annual Viking Moot. The Viking Moot, which happens every July, is a huge viking festival with reenactments and battles. I’ve always wanted to see the Moesgård Battle which features hundreds of combatants in period clothing and armor, duking it out with real metal weapons.
The National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen is another museum I suspect we’ll be visiting frequently since it is only an hour by train from where we’ll be living.
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is a gorgeous art museum in Copenhagen that I hope to visit as often as possible. Considering the fact that I’ll be spending much of my time in Europe practicing my 3D sculpting skills and building my demo reel, this museum seems like the perfect place to study the masters.
I’m a huge fan of Mikkeller Beer. It’s hard to get anything besides Beer Geek Breakfast in San Diego. So imagine my surprise when I learned that there is a Mikkeller BAR! Ever since then I’ve wanted to go but since it’s in Copenhagen, I never thought I’d ever get the chance…until now. This is going to be one of our first stops when we get to Copenhagen between our stay in Aarhus and our arrival in Lund. I really hope our hotel is near by. I’m going to go check google maps right now…