The Egtved Girl, found in Denmark in 1921, was a true Bronze Age traveler of high status, with a sense of fashion too

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Photo: Sven Rosborn – CC BY-SA 3.0

An intriguing find took place in 1921 near the Danish village of Egtved. Concealed inside a large burial mound was an oak coffin containing the remains of a young female who, experts calculate, was laid to rest there on a summer day around 1370 B.C.

While her bones have gone, other bodily parts such as her hair, nails, and teeth survived, thanks to a favorable preservation environment created in the coffin. The girl’s outfit also remains in remarkably good condition, and it has grabbed as much attention as her remains.

In the coffin, next to the Egtved Girl, they also found a small bundle of clothing with the cremated bones of a younger child, not older than six years old. Research suggests the two individuals may not have been related.

Despite being buried in Denmark, analysis of the girl has revealed that she was from another region in Europe–in fact, she may have been a truly international traveler from the Bronze Age. Studying the evidence from her grave-site supports the theory that Bronze age communities in Denmark and Southern Germany extensively interacted with one another.

The Egtved Girl is considered among the most famous figures of Bronze Age Europe. Analysis of her remains has shown she was just a teenager at the time of her death, between 16 and 18 years old. Her body was dressed in a timelessly modern-looking tunic-like blouse and short skirt when laid to rest. Reproduction costumes and artwork of her wool blouse and skirt of woolen cords are popular in Denmark and Germany.

She was also wearing a bronze belt-plate decorated with spirals and other symbols associated with a sun cult present in Scandinavia in that era. Perhaps the girl was a priestess, a woman of high rank.

 Experts have been able to generate a reconstruction of the last years of the girl’s life after analyzing traces of strontium found in her teeth, hair, and thumbnails. According to senior researcher Karin Margarita Frei from the National Museum of Denmark, this chemical element can be used as a kind of  “geological GPS.”

Strontium is naturally present in rocks, but in varying amounts and molecular compositions at different broad geographic regions. It is absorbed by all animals and plants through ingesting water and food, so by examining the ratio of different isotopes of strontium in Egtved Girl’s teeth and hair, and comparing this to analysis of the type of wool fiber in her blouse, the research team have pinpointed her origin to a region of southwest Germany. According to the research paper published in the journal Scientific Reports in 2015, the ancient teenager spent her early life in Schwarzwald (the Black Forest), where she was likely born as well.

Based on her traveling log, the Egtved Girl appears to have had a surprisingly modern story. In the two years preceding her death, it appears that Egtved Girl left her homeland and traveled hundreds of miles to Denmark, possibly for an arranged marriage in order to help strengthen alliances between the chief of her own family or group and the Danish chief. However, she did make one further trip back home for up to six months, returning north just a few months before she died.

According to another theory, the girl might have held some political power, which was possible in Scandinavia back then, particularly if she was from an important family and her parents had no male heir.

Both the Danish and German regions are known to have been power centers throughout the Bronze Age, the former trading Baltic amber, which was highly valued across the continent, for bronze. The possibility is not excluded that she might have traveled to strike trade deals utterly on her own.

Such postulations have greatly excited archaeologists, historians, and other experts, as the girl and her grave goods provide new insight into how complex relations unfolded among peoples of the Bronze Age.

The Egtved case supports previously discovered archaeological evidence that people traveled great distances and engaged in complex relations, although this was still the Bronze Age.

The remains of the girl and her burial place, as well as reconstructed model of her outfit, can be seen at the National Museum of Denmark. There is also a reconstructed set of clothes exhibited in the Egtved Girl Museum near the excavation site where visitors can learn in greater details how the excavation process itself progressed almost a century ago.

This significant find happened in 1921, but it was new technologies that allowed scientists to revisit and reexamine the materials retrieved from archaeological site. In another recent discovery, earlier in 2018, the famed Gebelein mummies that have been displayed at the British Museum for years were inspected anew. Scientists found out the mummies actually sported some of the world’s oldest known tattoos, and have been prompted to rewrite aspects of the early history of tattooing.

 Stefan Andrews

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Germans find ‘Harald Bluetooth’ medieval treasure

Part of Schaprode treasure trove, 13 Apr 18Image copyrightAFP
Image captionHarald Bluetooth might have buried the treasure while fleeing from enemies

Treasure linked to the reign of 10th-century Danish King Harald Bluetooth has been dug up in northern Germany.

An amateur archaeologist and a 13-year-old boy found a silver coin on the Baltic island of Rügen in January when scanning a field with metal detectors.

Experts kept the find secret until a team dug up 400sq metres (4,300sq ft) of land at the weekend.

They found braided necklaces, a Thor’s hammer, brooches, rings and about 600 coins, probably buried in the 980s.

“This trove is the biggest single discovery of Bluetooth coins in the southern Baltic sea region and is therefore of great significance,” said lead archaeologist Michael Schirren.

Schaprode coins, 13 Apr 18Image copyrightAFP
Image captionChristian crosses feature on many of the coins, but there is quite a variety

Harald Bluetooth was born a Viking and is credited with unifying Denmark and introducing Christianity there during his reign.

In the 980s he fled to Pomerania, now in north Germany, after losing a big sea battle against forces loyal to his son Sweyn Forkbeard. Bluetooth died in 987.

The king was immortalised by Nordic technology firms when they embedded their wireless “Bluetooth” technology in digital gadgets.

Amateur archaeologist Rene Schoen (L) and 13-year-old student Luca Malaschnichenko look for a treasure with a metal detector in Schaprode, northern Germany on April 13, 2018Image copyrightAFP
Image captionRene Schoen (L) and 13-year-old student Luca Malaschnichenko were the first to find the treasure

The site of the treasure trove, Schaprode, is a few kilometres from Hiddensee, where a 16-piece gold hoard dating from Bluetooth’s reign was found in the 19th Century.

The Schaprode discoverers – 13-year-old Luca Malaschnitschenko and amateur archaeologist René Schön – are in a group of enthusiasts looking after historical sites in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania state in north-eastern Germany.

Warrior king

Bluetooth led his warriors in campaigns against Frankish nobles who ruled parts of France and Germany in the Carolingian Age.

After converting to Christianity in 950, he set up bishoprics in Denmark, consolidated his kingdom with forts and seized some territory in Norway and north Germany.

The earliest coin in the Schaprode hoard is reckoned to be a Damascus dirham dating from 714, and the latest ones are Frankish Otto-Adelheid pennies minted in 983.

More than 100 of the 600 coins are believed to have been minted in Bluetooth’s kingdom. They have Christian crosses on them and were given to Danish nobles.

By BBC News 16th April 2018

 

Tintin, the subject of 200 million comics sold, was likely based on a real 15-year-old …

 

In the overcrowded world of fictional characters, there are few faces as adorable as Tintin’s. Unlike Batman, Superman, or Wonder Woman, Tintin, the young investigative reporter, is not a household name in America, but he is definitely one of the most beloved figures in Europe.

With no specific magic powers, he is the antithesis of a superhero, but that didn’t prevent him from being widely admired by both children and adults. Charles de Gaulle once declared that Tintin is his only international rival, saying that “nobody notices, because of my height. We are both little fellows who won’t be got at by big fellows.”

Tintin and his fox terrier, Snowy, appeared for the first time on January 10, 1929, in the children’s supplement of the Belgian newspaper Le Vingtième Siecle. What started as the subject of a supplement went on to become a symbol of the 20th century, appearing in an inde­pen­dent comic book, on television, and even on the big screen in Steven Spiel­berg’s animated movie The Adven­tures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn.

Tintin is one of the most beloved figures in the comic book world.Author: Joi/Flickr-CC By 2.0

Georges Prosper Remi, known by the pen name Hergé, is the man behind the creation of Tintin. With almost no formal training, Hergé began drawing the legendary comic-book character in 1929, but little did he know that by doing so he would give birth to an entire European comics publishing industry.

Tintin and his fox terrier Snowy appeared for the first time in 1929. Author: karrikas/Flickr CC By 2.0

Since 1929, Tintin comics have sold more than 200 million copies, and over the years, this beloved character served as an inspiration for many people and influenced the ways comic book readers perceive the world around them. But what actually inspired Hergé to create the iconic character?

Debate still exists on what exactly inspired Hergé to come up with the snub-nosed teenage reporter, but most people agree that it was a real life person known by the name Palle Huld. It is one of the most original of origin stories in the comic book world.

Less than a year before Tintin made his first appearance, in the children’s supplement of  Le Vingtième Siecle, a 15-year-old Danish Boy Scout named Palle Huld won a competition organized by a Danish newspaper to mark the centennial of Jules Verne.

 

Palle Huld, during his trip around the world in 1928, almost certainly influenced Hergé to create Tintin.

The winner of the competition would re-enact Phileas Fogg’s voyage from Verne’s famous novel Around the World in Eighty Days. Strangely enough, only teenage boys were allowed to take part in the competition, and the 15-year-old was the perfect match. There was another twist: The winner had to complete the journey within 46 days, without any company and without using planes.

Hundreds of Danish teenagers applied to participate in the competition, and Palle was lucky enough to be chosen. He started his journey on March 1, 1928, from Copenhagen and traveled by rail and steamship through England, Scotland, Canada, Japan, the Soviet Union, Poland, and Germany.

His journey made the headlines at the time and when he arrived in Denmark, he was already a celebrity. Over 20,000 admirers greeted their hero when he came back home.

The next thing he did was write a book about his journey, which was quite popular among his admirers, and published in several languages. That book also came into the hands of a Belgian cartoonist known by the name of Hergé and that same year, when Huld’s book was published, Tintin made his debut.

Huld himself suggested on several occasions that he was the inspiration for Tintin. However, others believe that the inspiration behind the character was actually the French travel photojournalist Robert Sexe, whose journeys were exactly in the same order as Tintin’s first three books.

With no specific superpowers, Tintin is the antithesis of a superhero. Author: Hicham Souilmi CC By 2.0

Nonetheless, true Tintin fans couldn’t care less. For them it is all about the character, a hero they all know and love, representing something that others don’t have: uncompromising vigilance and the need to succeed no matter what the cost.

Tintin proves that a hero doesn’t need to be big or strong, he or she just needs to be tenacious and stubborn enough to do what needs to be done.

By Goran Blazeski