Showing posts from October, 2023

Classical mythology on an Iron Age boar coin

The finely crafted artefacts of Ancient Rome were often a source of inspiration for peoples beyond their empire to the north. A particularly striking example is the early boar coinage of the Corieltauvi tribe based on the south side of the Humber Estuary in England, dating from the the middle of the first century BCE. The example shown below is the earliest version in a series. An elegant "celticised" horse beneath a sun symbol is depicted on one side. On the other side is a bold representation of a boar, with a spear in his back together with associated enigmatic symbols. The boar is depicted with erect bristles along his spine, a curly tail and even details the backward-pointing dewclaws, an exceptional feature in this example. This particular silver unit was found four years ago at Burgh le Marsh in Lincolnshire. Here is my drawing of the boar design. Was this an original work of art? Well, the design is distinctively stylised, though less abstract than many examples, incl

A visit to the Greenland Eastern Settlement

As a youth, I was fascinated by stories of the Norse westward exploration and settlement. From about the 870s to around the year 1000, they reached first Iceland, then Greenland and finally Newfoundland and adjacent areas.  With a visit to Greenland this June 2023, I have now visited all of these places and seen something of their character and atmosphere: volcanoes, geysirs, waterfalls, icebergs and aurora in Iceland; snowy mountains, fjord-wide expanses of drift ice and eagles in Greenland; dolphins and moose plus hillsides covered in berries at that northern tip of Newfoundland.  I have also seen the Norse ruins in all these places, mostly just the foundations of buildings made of stone and turf. The experience of this particular “quest” feels in essence complete.  I started the dotted line on the map below in Rogaland (Norway), where we lived in the late 1990s. That's also where Erik the Red was born. The Norse westward expansion (simplified) from the 870s to around the year 10