White Field, Black Seeds: Nordic Literacy Practices in the

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During this tour you will get to know Stockholm and history of the city. Tina also took great care to meet our needs and was a wonderful 'mother hen.' Our two coach drivers were excellent and very capable of maneuvering seemingly impossible situations. We can provide an infinite number of design solutions in wood, glass, and steel. I rented three seasons from local library……. N), the astronomical equation that determines the sunrise direction gives solutions that range over a span of some seven degrees between the extreme values.� Consequently, since Woden-lithi probably did not have any clear conception of latitude, and would have to judge the situation in terms of his notions of the variations seen in Norway itself and neighboring Sweden, he would probably conclude that the Peterborough site seemed to be comparable with southernmost Scandinavia.� For example, he would have noticed that the midday sun stood higher in the sky at midsummer at Peterborough (when he was present to observe) than it did in his homeland, and he would also know that the noonday sun stands higher in the southern Sweden than it does near Oslo on any given day.� From such knowledge he perhaps estimated the likely sunrise direction for Midwinter Day, and cut his estimated axis into the rock at the site.� This he marked by another sun-god figure (which is labeled Solstice on Fig. 74 ).� Woden-lithi himself had a label carved into the rock beside this figure.� As can be seen from the illustration, it spells W-L� H-K.� Hoki was the Ancient Norse name of the midwinter festival: the word still survives today in the Scotch word Hogmanay, the traditional name of the Scottish midwinter holiday, now applied to the New Year holiday.� The letters W-L evidently represent the hvil of Old Norse < = Saharan ?>, meaning a time of rest, a holiday from work.� The importance of this Hoki holiday can be judged from the large scale in which the letters have been engraved at the site.� It was, no doubt, the time of the major national festival for all Norsemen peoples, and Woden-lithi undoubtedly intended that the old traditions be kept alive in his trading colony in the New World. ������ As we examine the site today, where these ancient instructions for regulating the calendar year and its festivals still survive, it is clear that whereas the critical date for starting the year and determining the correct time of planting seed, the equinox, is accurately set out, the same is not true of the Hoki axis.� it overestimates the southern declination of the sun by several degrees.� Woden-lithi's colonists would find that the midwinter sunrise did not, in fact, ever range quite so far south as the king had predicted, and that the sunrise point would begin to return toward the eastern horizon before ever reaching the southeastern azimuth to which Woden-lithi's Hoki axis now points.� Nonetheless the general tenor of the matter would be clear enough, and since most years the midwinter sunrise tends to occur in banks of low-lying cloud, the error was probably known to only a few of the more meticulous observers. ������ Those of us who have made the somewhat hazardous journey to observe the midwinter sunrise at sites in the Green Mountains [Vermont?] that are oriented for this purpose, have discovered the whole area under the deepest snowdrifts.� The same circumstance, no doubt, is true of Woden-lithi's site: the whole inscription area, with all the astronomical axes, would usually lie buried under deep snow, hence invisible and useless for making astronomical determinations of the festival dates. ������ An explanation for these conflicts of data is to be sought in our developing knowledge of climatic change.� In Woden-lithi's time the whole earth had a much milder climate than it did one thousand years later [see Climate ]� .� The site at Peterborough may well have been prairie rather than dense needle-forest, as it is a present.� Open views of the distant horizon could be had, the actual sunrise could be observed, and because of the milder climate, the snow, if present at all, could be cleared away from the site. ������ Also, as the climate deteriorated with the progress of time, the people here at the end of the Bronze Age, around 800 BC, began to find the snow an increasing impediment to their calendar regulation [see Climate ] .� They were forced to construct a new type of observatory, one that could retain its major astronomical axes in a visible and usable state despite the snow accumulations.� These new observatories are probably where the observers could be housed comfortably below ground, with a large living space that could be heated by fire, and with the axis of the entire chamber directed toward the midwinter-sunrise azimuth on the distant horizon, so that the calendar observation could be made simply by sighting from the inner end of the chamber, through the entrance doorway, which was built so as to face the midwinter sunrise point.� Once this practice had been adopted to overcome the ferocity of the winters, reaching its extremes of discomfort as the Iron Age began, the advantages of astronomically oriented chambers would be realized, and soon all observatories, whether based on summer, equinoctial, or winter sunrise directions, would eventually be constructed as comfortable chambers.� The old open-air sites, like that of Woden-lithi, would be abandoned forever, became buried under drifting soil and leaves and then turf (as happened at Peterborough), or would be eroded away by the elements till nothing readable remained, and thus disappear altogether. ������ To return to Woden-lithi's site, it is of interest to note that he adopted the ancient Semitic method of naming the south direction.� The Semitic peoples regarded east as the main map direction.� Facing east they would name the cardinal points on either side, so that north became "left-hand" and south became "right-hand."� On Woden-lithi's site w find that he has engraved in very large Tifinag letters the word H-GH-R at the southern extremity of the platform, where he as cut yet another sunburst figure.� The word intended is Old Norse hogr, meaning "right-hand."� The word is still sued today in Sweden where, if you are given street directions in Stockholm or Lund, you are sure to be told to take such and such a turn till h�gra, "to the right."� The Danes say hFjre, but we who speak English seem to have lost the word, and replaced it by another root.� The Old Norse < = Saharan ?>� words for south (sudhra) and north (nord) are nowhere to be found on Woden-lithi's site, so perhaps they had not yet come into use. ������ Now, since we find Woden-lithi using the Semitic (Mesopotamian) methods of naming directions by reference to the right and left when facing east, and since east is the only direction that he actually calls by its special name, east (osten in his dialect), it is not surprising that we should find Woden-lithi in possession of so much information on the Babylonian maps of the heavens, as designated in the form of the named constellations. ������ The first hint we encounter on the observatory site that the stars were already grouped into constellations in Woden-lithi's day is given by the northern end of his meridian (see Fig. 74 ).� Here we find an inscription in Tifinag that reads W-K-N� H-L� A-GH, and it is evidently to read as Old Norse Vagn hjul aka, "The wagon-wheel drives."� Our Norsemen ancestors knew the constellation near the present north celestial pole that we in America call the Big Dipper today, and which Europeans often call the Plow or Wain, as the Wagon.� it was supposed to be an ox wagon (that is, the ancient chariot, before horses had been tamed) and was said to be driven by the god Odin, the Woden of our colonists.� In Woden-lithi's day the north celestial pole was marked by the star Thuban, in the constellation Draco; nowadays it lies some 25 degrees away from the pole.� The Wagon was conceived as wheeling around and around the Pole Star.� The wheeling motion, of course, is caused by the rotation of the earth, but in Woden-lithi's day it was conceived as a rotation of the sky itself.� We have other hints.... about star groups known by name to the peoples of the north in Woden-lithi's time:� the four stars that form the square of Pegasus (Called Hestemerki, "horse-sign," by the Ancient Norsemen) seem to be the basis of the four dots that make the Tifinag letter h; and the w-shaped group of stars that form Cassiopeia, called Yorsla by the ancient Scandinavians, seem to be the origin of the w-shaped letter that gives the sound of Y. ������ To the southwest of Woden-lithi's observatory lies an area of limestone where the constellations of the Norsemen zodiac have been engraved.� These are shown in Fig. 75 and Fig. 76 .� We note that some of the Babylonian constellations bear replacement names in the Woden-lithi version.� The ram (Aries) is obviously a bear, and some broken letters beside the image of the animal seem to spell in Tifinag the word B-R-N, a root that appears in all Norse tongues in one form or another, as bjorn in Scandinavian, and bruin in English.� The next sign, the Bull (Taurus) of classical astronomy, is drawn as a moose; it is labeled in Tifinag L-GN, Old Norse elgen, the elk.� The Lion (Leo), though labeled L-N (Old Norse leon), seems to have been carved by an artist who had in mind a lynx.� The Crab (Cancer) looks like a lobster, and it is drawn as if it lies at the feet of the Twins (Gemini), here identified as M-T� TH-W-L-N-GN (Old Norse matig-tvillingr, "the mighty twins"). ������ The significance to Woden-lithi's people of the zodiac was that it provided a means of describing the annual path of the sun through the heavens.� The sun spends about one month in each of twelve constellations, which together form the so-called zodiac (a word meaning, "girdle of animals").� The vernal equinox, the start of the ancient Norsemen year, occurs at the time when the sun is located in the zodiacal sign for that equinox.� Two thousand years before Christ, when, as we have seen, the constellations received their names, the sun occupied the Bull (the elk in Woden-lithi's zodiac).� Around 1700 BC the slow wobble of the earth's axis (called the procession of the equinoxes) caused the vernal equinox position to move out of the Bull into the neighboring sign, Aries (in Woden-lithi's terminology, the bear).� In Woden-lithi's zodiac map he shows the situation in just that way.� The word W-GN (Old Norse vaegn, a balance) signifies the "balance of night and day," and is set opposite the space between Taurus and Aries.� In addition, as can be seen on the right-hand side of Fig. 75, the sun is shown entering the W-R-M zone of the zodiac at that point.� The word intended is simply our word warm, Old Norse, varm, meaning summer.� On the part of the zodiac corresponding to the sun's positions during the cold months the engraver has written the letters W-N-T, our word winter, Old Norse vintr.� All the indications are, then, that Woden-lithi used a chart of the sky that was appropriate in 1700 BC.� Since his writing system and the style of his inscriptions match so well the inscriptions that Scandinavian archaeologists declare to belong to the early Bronze Age, we may assume that Woden-lithi did in fact live around that time.� Hence, until evidence is found to the contrary, Fell believed that we have to date his visit to America as having occurred around 1700 BC. ������ There are other indications that this is a reasonable estimate.� Some archaeologists who have investigated the site have suggested a possible age of 3,500 years, based on the similarity of the art style to that of Europe 3,500 years ago.� At a neighboring site in Ontario where a thousand or so copper artifacts were excavated, radiocarbon dating indicated occupation a thousand years before the time proposed for Woden-lithi;, that is, around 3000 BC.� And some of the radiocarbon dates from the Lake Superior copper mines indicate that the mines were worked between about 3000 and 2000 BC.� All these data suggest that the copper-mining industry was already an old established activity in Canada long before Woden-lithi came to trade for copper. ������ Yet another form of calendar site has come under investigation in recent years: the circles of standing stones that occur in large numbers in Europe [e,g., Fig. 80 ] and also span the entire continent of North America from New England to California.� A variant form in America, especially in western Canada and the adjacent United States territories, such as Wyoming, is the stone circles with radial lines of boulder forming spokes to the outer rim, hence the name Medicine Wheel .� In some cases it is believed that the spokes are oriented toward points on the horizon that were formerly the positions of the rising or setting of conspicuous stars, which could be used to mark the seasons.� These star-rise and star-set positions can be calculated for particular epochs in the past, making use of the known equations that describe the motions of the earth's axis. ������ One of the best-known sites is Mystery Hill at North Salem, New Hampshire.....� Apart from the numerous stone chambers on the site there is also a stone circle.� The native forest has encroached upon the circle, like many others now becoming known,, but radial avenues have been cleared to permit visitors to sight the major standing stones from the central observation platform.� As the diagram ( Fig. 79 ) showed, there are five principal standing stones, four of which are still standing erect.� The fifth has fallen over.� One stone marks the meridian and lies due north of the central observation point.� The other four mark the sunrise and sunset points on the horizon for the midsummer and midwinter solstices.� On account of persistent distant cloudbanks on the horizon the actual moment of contact of the rim of the sun is often invisible for, as the moment when the ball of the sun is about to reach the marker stone, it vanishes into mist.� However, about once every eight or ten years a totally clear sunset or sunrise can be expected, and on such an occasion the event is truly impressive.� On the diagram ( Fig. 79 ), in which Osborn Stone assisted by reading the exact azimuths from his transit telescope, the observed angles are those shown; their deviation from the theoretical calculated values is only of the order of minutes of arc.� It is obvious that the site is an ancient astronomical observatory for the regulation of the calendar, whatever else it may have been.� To judge by the modern solstice ceremonies of Amerindian tribes, one may assume that much religious import was also attributed to the celestial phenomena by the ancient peoples who would assemble at the site to participate.� At Mystery Hill the major significance seems to have been the summer and winter solstices, and regulation of the calendar by the vernal and autumnal equinoxes does not seem to have been an important part of the purpose of the ritual. ������ There are also many sites, as yet little known or wholly unrecorded, where a dozen or so natural boulders form ring-shaped structures.� They vary from small circles, such as one that occurs at Gungywamp near Groton, Connecticut, to rings of more massive boulders, up to 15 meters in diameter that would have involved considerable labor in assembling the giant stones in this manner.� One photographed by Jerry McMillan in the Santa Cruz Mountains, California, is shown in the photograph in Fig. 79b & Fig 79c.
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