“Academics at Dundee University have helped recreate the face of a Viking woman whose skeleton was unearthed in York more than 30 years ago.
The facial reconstruction was achieved by laser-scanning her skull to create a 3D digital model.
Eyes were then digitally created, along with hair and a bonnet, to complete the look.
The project was part of a £150,000 investment at York’s Jorvik Viking Centre.
The Dundee academics were brought in by the centre’s owners, the York Archaeological Trust, as part of a project to bring York’s Vikings to life.
The female skeleton used was one of four excavated at Coppergate in York.
The reconstruction process was carried out using specialist computer equipment which allowed the user to “feel” what they were modelling on screen. The anatomy of the face was modelled in “virtual clay” from the deep muscles to the surface.
Dundee University researcher Janice Aitken took the digital reconstruction and added the finishing touches.
She explained: “I use the same sort of software as is used to create 3D animations in the film industry. I digitally created realistic eyes, hair and bonnet and added lighting to create a natural look.
“It is very satisfying knowing that the work we create at Dundee University will be seen by thousands of visitors to Jorvik and being part of a process which can so vividly help people to identify with their ancestors.”
The reconstruction now features in York Archaeological Trust’s new Investigate Coppergate exhibition, which examines the Vikings’ diet and investigates the diseases from which the Vikings suffered.
The exhibition also looks at the final battles of the Viking age in York that heralded the end of the Viking era and the coming of the Normans.
It features skeletal remains showing battle wounds and a full skeleton with evidence of severe trauma, alongside discussion about how they died.
Sarah Maltby, York Archaeological Trust director of attractions, said: “Archaeological research capabilities have moved on considerably since the original Coppergate excavations which took place over 30 years ago.
“The new exhibition areas mark a shift in how archaeological finds are analysed and the techniques available to researchers.”
Recreating the sound of Tutankhamun’s trumpets
By Christine FinnArchaeologist and presenter, Ghost Music
Tutankhamun’s trumpet was one of the rare artefacts stolen from the Cairo Museum during the recent uprising. The 3,000-year-old instrument is rarely played, but a 1939 BBC radio recording captured its haunting sound.
Among the “wonderful things” Howard Carter described as he peered by candlelight into the newly discovered tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922 were two trumpets, one silver and one bronze.
For more than 3,000 years they had lain, muted, in the Valley of the Kings, close to the mummy of the boy king. Found in different parts of Tutankhamun’s tomb, both were decorated with depictions of Egyptian gods identified with military campaigns.
Both became exhibits at the Cairo museum, but when it was broken into during the recent uprising, the bronze instrument vanished. Luckily, the silver one was away on exhibition tour.
The loss – and return – of such a celebrated artefact is convincing some of Tutankhamun’s celebrated curse ”
Egyptologists were already reeling from the loss of many of the country’s antiquities, and many found the theft of one of the oldest surviving musical instruments in the world particularly poignant.
Many such objects would have been looted and melted down in ancient times, says Oxford Egyptologist Margaret Maitland. “There was a real lack of precious metal so there was systemic retrieval,” said Ms Maitland.
The trumpet was recently found – reportedly with other Tutankhamun artefacts in a bag on the Cairo Metro.
Due to the fragile nature of the trumpets, their sound has only been recreated on a few occasions.
Early radio broadcasters saw the potential for an extraordinary recording, and in 1939 the Egyptian Antiquities Service was persuaded to take part in a BBC broadcast to the world from the Cairo Museum.
Rex Keating, a radio pioneer who helped convince the museum, was chosen to present it to an estimated 150 million listeners worldwide one Sunday afternoon.
To set the scene, he first interviewed Alfred Lucas, one of the last survivors of Carter’s team, and the man responsible for restoring Tutankhamun’s treasures.
With five minutes to go before the trumpet sounded, the watchmen’s lanterns failed, and the museum was plunged into darkness. A candlelit Cairo was put through to London.
Mr Keating then counted down to the broadcast: “One minute to go. From the corner of my eye I can see Lucas, striving to look unconcerned – but the quivering of the script in his hand betrays his agitation…”.
Mr Lucas’s concern was understandable given the story Mr Keating once told about an earlier attempt to play the silver trumpet in front of King Farouk of Egypt.
His story goes that the precious instrument shattered, possibly because of a modern mouthpiece being inserted to play it. According to Mr Keating’s colourful account, Mr Lucas was left as shattered as the trumpet and needed hospital treatment. The instrument, at least, was repaired.
And then the moment came. Listeners were enthralled.
The musician chosen for this legendary broadcast was bandsman James Tappern. His son, Peter, also a trumpeter, recalled how this was the story of his childhood, and one his father loved telling:
It is very tempting to want to hear what these instruments would have sounded like, but it’s just too dangerous”
“He was actually quite proud of it,” he says.
But the only recording his parents had of the original broadcast, a fragile 78 record, was broken in a house move. It was to be decades before he finally heard the original BBC recording.
“I was astonished with the quality of it,” he said. “How the original trumpeters played them is totally beyond me… [my father] used modern mouthpieces but the actual expertise he used is quite astonishing.”
The good news of the trumpet’s return is unlikely to herald a rush of archaeologists trying out ancient instruments in museums, says Ms Maitland:
“It is very tempting to want to hear what these instruments would have sounded like, but it’s just too dangerous, especially when these are some of the only examples.”
King Tut’s curse
A whole science has sprung up around the study of ancient music, where the original instruments are too fragile to play or no longer exist.
Archaeologists and archaeomusicologists are still able to get a sense of how they might have sounded.
Richard Dumbrill, considered the world’s leading authority on the Music of the Ancient Near East, is one. He reconstructed the Silver Lyre of Ur, discovered by Leonard Woolley in modern-day Iraq around the same time that Tutankhamun’s tomb was excavated.
Mr Woolley, a brilliant archaeologist, recognised a pile of twisted metal in a tomb as the remains of a 5,000-year-old lyre. He poured wax into the space where the instrument had lain to recover the shape.
Mr Dumbrill used the cast and Mr Woolley’s notes to recreate the lyre, including the animal gut strings. The sounds it makes conjures up a world even more ancient than Tutankhamun’s.
The Lost Sound Orchestra, as its name suggests, aims to bring other ancient worlds to life. Using laptops, experts try to make digital sound from virtual instruments – such as those shown on ancient Greek vases. They started with the epigonion (an ancient stringed instrument) from the 2nd Century BC.
But this is not just an academic exercise – the project creates the possibility of an orchestra of lost sounds gathered from all over the world via digital technology.
As Tutankhamun’s trumpet echoes once more, the loss – and return – of such a celebrated artefact is convincing some of Tutankhamun’s celebrated curse. Not least the trumpet’s apparent ability to summon up war.
Bandsman Tappern had, after all, played the trumpet shortly before World War II broke out. Cairo Museum’s Tutankhamun curator claims the trumpet retains “magical powers” and was blown before the first Gulf War, and by a member of staff the week before the Egyptian uprising.
TO ACTUALLY HEAR THE TRUMPETS; GO TO THE BBC PAGE:
Long live the God King Tut Ankh Amun, king of the south and the north.
When i search for polytheism on Tumblr i get a whole lot of not so educated Abrahamic “monotheistic” bullshit, rewriting history and explaining what is wrong with it.
1. To refer to polythistic religions as primitive is not only bigotry but outright stupid.
These are customs and cultures that in many cases where around in one form or another for thousands of years before two guys invented Christianity in Rome (and no, neither was named Jesus and only one of them even met him).
2.Abrahamic “monotheists” (i only consider certain forms of Islam as truly monotheistic. Christianity is a text book case of soft polytheism….just like most forms of Hinduism) like to spell God with a capital “G” when its a monotheistic God, and with a “g” when its a polytheistic God. That says a lot.
3.Romantic shrines to pagan Gods, supposedly Germanic, built in Victorian times or during the nazi romanticism are NOT part of any culture, Germanic or otherwise.
Well. Now there is a post by a polytheist, about polytheism tagged “Polytheism”
I cant help it, sometimes when i see Amercan Heathens i feel like i´m watching some bad Viking LARP.
That goes for all the talk of “Folk” and all the “hails” too.
I dont know any Swedish people that greet eachother with “Hail” or “Hielsa” (witch just sounds like misunderstood Swedish).
As a general rule you can hardly distinguish between Swedish Christians,Heathens and the secular majority (not to mention those that are kind of a mix of these…..witch in a sense is our entire culture).
I should make clear that:
1: I do NOT intend to insult anyone here, Heathen,Christian or other.
2: Neither will i deliberatly call all “Folkish” Heathens racists or all “Universalist” Heathens airhead neo pagans (Besides, we actually ARE neo pagans per defenition, EVEN if we are reconstructionists or grew up in a culture saturated with the folklore and extentions of cult and myth as i am).
3: And i do not think the fact that American Heathenry differs from Swedish (generalizing my ass off here) is in anyway “bad” or “wrong”. On the contrary i think its good. The custom SHOULD be adaptable to individuals, circumstances, places and communities. It always was. Even within what is today the nation of Sweden, Heathen cult and customs differed depending on when and where.
You organize in kindreds, we dont,Some of you use terms like “Thorsman”, i have never heard a Swede, even one focusing on Thor calling himself that or having an “patron God” attitude towards it (individuals and even whole areas in Scandinavia sometimes focus on certain mights as etymology shows, but it seems very de emphasized in actual cult, even today in most cases).
Non of this is what i´m talking about.
Its simply that when i watch an Asatru Kindred video where “the dangers of a monoculture” is discussed where one guy leads the meeting while another guy sits on a chair, doing his best “viking chieftain” with a girl with a logo T – shirt on each side of him, a model longship on a shelf above him and two drinking horns on a table……
…..it feels weird and a bit cult (in the modern use of the word, incorrect as it is) ,LARP ,survivalist…..”i wish i was part of something cool and had a special heritage”….alien, silly.
It also gives me a feeling of self indoctrination by pastor, evangelical style.
I have nothing against boat models or drinking horns and definetely not girls…..especially several of them and in combination with drinking horns (horny?), i guess i just wish fate (not faith), and a trust that our culture(s) are biological enteties that takes care of themself quite well with much less attitude, roleplay, pretend uniqueness and heritage would more of a base.
Mock history,science or hertage is a much bigger threat to culture than another culture ever was.
Dont believe me? Ask a viking. They loved to mix their culture with others.
Loki is indeed not your “average” trickster. In many ways, Odin himself is more like the traditional trickster than Loki is. Odin changes shape, deceives, lies, and tricks people far more often than Loki. Loki is more the sneaky, clever god of randomness than a true trickster. Odin teaches with lessons and challenges. Loki teaches with a swift kick to the groin.