Thursday, March 07, 2013

And now for something not different at all!

Remember the blog post I did about sun stones and Viking navigation? Two years ago? No? You haven't memorized the blog yet??

Well, short version then. Or, y'know, hit the link.

In the North Atlantic, in the middle ages, there are references, in different texts, about "sun stones" being used, primarily by Vikings, to navigate. Up there, that far north, navigating by star in the summer is pretty tricky, since the sun doesn't always go down. According to various accounts, sun stones would allow a person to find the direction of the sun, even on cloudy days.

Scholars have speculated for many years about what exactly a sun stone was. Or claimed it was crap, because what could ancient man know that fantastically wonderful history PhDs don't? (I could fill several books.) But, the big question has always been, if it was legit, what in heck kind of stone was it?

Over the last decade or so, they have found big, clear hunks of calcite in ship wrecks, and someone figured out how to use them to, hey, tell which direction the sun is on a cloudy day. Most people said question answered, snooty idiots claimed there wasn't enough evidence.

They found another piece of calcite in another ship wreck, announced this week. Take that, sneering ethnocentrist ivory tower knuckleheads.


Emily said...

Yay!!! Julie's back! And I learned something new, once again.
But I need to complain about Goober withdrawal.

PinkSkatingGirl said...

I sense that you must be feeling well. Go get those ivory tower knuckleheads! Glad to read you again so soon.

oneofestelles said...

Are you aware of the new show Vikings on the History channel on Sunday night? it's historical dramatization and the lead character showed how a sun stone works in the first episode.

Eklectic1 said...

I'm new here, but your sentiments ring a bell with me. People need to examine and start to open themselves up to new ideas about earlier times and the capabilities of the people of those times. It especially annoys me when people seem to assume that anything advanced had to come from outer space, aliens landing, etc. Hey! It's just us, the human beings, doin' stuff! We love using and creating tools. All kindsa tools.

With all the challenges encountered in daily living, wouldn't it seem that you would have to have some very clever people around to make sure the whole tribe (or group) didn't perish? Why is it so hard for modern minds to believe people had some very advanced technologies in those days, before the invention of plastic and silicon chips? After all, they had to live through enough tough-lived generations to allow all of us to be alive, with our Ipods, today.