ZThemes
art-of-swords:

Studies on the Ulfberht Swords
Since I got a couple of messages asking about these swords, with help from James G. Elmslie (thank you!), have some academic reading about them. Before you start glorifying, please read…
Studies Of Viking Age Swords: Metallography and Archaeology
by Eva Elisabeth Astrup & Irmelin Martens
The paper is a comment on Alan Williams’ investigation “A Metallurgical Study of some Viking Swords” published in Gladius XXIX. Williams’ paper comprises metallurgical inventigations of 44 Viking Age swords, all with the ‘ULFBERHT’ inscriptions. Such investigations, made by a well qualified metallurgist are essential to archaeology.
Unfortunately, this one has some serious limitations. In order to give a good descriptions of the quality of the swords-blade, samples showing at least the section through both the edge and the central part of the blade are necessary.
This is mostly not the case in Williams’ investigations, and he gives insufficient information about his samples. Other weak points are his group division and his interpretation of the production area for the blades containing high-carbon steel.
[ CONTINUE READING… ]
The Ulfberht sword blades reevaluated 
by Anne Stalsberg 
Readers of archaeological literature about Viking Age weapons are familiar with the male name ‘Vlfberht’ which is welded onto Viking Age sword blades. The name is in the archaeological litetrature also written ‘Ulfberh’; V and U were used interchanganly for the semi-vowel [ w ], but the sword blade signature is with one wingle expection “written” <V>. 
‘Ulfberh’ is regarded as a Frankish blacksmith and the name itself is Frankish, from the lower Rhine Area, and it is generally supposed that his sword blades were traded from the Frankish Realm to pagan Europe. During preparations for the publication of the Norwegian-Russian Sword Project it struck me that these “axioms” need a renewed discussion.
[ CONTINUE READING… ]

Source: Copyright © Gladius | Jenny Rita Blog

art-of-swords:

Studies on the Ulfberht Swords

Since I got a couple of messages asking about these swords, with help from James G. Elmslie (thank you!), have some academic reading about them. Before you start glorifying, please read…

Studies Of Viking Age Swords: Metallography and Archaeology

  • by Eva Elisabeth Astrup & Irmelin Martens

The paper is a comment on Alan Williams’ investigation “A Metallurgical Study of some Viking Swords” published in Gladius XXIX. Williams’ paper comprises metallurgical inventigations of 44 Viking Age swords, all with the ‘ULFBERHT’ inscriptions. Such investigations, made by a well qualified metallurgist are essential to archaeology.

Unfortunately, this one has some serious limitations. In order to give a good descriptions of the quality of the swords-blade, samples showing at least the section through both the edge and the central part of the blade are necessary.

This is mostly not the case in Williams’ investigations, and he gives insufficient information about his samples. Other weak points are his group division and his interpretation of the production area for the blades containing high-carbon steel.

[ CONTINUE READING… ]

The Ulfberht sword blades reevaluated 

  • by Anne Stalsberg 

Readers of archaeological literature about Viking Age weapons are familiar with the male name ‘Vlfberht’ which is welded onto Viking Age sword blades. The name is in the archaeological litetrature also written ‘Ulfberh’; V and U were used interchanganly for the semi-vowel [ w ], but the sword blade signature is with one wingle expection “written” <V>. 

Ulfberh’ is regarded as a Frankish blacksmith and the name itself is Frankish, from the lower Rhine Area, and it is generally supposed that his sword blades were traded from the Frankish Realm to pagan Europe. During preparations for the publication of the Norwegian-Russian Sword Project it struck me that these “axioms” need a renewed discussion.

[ CONTINUE READING… ]

Source: Copyright © Gladius | Jenny Rita Blog

archaicwonder:

Ptolemaic Floor Mosaic of a Dog from Alexandria, Egypt, 2nd Century BC
The central medallion or emblem carries the picture of a dog, the first time ever such a motif is found on a floor mosaic in Alexandria. The dog is resting on his hind legs close to an upturned Greek vessel.
The Greeks used mosaics to decorate their floors in public places and private dwellings by using tesserae in many ways. Tesserae are the small pieces of stone, limestone, marble, glass or clay, which are cut in a small cubic form, hence their name. The Greek floor coverings became a complete tableau depicting plants, animals, geometrical designs and Greek/ Hellenistic motifs.
The Romans adopted also this art to cover their floors in homes and temples, as well as in their tombs. The Romans applied the same techniques of the Greeks. They also introduced new innovations in the manufacturing process.
The most ancient piece of mosaic was discovered in Ancient Iraq. It is from the Uruk civilization which dates back to 4000 years BC. Mosaic art disappeared after that time and reappeared again at the beginning of the 5th century BC.

archaicwonder:

Ptolemaic Floor Mosaic of a Dog from Alexandria, Egypt, 2nd Century BC

The central medallion or emblem carries the picture of a dog, the first time ever such a motif is found on a floor mosaic in Alexandria. The dog is resting on his hind legs close to an upturned Greek vessel.

The Greeks used mosaics to decorate their floors in public places and private dwellings by using tesserae in many ways. Tesserae are the small pieces of stone, limestone, marble, glass or clay, which are cut in a small cubic form, hence their name. The Greek floor coverings became a complete tableau depicting plants, animals, geometrical designs and Greek/ Hellenistic motifs.

The Romans adopted also this art to cover their floors in homes and temples, as well as in their tombs. The Romans applied the same techniques of the Greeks. They also introduced new innovations in the manufacturing process.

The most ancient piece of mosaic was discovered in Ancient Iraq. It is from the Uruk civilization which dates back to 4000 years BC. Mosaic art disappeared after that time and reappeared again at the beginning of the 5th century BC.

heythereuniverse:

Lago volcánico - Kelimutu (Flores, Indonesia) | Banco de Imágenes Geológicas

The volcano contains three striking summit crater lakes of varying colors. Tiwu Ata Bupu (Lake of Old People) is usually blue and is the westernmost of the three lakes. The other two lakes, Tiwu Ko’o Fai Nuwa Muri (Lake of Young Men and Maidens) and Tiwu Ata Polo (Bewitched or Enchanted Lake) are separated by a shared crater wall and are typically green or red respectively. The lake colors vary on a periodic basis. Subaqueous fumaroles are the probable cause of active upwelling that occurs at the two eastern lakes.

The lakes have been a source of minor phreatic eruptions in historical time. The summit of the compound 1639-m-high Kelimutu volcano is elongated two km in a WNW-ESE direction; the older cones of Kelido and Kelibara are located respectively three km to the north and two km to the south. The scenic lakes are a popular tourist destination.

Kelimutu is also of interest to geologists because the three lakes have different colors yet are at the crest of the same volcano.According to the local officer at Kelimutu National Park, the colour changes as a result of chemical reactions resulting from the minerals contained in the lake perhaps triggered by volcano gas activity.Kawah Putih lake in West Java, south of Bandung, is another crater lake in Indonesia with some similarities to the lakes at Kelimutu.

[Read more]

mindblowingscience:

Ancient flying reptile named after ‘Avatar’ creature

Some of the most visually stunning sequences from director James Cameron’s blockbuster movie “Avatar” involved graceful flying creatures that were ridden by blue human-like beings facing ecological destruction on a moon called Pandora.

It turns out that an animal very similar to those “Avatar” creatures, called Ikran, actually did exist here on Earth long ago.

Scientists on Thursday announced the discovery of fossils in China of a new species of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled the creatures from the 2009 film that they named it after them.

It is called Ikrandraci avatar, meaning “Ikran dragon” from “Avatar.” And this pterosaur is noteworthy for more than just its resemblance to a movie creature.

The scientists said it appears that Ikrandraci avatar had a throat pouch similar to that of a pelican. It probably fed on small fish from freshwater lakes, flying low over the water and catching prey by skimming its lower jaw into the water, they said. It may have stored the fish in the pouch, they added.

This Cretaceous Period pterosaur boasted an unusual blade-like crest on its lower jaw like the one on the movie creatures.

"The head structure is similar in this pterosaur to the Ikran in ‘Avatar,’" said one of the researchers, paleontologist Xiaolin Wang of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.

"Of course, nobody and nothing can ride this pterosaur," Wang added.

Another of the researchers, paleontologist Alexander Kellner of Brazil’s National Museum at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, joked: “Please, (there were) no blue hominids during the Cretaceous.”

Ikrandraci avatar, whose fossils were unearthed in China’s Liaoning province, boasted a wingspan of about 8 feet (2.5 meters), Kellner said.

It did not have a crest on the top of its elongated head as many pterosaurs did. Behind the lower jaw crest was a hook-like structure that appears to have been the anchor point for the throat pouch, Kellner said. It had relatively small teeth good for snaring small fish.

It lived in a warm region teeming with life, with feathered dinosaurs, birds, mammals, frogs, turtles and other animals along with a variety of trees and other plants, Wang said.

The researchers studied fossils of two specimens of Ikrandraci avatar.

Pterosaurs were Earth’s first flying vertebrates, with birds and bats making their appearances later. They thrived from about 220 million years ago to 65 million years ago, when they were wiped out by the asteroid that also doomed the dinosaurs.

The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

(Reporting by Will Dunham; Editing by Tom Brown)

mindblowingscience:

'Toothy' Dolphin Fossil Discovered in Peru Desert

Fossils of an ancient “toothy” dolphin were discovered in a Peru desert, helping to shed light on today’s unusual river dolphin species, according to new research.
The Pisco Basin, a desert that stretches along the coast of southern Peru, may have been covered in miles of water some 16 million years ago, home to a now-extinct family of dolphins known as squalodelphinids.
The new findings, published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, include the fossils of three dolphins, two of which have well-preserved skulls. Skeletal analysis suggests that the fossils are not only of a new species, but are also related to today’s endangered South Asian river dolphins living in the Indus and Ganges rivers.
"The quality of the fossils places these specimens as some of the best-preserved members of this rare family," lead author Olivier Lambert, of the Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique, said in a statement.
River dolphins are considered unusual mammals in that they choose to reside in muddy freshwater rivers and estuaries even though their ancestors swam in the salty oceans. As a result of swimming off the beaten path, some of these dolphins have long, toothy beaks, are functionally blind, and have very small dorsal fins. These dolphins are not to be confused with the similar-looking, though distantly related river dolphins of the Amazon and Yangtze rivers.
Due to their bizarre behavior, scientists have had a tough time placing river dolphins in the family tree.
"It’s not normal for a whale or a dolphin to live in freshwater these days," Jonathan Geisler, an associate professor of anatomy at the New York Institute of Technology, who was not involved in the study, told Live Science. “What seems to have happened is they’ve independently adapted to living in freshwater conditions.”
The new species, named Huaridelphis raimondii and from the Miocene epoch, help to solve this puzzle, at least for the South Asian river dolphin.
"It’s helping flesh out this pretty poorly known extinct family that helps tie this oddball living species into the evolutionary tree," Geisler said.

mindblowingscience:

'Toothy' Dolphin Fossil Discovered in Peru Desert

Fossils of an ancient “toothy” dolphin were discovered in a Peru desert, helping to shed light on today’s unusual river dolphin species, according to new research.

The Pisco Basin, a desert that stretches along the coast of southern Peru, may have been covered in miles of water some 16 million years ago, home to a now-extinct family of dolphins known as squalodelphinids.

The new findings, published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, include the fossils of three dolphins, two of which have well-preserved skulls. Skeletal analysis suggests that the fossils are not only of a new species, but are also related to today’s endangered South Asian river dolphins living in the Indus and Ganges rivers.

"The quality of the fossils places these specimens as some of the best-preserved members of this rare family," lead author Olivier Lambert, of the Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique, said in a statement.

River dolphins are considered unusual mammals in that they choose to reside in muddy freshwater rivers and estuaries even though their ancestors swam in the salty oceans. As a result of swimming off the beaten path, some of these dolphins have long, toothy beaks, are functionally blind, and have very small dorsal fins. These dolphins are not to be confused with the similar-looking, though distantly related river dolphins of the Amazon and Yangtze rivers.

Due to their bizarre behavior, scientists have had a tough time placing river dolphins in the family tree.

"It’s not normal for a whale or a dolphin to live in freshwater these days," Jonathan Geisler, an associate professor of anatomy at the New York Institute of Technology, who was not involved in the study, told Live Science. “What seems to have happened is they’ve independently adapted to living in freshwater conditions.”

The new species, named Huaridelphis raimondii and from the Miocene epoch, help to solve this puzzle, at least for the South Asian river dolphin.

"It’s helping flesh out this pretty poorly known extinct family that helps tie this oddball living species into the evolutionary tree," Geisler said.

ancientart:

An Egyptian snake coffin.
Made of bronze, dates to 664-30 B.C.E..

Egyptian religion frequently adopted a mulitplicity of approaches to explain or represent different aspects of a single divine concept. The sun god, for instance, had a morning aspect called Khepri, commonly depicted as a scarab beetle pushing the sun disk across the heavens much as a beetle rolls a ball of dung across the desert floor. The noontime sun was Re or Re-Horakhty, often shown as a falcon or falcon-headed man with a sun disk on his head. Atum, who personified the sun that set over the western horizon to travel through the underworld, could be represented in many guises, including those of a human-headed cobra, a ram-headed man, or a weary old man.

Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum, via their online collections: 36.624.

ancientart:

An Egyptian snake coffin.

Made of bronze, dates to 664-30 B.C.E..

Egyptian religion frequently adopted a mulitplicity of approaches to explain or represent different aspects of a single divine concept. The sun god, for instance, had a morning aspect called Khepri, commonly depicted as a scarab beetle pushing the sun disk across the heavens much as a beetle rolls a ball of dung across the desert floor. The noontime sun was Re or Re-Horakhty, often shown as a falcon or falcon-headed man with a sun disk on his head. Atum, who personified the sun that set over the western horizon to travel through the underworld, could be represented in many guises, including those of a human-headed cobra, a ram-headed man, or a weary old man.

Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum, via their online collections36.624.

vintagegal:

Shell Grotto at Margate 

The Shell Grotto is an ornate subterranean passageway in MargateKent. Almost all the surface area of the walls and roof is covered in mosaics created entirely of seashells, totalling about 2,000 square feet (190 m2) of mosaic, or 4.6 million shells.

The Grotto’s discovery in 1835 came as a complete surprise to the people of Margate; it had never been marked on any map and there had been no tales of its construction told around the town. But James Newlove could clearly see the commercial potential of his find and he immediately set about preparations to open the Grotto up to the public.

The first paying customers descended the chalk stairway in 1837 and debate has raged about the Grotto’s origins ever since: for every expert who believes it to be an ancient temple, there’s someone else convinced it was the meeting place for a secret sect; for every ardent pagan, there’s a Regency folly-monger ready to spoil their fun. At first glance the Grotto’s design only adds to the confusion, with humble cockles, whelks, mussels and oysters creating a swirling profusion of patterns and symbols. There are trees of life, phalluses, gods, goddesses and something that looks very like an altar.


The most recent findings point to the Grotto functioning as a sun temple, the sun entering the Dome (which extends up to ground level, with a small circular opening) just before the Spring Equinox, forming a dramatic alignment at midday on the Summer Solstice and departing just after the Autumn Equinox, thus indicating the fertile season. 

However, there’s only one fact about the Grotto that is indisputable: that it is a unique work of art that should be valued and preserved, whatever its age or origins.

(sources: 1, 2)

earthstory:

Severe flooding in IndiaThis stunning photograph comes from the city of Jammu in the Kashmir province. It’s remarkable for both what it shows and what it doesn’t show; the only thing you can see is the top of a temple barely sticking above the floodwaters.The river Tawi drives the flooding in this location; other rivers in the area have similarly burst out of their banks following heavy rains. Local officials have described these floods as the worst to hit this area in more than half a century. Despite that statement, these floods this year are just one in a series of floods that have hit the Indian subcontinent for at least 4 of the last 5 years; these massive, destructive floods are becoming a regular occurrence in this part of the world.So far, over 400 people have been reported killed, with that number rising substantially as the first rescuers are able to reach the impacted areas. By some reports, over 2000 villages have been affected by this flooding.-JBBImage credit: Mukesh Gupta / Reutershttp://www.newscientist.com/article/dn26171-muddy-flood-engulfs-all-but-top-of-kashmiri-temple.html#.VBBWNEvHIonPress report:http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/kashmir-floods-death-toll-climbs-420-thousands-trapped-roofs-n199171Previous years floods:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Pakistan_floodshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_Pakistan_floodshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_Pakistan–Afghanistan_floods

earthstory:

Severe flooding in India

This stunning photograph comes from the city of Jammu in the Kashmir province. It’s remarkable for both what it shows and what it doesn’t show; the only thing you can see is the top of a temple barely sticking above the floodwaters.

The river Tawi drives the flooding in this location; other rivers in the area have similarly burst out of their banks following heavy rains. Local officials have described these floods as the worst to hit this area in more than half a century. Despite that statement, these floods this year are just one in a series of floods that have hit the Indian subcontinent for at least 4 of the last 5 years; these massive, destructive floods are becoming a regular occurrence in this part of the world.

So far, over 400 people have been reported killed, with that number rising substantially as the first rescuers are able to reach the impacted areas. By some reports, over 2000 villages have been affected by this flooding.

-JBB

Image credit: Mukesh Gupta / Reuters
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn26171-muddy-flood-engulfs-all-but-top-of-kashmiri-temple.html#.VBBWNEvHIon

Press report:
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/kashmir-floods-death-toll-climbs-420-thousands-trapped-roofs-n199171

Previous years floods:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Pakistan_floods
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_Pakistan_floods
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_Pakistan–Afghanistan_floods

mineralia:

Azurite and Malachite from China
by Tony Peterson

mineralia:

Azurite and Malachite from China

by Tony Peterson

astronomy-to-zoology:

Zacotus matthewsii
…a beautiful species of Broscine ground beetle (Carabidae, Broscinae) which occurs from extreme southwest coastal Alaska to southwest Montana and southern California. Where it solely inhabits coniferous forests. 
Classification
Animalia-Arthropoda-Insecta-Coleoptera-Adephaga-Carabidae-Broscinae-Zacotus-Z. matthewsii
Image: ©Andrew McKorney

astronomy-to-zoology:

Zacotus matthewsii

…a beautiful species of Broscine ground beetle (Carabidae, Broscinae) which occurs from extreme southwest coastal Alaska to southwest Montana and southern California. Where it solely inhabits coniferous forests. 

Classification

Animalia-Arthropoda-Insecta-Coleoptera-Adephaga-Carabidae-Broscinae-Zacotus-Z. matthewsii

Image: ©Andrew McKorney