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Denmark’s oldest runic inscription found on knife blade

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Archaeologists have identified a runic inscription on a knife blade dated to almost 2000-years-ago.

The discovery was made by researchers from the Museum Odense, whom discovered the blade in an urn deposited in a small burial ground east of Odense.

The blade has been dated to around AD 150, predating the runes inscribed on the world famous Jelling Stones by hundreds of years.

Jakob Bonde, an archaeologists from Museum Odense, said: “It is one of the most amazing things an archaeologist can experience because it is an incredibly rare find.”

According to the researchers, the runes on the blade are from the oldest known runic alphabet and consists of five runes translated to mean hirila, which in Old Norse can mean “Little Sword”.

The archaeologists at Museum Odense are unable to definitively determine whether “hirila” refers to the name of the blade or its owner. However, it was clearly a cherished possession to be deposited as a funerary offering 2,000-years-ago.

Lisbeth Imer, from the National Museum, said: “It is incredibly rare that we find runes that are as old as on this blade, and it is a unique opportunity to learn more about Denmark’s earliest written language that was actually spoken in the Iron Age.”

During this period, literacy was not prevalent, and possessing the ability to read and write carried a distinct status and power. The early history of runes reveals that scribes, forming a small intellectual elite, were among the first individuals with these skills in Denmark, with the initial traces of such individuals discovered on the island of Funen.

Only one other example of runes from this period has been found in Denmark from around AD 150, with the discovery of a small bone comb in Vimosen (west of Odense) with the inscription harja.

Header Image Credit : Museum Odense

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Giant catapult shots discovered from siege of Kenilworth Castle

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Archaeologists have uncovered eight 13th century catapult shots from the 1266 siege of Kenilworth Castle.

Kenilworth Castle, located in the town of Kenilworth in Warwickshire, England, is both a semi-royal palace and historic fortress.

Founded in the 1120s, the castle was the scene of the removal of Edward II from the English throne and the Earl of Leicester’s reception of Elizabeth I in 1575.

During the First Civil War (1642 to 1646), Kenilworth formed a useful counterbalance to the Parliamentary stronghold of Warwick. Following the defeat of royalist forces, Parliament ordered the slighting of Kenilworth 1649, leaving the castle a romantic ruin and popular tourist attraction over the centuries.

Recent works to improve a pathway on castle grounds has led to the discovery of eight giant catapult shots. According to the archaeologists, the shots date from the Siege of Kenilworth (1266), a six-month siege of the castle during the Second Barons’ War.

The conflict was between a number of barons led by Simon de Montfort (who had custody of Kenilworth Castle) against the royalist forces of King Henry III, and later his son, the future King Edward I.

Image Credit : English Heritage

According to historical accounts, the siege was the largest to occur in Medieval England and involved numerous “turres ligneas” (wooden towers), trebuchets, and catapults which fired the giant shots.

The shots are of varying sizes, with the largest weighing 105 kg and the smallest just 1 kg. “’These would have caused some serious damage when fired from war machines. Records show that one of Henry III’s wooden siege towers, containing around 200 crossbowmen, was destroyed by just one well-aimed missile,” said Will Wyeth, English Heritage’s Properties Historian.

Header Image Credit : English Heritage

Sources : English Heritage

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Sappers clear over 4,700 dangerous objects from WWII

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A team of sappers under archaeological supervision have cleared over 4,700 dangerous objects from WWII on the Westerplatte Peninsula in Gdańsk, Poland.

Situated at the mouth of the Dead Vistula on the Baltic Sea coast, the peninsula was the site of the Battle of Westerplatte, one of the initial clashes between Polish and German forces during the invasion of Poland in WWII.

The Polish garrison held out for seven days, repelling thirteen German assaults. The battle became a symbol of Polish resistance, tying up substantial German forces at Westerplatte and preventing over 3,000 German soldiers from providing fire support in the nearby battles of Hel and Gdynia.

Image Credit : The Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk

The Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk led the clearing of the Westerplatte area, working in conjunction with soldiers from the 43rd Naval Sapper Battalion, the Engineer Battalion Sapper Company from the 2nd Sapper Regiment from Kazuń Nowy, and a team of archaeologists to supervise and document any archaeological material.

The clearance works have uncovered over 4,700 dangerous objects in the duration of the project along with 180 historical artefacts.

“To date, specialists have penetrated an area of ​​over 13.5 hectares, resulting in the discovery of over 4,700 dangerous objects, including 3 air bombs, one of which weighing 500 kg was located only 30 cm below the ground surface ” – said the head of the Archaeological Department of the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk, Filip Kuczma.

Some of these objects include almost 200 artillery shells, mortar and hand grenades, and small arms ammunition. Other WWII objects include elements from the soldier’s uniforms, lead seals, and parts of the railway infrastructure in Westerplatte.

The team also uncovered cannonballs, musket shells, coins, decorative stove tiles, and ceramics from the time of the War of the Polish succession (1733 to 1738) and the Napoleonic period (1799 to 1815).

Header Image Credit : The Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk

Sources : The Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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