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Showing posts from 2016

The Hike to Guadalupe Peak

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Given a school half term and an urge to travel somewhere, James and I planned a hike up to Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas at 1667 m.

We flew to El Paso, picked up a rental car and drove east towards the Guadalupe Mountains. A short way past the border post (with its banks of cameras and guards with dogs) we saw a group of pronghorns (closest relatives, giraffes and okapis).

After two hours of driving, there was El Capitan's spectacular form, towering above us as the road looped closer.


El Capitan


The track to Guadalupe Peak. Notice the switchbacks up that first wall of limestone.


We stopped at the Pine Springs visitor center to take a look at the starting point for the trail and then turned off to drive along the road to Slaughter Canyon at dusk, often a good place for encountering wildlife. We came across a big group of mule deer and several jackrabbits with enormous ears. There were also red-tailed hawks and northern harriers, a kestrel, a spotted owl, and a comical…

The Viking Mammen Style on a Rare British Brooch

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The Mammen style in the sequence of Viking art styles is very rarely encountered on artefacts found in the British Isles (Kershaw 2013). It has been documented on two brooches (held in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford), one from West Stow Heath, Suffolk and the other from Bergh Apton, Norfolk (Hinton 1974, Kershaw 2013).

The design on these brooches consists of a stylised bird with backward looking head from which a long head lappet extends, forming an interlace pattern with the bird's tail and wings. A leg with clawed foot is also depicted. The bird is designed to provide a compact fit into the square frame of the brooch.

Kershaw (2013) notes that whereas the Mammen style of the bird is Scandinavian in origin, the square design of the brooch is broadly comparable with some rectangular fibulae found in northern Germany and the Netherlands. These are dated to the tenth century, which is consistent with the appearance of the Mammen style in Scandinavia.

Two other specimens of this form…