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March 14, 2010 5:22 AM   Subscribe

Beheaded Vikings found at Olympic site. Last year workmen for the 2012 Olympics sailing venue in southern England came upon a grisly discovery: fifty-one men had been severely injured, most of them beheaded, and tossed into a mass grave.

The burial site was discovered during the construction of the Weymouth Relief Road. Analysis of teeth has revealed that the beheaded men were Scandinavian. Most of the skulls show evidence of multiple blows to the vertebrae, jawbones and skulls with a large, very sharp weapon such as a sword. All the remains appear to be male and most are aged from their late teens to about 25 years old, with just a small number of older individuals. As a general group they are tall, robust in stature with good teeth.
posted by three blind mice (78 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
...with good teeth.

There's a joke here. I'll let someone else make it.
posted by chillmost at 5:32 AM on March 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


it's obvious that no clergy would be involved in this, so it must have been the grave lay packers, not the saints
posted by pyramid termite at 5:43 AM on March 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


The news has mainly been released as a cunning ploy to put the frighteners on any Scandinavian sailors expecting to perform well in the upcoming Olympics. We've had enough of you coming over here and heading home with the gold, you blond-headed orthodontically superior bastards.
posted by Abiezer at 5:58 AM on March 14, 2010 [8 favorites]


In July 2009 provisional radio carbon dating placed the remains between AD890 and AD1030. Following further analysis, this time frame has been narrowed to between AD910 and AD1030.

Maybe these Vikings were killed in the St. Brice's Day massacre?
posted by DaDaDaDave at 6:00 AM on March 14, 2010 [14 favorites]


Were they decapitated with their own threshing oars?
posted by Tube at 6:12 AM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, there can be only one. I mean, somebody's gotta die.
posted by cyclopticgaze at 6:21 AM on March 14, 2010


As a general group they are tall, robust in stature with good teeth.

Bit off more than they could chew?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:23 AM on March 14, 2010


Maybe these Vikings were killed in the St. Brice's Day massacre?

That was my thought as well. Which would make these "vikings" nothing more than Danish settlers and explain why so many were killed so gruesomely. It's also interesting that they were all men, as separation of women and children happened in other genocides.

Obviously we don't know if it was part of that, as there was plenty of other opportunities for English and Danish to do awful things to each other back then. But it's important to recognize as part of our history.
posted by Sova at 6:55 AM on March 14, 2010


Live by the sword ...
posted by bwg at 7:00 AM on March 14, 2010


Neat post. The role and impact of the people who were called vikings on Northern Europe has always fascinated me.
posted by Atreides at 7:08 AM on March 14, 2010


As an Australian, it always fascinates me that you can dig up apparently random, continuously populated patches of your country and find a thousand year old sites of significance. Try that around here and most of the time all you'll find is old beer bottles and maybe a second-hand condom.
posted by Jilder at 7:18 AM on March 14, 2010 [18 favorites]


Which would make these "vikings" nothing more than Danish settlers

Po-tay-to po-tah-to.

Danish settlers at that time would have been Vikings. The massacre appears to have happened in the last hundred years of their real heyday, when they would have been focused mostly on settling and farming rather than pillaging.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 7:26 AM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


What about the fact that the victims were all young men of military age and (it would seem) potent physical stature? That, and the fact that they were killed as a cohort, would suggest that the deaths were part of a battle or war scenario rather than the consequence of ethnic cleansing.
posted by Faze at 7:53 AM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is there a reason the Monty Python title was needed?
posted by Legomancer at 8:07 AM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Po-tay-to po-tah-to.

Danish settlers at that time would have been Vikings. The massacre appears to have happened in the last hundred years of their real heyday, when they would have been focused mostly on settling and farming rather than pillaging.


That's kinda why I put "vikings" in scare quotes. It's a sloppy category that tends to suck up all Danes at this time, regardless of what they were up to. We can't use the word "vikings" without suggesting evildoing even if there was none.

What about the fact that the victims were all young men of military age and (it would seem) potent physical stature? That, and the fact that they were killed as a cohort, would suggest that the deaths were part of a battle or war scenario rather than the consequence of ethnic cleansing.

Perhaps, but was there such a thing as "military age" back then? We might expect 50 captured soldiers to be 20-35 in modern times, but that might have not been the case at then. Also, migration can account for single generation populations, at least in its early stages, and might better explain the spread of origins. I'm not saying that it was part of St Brice's Day massacre, but I'm interested in the possibility.
posted by Sova at 8:15 AM on March 14, 2010


Best Olympic Mascots Ever.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:16 AM on March 14, 2010 [13 favorites]


What about the fact that the victims were all young men of military age and (it would seem) potent physical stature? That, and the fact that they were killed as a cohort, would suggest that the deaths were part of a battle or war scenario rather than the consequence of ethnic cleansing.

Well, Sova has already noted that ethnic cleansers have been known to separate their victims by age and sex. This note from Hume's History of England provides another possible explanation:

Almost all the ancient historians speak of this massacre of the Danes as if it had been universal, and as if every individual of that nation throughout England had been put to death. But the Danes were almost the sole inhabitants in the kingdoms of Northumberland and East Anglia, and were very numerous in Mercia. This representation therefore of the matter is absolutely impossible. Great resistance must have been made, and violent wars ensued; which was not the case. This account given by Wallingford, though he stands single, must be admitted as the only true one. We are told, that the name Lurdane, lord Dane, for an idle lazy fellow, who lives at other people’s expence, came from the conduct of the Danes, who were put to death. But the English princes had been intirely masters for several generations; and only supported a military corps of that nation. It seems probable, therefore, that it was these Danes only that were put to death.

The contemporary reports cited in the Wikipedia article indicate that women and children were killed as well, so Hume's conjecture is probably somewhat off-base, but it's at least possible that these particular Danes were part of a "military corps" in the service of an Anglo-Saxon lord. The Dorset coast (where these remains were found) had been a target of Viking invasion, so it would have made sense to station some tough Danish warriors there.
posted by DaDaDaDave at 8:17 AM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I thought the same Faze, and fits with the size of raiding parties if I recall a couple of accounts about right - also what the archaeologists seem to think. Most of those killed in the St. Brice's day massacre would have been in England for generations iirc, so wouldn't seem to fit with the dental evidence that these dead men grew up in colder more northerly climes.
posted by Abiezer at 8:21 AM on March 14, 2010


(Of course, I have no idea whether this particular mass grave has anything to do with the St. Brice's Day massacre or not. The dental evidence may show otherwise. Just speculatin'.)
posted by DaDaDaDave at 8:28 AM on March 14, 2010


More about contemporary warfare, from the BBC: 'Skilled spearsmen are said to have been able to throw two spears at once using both hands, or even to catch a spear in flight and hurl it back with deadly effect'.

it always fascinates me that you can dig up apparently random, continuously populated patches of your country and find a thousand year old sites of significance.

True. Since 2007, men with metal detectors uncovered the Harrogate Hoard (c. 927) and the Staffordshire Hoard (c.700), with an amazing number of sword fittings. There's a piece about it in the Sunday Times; the Art Fund wants to purchase the collection for two regional museums: 'We have until 17 April to raise the £3.3 million needed to save the Hoard for the nation. If we do not raise the money by 17 April, the Hoard could be sold on the open market'.
posted by woodway at 8:29 AM on March 14, 2010


Best Olympic Mascots Ever

Looks like the Celts really Owned the Podium.
posted by CynicalKnight at 8:31 AM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


As an Australian, it always fascinates me that you can dig up apparently random, continuously populated patches of your country and find a thousand year old sites of significance. Try that around here and most of the time all you'll find is old beer bottles and maybe a second-hand condom.

In the US, and pretty much the same deal, plus some First People' graveyards. Hell, we dug up half the city of Boston and the Big Dig didn't uncover a single Viking. Not even a skeleton with a funny historically-inaccurate helmet.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:47 AM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also: if my family of Swedish descent is to count for anything, all of those damned Vikings had braces on their "superior" dentition.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:50 AM on March 14, 2010


Is there a reason the Monty Python title was needed?
posted by Legomancer at 11:07 AM on March 14


Not really.
posted by spoobnooble at 8:52 AM on March 14, 2010


Not the main Olympic site in East London, the sailing venue near Weymouth, Dorset.
posted by kenchie at 9:05 AM on March 14, 2010


YOU DISTURBED THE GRAVE IDIOTS!


FIne, Just don't come crawling to me when the spectral Longboat appears to pillage the gold yacht race.
posted by The Whelk at 9:11 AM on March 14, 2010 [16 favorites]


My ancestors were vikings, but every time I read about that era, the happier I am that I was not around for it. It was a rough, rough life in a lot of ways, even before you mention "mass graves."
posted by Forktine at 9:15 AM on March 14, 2010


I believe Danes are forensically indistinguishable from Anglo-Saxons, genetically and in other respects, so I don't think these were massacred Danish settlers.
posted by Phanx at 9:16 AM on March 14, 2010


so it must have been the grave lay packers,

not packers, vikings, dammit.
posted by jonmc at 9:20 AM on March 14, 2010 [3 favorites]



...with good teeth.


For all the good it did them. Sheesh...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 9:21 AM on March 14, 2010


not packers, vikings, dammit.

Easy there Brett.
posted by Ludi at 10:03 AM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Looks like the Celts really Owned the Podium.

You mean the Anglo-Saxons.

I'm sorry, switching off my inner pedant
posted by rodgerd at 10:23 AM on March 14, 2010


"Seven decapitations in one week. Don't you just hate killers who take head and never give it?" - Medical Examiner in The Relic
posted by brundlefly at 10:31 AM on March 14, 2010


Sova: That's kinda why I put "vikings" in scare quotes. It's a sloppy category that tends to suck up all Danes at this time, regardless of what they were up to. We can't use the word "vikings" without suggesting evildoing even if there was none.

Sorry, I probably wasn't clear. I was saying that these men WERE vikings, at least from my understanding of what I learned in my anthropology course on the topic.

If you're a Scandinavian in this time period and you're traveling to places by boat and making settlements in countries that aren't your homeland? You're a viking.


Phanx: I believe Danes are forensically indistinguishable from Anglo-Saxons, genetically and in other respects, so I don't think these were massacred Danish settlers.

Well I don't think any of the links explicitly say the men were Danish, per se, only of Scandinavian origin, but the articles do detail how they determined this origin.

From Oxford Archaeology's site:

The results show that the men had grown up in countries where the climate is colder than in Britain, with one individual thought to be from north of the Arctic Circle. They had certainly not lived their formative years on chalk geology, such as is present in where they were found also show that the men had a high protein based diet, comparable with known sites in Sweden
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 10:33 AM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's right Citrus - I'm not arguing with the links, I'm suggesting that DaDaDaDave's otherwise reasonable hypothesis that they might have been settled inhabitants of the Danelaw who got massacred can't be right.
posted by Phanx at 11:03 AM on March 14, 2010


What I find interesting considering the reputation of the Vikings and the origin of these men from Sweden and so forth is that the cultures now form one of the world's most peaceful and progressive societies. If they invaded the US, that might be a blessing as we'd get health care and good schools... though I guess there would be an uprising over the taxes.
posted by crapmatic at 11:22 AM on March 14, 2010


Mel Gibson says Viking movie (starring Leonardo DiCaprio) may be his last
posted by homunculus at 11:27 AM on March 14, 2010


crapmatic, the warlike ones left the country to go raiding. the pacifists stayed behind.
posted by lester at 11:33 AM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


As a Vancouverite who knows that no mass graves of headless corpses were uncovered during the construction for our venues, I'd just like to preemptively declare the London 2012 games to be the WORST OLYMPICS EVER.
Thank you.
posted by Pseudonumb at 11:47 AM on March 14, 2010 [8 favorites]


as someone who has to deal with self proclaimed vikings from north of the arctic circle on a periodic basis disrupting meetings, i thank you profusely for a link to send them with WHAT WILL HAPPEN THE NEXT TIME
posted by infini at 12:02 PM on March 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Sova: "That was my thought as well. Which would make these "vikings" nothing more than Danish settlers and explain why so many were killed so gruesomely. It's also interesting that they were all men, as separation of women and children happened in other genocides."

Based on the stable isotope analysis, it sounds pretty doubtful. Stable isotope analysis is an archaeological tool that probably deserves its own FPP, but the gist of it is that certain elements from local soil chemistry get taken up and stored in the body as the bones and teeth are developing, depending on where a person lives. (at the moment, I don't work with it; I have a colleague that's starting to learn various applications of it as a tool, so I hear about it and learn by osmosis)

Stable isotope analysis is really useful as a tool of exclusion in cases like these. It's not that they're able to say exactly where the dead men grew up (but, of course, there's a rapidly growing corpus of data for Europe with SIA data), but they can definitely exclude them from a pool of people that grew up in that area of England.

Add that to the fact that it was a pretty homogeneous cohort and it seems more likely that this was some group of raiding party, rather than farmers and settlers. I expect we'll hear a lot more about this in the coming months, I'm sure osteologists are checking on bone muscle attachments and old bone breaks to see if the match the general fingerprint of "farmer" versus "fighter".
posted by barnacles at 12:04 PM on March 14, 2010 [7 favorites]


Jilder: "As an Australian, it always fascinates me that you can dig up apparently random, continuously populated patches of your country and find a thousand year old sites of significance. Try that around here and most of the time all you'll find is old beer bottles and maybe a second-hand condom."

As a guy who's worked for a few years doing archaeology in Australia, I gotta say that this isn't really a fair statement about the heritage of the country. To get my biases out front, I tend to work in places that have pretty awful preservation for many kinds of materials, and rarely do we encounter skeletons or burial grounds. That said, the interesting thing about working in places like Australia (or, like North America, which was similarly derided above) is that you've got to do a lot more careful piecing together of the clues and a lot more painstaking work and research if you want to learn more about the past.

As for the coverage of Australia in terms of sites, it's honestly more surprising to sink a pit somewhere and not find anything in it. Australia is covered in archaeological deposits – which is little surprise, when you consider the time depth of settlement. When I'm out walking bush I see stone tools all the time, because of one of the greatest aspects of Australia for archaeology: low low low deposition rates.

When things happen in Australia, they tend to not go too far below the surface. You might have thousands of years of occupation in the space of a few centimeters. Or, if you're out in the desert you're going to see habitation floors that are still out in the open after hundreds (thousands?) of years.

As for site significance, you've hit upon a bit of a touchy subject in archaeology, because: significant to whom? Almost any site is going to seem significant to someone. I suppose they don't have the cachet of Viking Beheadings, but that shouldn't be surprising. Most archaeology doesn't have the cachet of Viking Beheadings. But that's a far cry from saying there's nothing interesting happening in Australian archaeology. One of my favorite sites was a spot just outside of the ACT where we went from excavating ancient campsites and quarries and chipping floors to a very early European homestead and rounded it up with one of the earliest hotels in the region. Time depth plus radical changes is interesting stuff!

Finally, as for beer bottles, don't diss 'em! Beer bottles are one of my favorite things on Australian sites from the late 19th through the mid-20th century, because Australian beer makers were kind enough to print the year of bottle manufacture on the bottle base. It certainly makes dating a site significantly easier. And since – as one might imagine! – beer bottles are basically omnipresent at Australian archaeological sites, they're one of the best easy dating devices we have.

Alright, I'll get off my high horse.
posted by barnacles at 12:21 PM on March 14, 2010 [46 favorites]


Thanks Barnacles, et al. I suppose I'm fairly convinced now that they're not settlers/farmers caught up in ethnic cleansing. Though first generation settlers would still have the same chemical "background" as a raiding party, it's hard to sustain the idea that the Weymouth area had only been settled recently

Would still like it to be true though...

Sorry, I probably wasn't clear. I was saying that these men WERE vikings, at least from my understanding of what I learned in my anthropology course on the topic.

If you're a Scandinavian in this time period and you're traveling to places by boat and making settlements in countries that aren't your homeland? You're a viking.


Oh no, I understood that, I just don't think we should use the word. I'm pretty sure that Old English sources refer to them as "Danes" and "Danish", which is more neutral and allows differences to be distinguished. "Viking" has too much baggage.
posted by Sova at 12:56 PM on March 14, 2010


beer bottles are basically omnipresent at Australian archaeological sites, they're one of the best easy dating devices we have.

Beer bottles: one of the best easy dating devices we have.

Inquire at your local archeological site or bar.
posted by ersatz at 1:03 PM on March 14, 2010 [9 favorites]


Oh no, I understood that, I just don't think we should use the word. I'm pretty sure that Old English sources refer to them as "Danes" and "Danish", which is more neutral and allows differences to be distinguished. "Viking" has too much baggage.

Why not "Danish-Englishman?" "Person of Nautical Employ?"

I'm not really concerned about being PC with the vikings. They wouldn't have cared then, they certainly don't care now. "Dane" and "Danish" also only work if the vikings were actually from Denmark, which is often not the case as they were from other Scandinavian countries as well.

I spent a whole semester learning about the vikings and their culture, and it's all incredibly fascinating. They were all over the map. They managed to get as far as North America, the Mediterranean, even Baghdad! WITH WOODEN BOATS. Just look at this!

They were brilliant! I'm saying this as someone of Irish descent. The Irish got the shit end of the oar, as they spent most of their time in those days being raped and enslaved by the vikings. Hell, the vikings are the reason my facial hair is red.

"Viking" only has as much baggage as you put on it, which should be none, because those guys kicked ass.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 1:21 PM on March 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


Looking forward to Fox reporting on this story: Tonight on Fox News: Live nude executions!
posted by longsleeves at 1:26 PM on March 14, 2010


...with good teeth.

There's a joke here. I'll let someone else make it.

Everyone gets to visit a Dentist in the UK without requiring costly health insurance? hahaha communists.
posted by vectr at 1:39 PM on March 14, 2010


Danish settlers at that time would have been Vikings.

Well, metaphorically speaking, at least.

Also they apparently weren't as badass as Page and Plant made them out to be (since that is where I, like many Americans, learned about early Anglo-Saxon history).
posted by TedW at 2:04 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Perhaps the English Olympic kick-the-Dane's-head team needs some new materials to practice with?
posted by charred husk at 2:08 PM on March 14, 2010


I renew my long-standing objected to "beheaded." It should be "deheaded" (q.v. "decapitated").
posted by kirkaracha at 2:13 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I agree, aren't most of us "be-headed" already? Just as we are be-armed, be-legged, be-bellybuttoned...
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 2:29 PM on March 14, 2010


Is "viking" really that tainted of a word? Fine, then use Norsemen.
posted by dabitch at 3:00 PM on March 14, 2010


I agree, aren't most of us "be-headed" already? Just as we are be-armed, be-legged, be-bellybuttoned...
Be-autiful.
posted by Floydd at 3:07 PM on March 14, 2010


...with good teeth.

There's a joke here. I'll let someone else make it.


That's how the scientists knew they weren't British.

runs to check if he started a Metatalk thread
posted by deliquescent at 3:14 PM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


hahaha, vikings. they actually existed?
posted by crystalsparks at 3:38 PM on March 14, 2010



As for site significance, you've hit upon a bit of a touchy subject in archaeology, because: significant to whom?


Thanks barnacles, you saved me a major rant. Nicely put.
posted by Rumple at 3:48 PM on March 14, 2010


hahaha, vikings. they actually existed?

Some propose that they are figurative.
posted by flaterik at 3:53 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


As an Australian, it always fascinates me that you can dig up apparently random, continuously populated patches of your country and find a thousand year old sites of significance. Try that around here and most of the time all you'll find is old beer bottles and maybe a second-hand condom.

Erm, I thought that Australia had been continuously inhabited for something like 40K years?
posted by jokeefe at 4:04 PM on March 14, 2010


Or what barnacle said.
posted by jokeefe at 4:06 PM on March 14, 2010


Oh boy, being beheaded and thrown into a pit! That's where I'm a viking.

(Cue horrific, unforeseen war in which what actually happens to me makes this throwaway meme-gag an awful prophecy.)
posted by No-sword at 4:33 PM on March 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


60K, apparently. But the vikings only got here 200-odd years ago.
posted by Ritchie at 4:39 PM on March 14, 2010


(Cue horrific, unforeseen war in which what actually happens to me makes this throwaway meme-gag an awful prophecy.)
posted by No-sword at 4:33 PM on 3/14


Judging by your username, that seems likely should such a war happen.
posted by brundlefly at 5:44 PM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Barnacle, jokeefe: I'm more talking about the state of affairs whereby some poor bastard goes to build a home extension and instead winds up with a 6 years worth of archeo undergrads digging in their backyard because a hitherto undiscovered Mycenean temple happens to be where they want to put the new wine cellar, or some farmer who breaks a plow on the remnants of a 1200 year old battlefield while trying to get some clover down.

I'm well aware Australia as a continent has been inhabited for 40k years. You do not, however, have families living on property given to them by the retreating Ottoman empire, or that they won from the Spartans, or whatever. That's largely what I meant by "continuous" occupation. The activity that characterised European settlement did a great disservice to that continuity in regards to our indigenous people, and is a topic complicated enough to warrant its own ffp. I don't dispute that Australia has some interesting archaeology; I'm just not going to trip over it while I'm trying to do something boring. The same "shallowness" that barnacle is talking about has made its preservation in urban areas very difficult, as well as the settling Europeans attitude that real history only happened back home. They really had no hassles just building shit wherever they want, and while the archaeology of settlement is worthy of its own study, there's only so much you can wring out of 200+ years of space that were very well documented at the time, and continue to be well documented.

I really am talking about "out the back of my house in Brisbane" here.
posted by Jilder at 5:50 PM on March 14, 2010


I'm more talking about the state of affairs whereby some poor bastard goes to build a home extension and instead winds up with a 6 years worth of archeo undergrads digging in their backyard because a hitherto undiscovered Mycenean temple happens to be where they want to put the new wine cellar

Which is why the usual practice is to concrete over any discoveries ASAP, before anybody gets wind of them.

After quickly checking for any possibility of treasure, of course.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:00 PM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


severely injured, most of them beheaded

"injured" feels like an understatement here.
posted by philip-random at 11:12 PM on March 14, 2010


"Viking" is tainted? Hell, no! Here (Norway) we're proud of our ancestors, and wouldn't mind anyone calling us "vikings". We're also proud (and probably insufferably smug) about the fact that once we got all of the looting and pillaging out of our blood, we settled down and created the best society to live in ever.
posted by Harald74 at 12:59 AM on March 15, 2010


"injured" feels like an understatement here.

It's only a flesh wound!
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:45 AM on March 15, 2010


we settled down and created the best society to live in ever

You know, it's so refreshing to hear that coming from somebody who isn't American.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:51 AM on March 15, 2010


Is there a reason the Monty Python title was needed?

You don't like SPAM?

I renew my long-standing objected to "beheaded." It should be "deheaded" (q.v. "decapitated").

Don't even get me started on unseated!
posted by Pollomacho at 5:58 AM on March 15, 2010


I renew my long-standing objected to "beheaded." It should be "deheaded" (q.v. "decapitated").

I've wondered about this myself, and this thread finally drove me to look it up. Apparently the "be" part of "beheaded" comes from an Old English prefix that (among other things) served as a privative like a-, non-, and un-. It's more or less literally "to deprive of the head".

Oh, boy! Etymology! That's where I'm a Viking!
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 6:42 AM on March 15, 2010


I'm more talking about the state of affairs whereby some poor bastard goes to build a home extension and instead winds up with a 6 years worth of archeo undergrads digging in their backyard because a hitherto undiscovered Mycenean temple happens to be where they want to put the new wine cellar.

Especially funny when you try to dig subway tunnels. They found over 50000 articles in Athens and probably some of lesser value were destroyed during construction. Archeological excavations per station in the Athens metro.
posted by ersatz at 8:31 AM on March 15, 2010


When I deplaned the other day, they didn't remove a plane from my body.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:39 AM on March 15, 2010


Especially funny when you try to dig subway tunnels. They found over 50000 articles in Athens and probably some of lesser value were destroyed during construction. Archeological excavations per station in the Athens metro.

That's why the Turkish/Ottoman/Byzantine/Thracian/Hittite/etc. model is so much better for "progress." If every couple hundred years you claim some sort of new empire and make up a whole new ethnic history and identity, you can always just plow through (or flood) whatever archeological find you come across as old crap with no application to your new improved identity.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:41 AM on March 15, 2010


Since Delhi/New Delhi is about 7 cities with indraprastha going back to the Mahabaratha, they just leave them lying around littering the landscape and go around
posted by infini at 11:47 AM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jilder : As an Australian, it always fascinates me that you can dig up apparently random, continuously populated patches of your country and find a thousand year old sites of significance.

Similarly, I was having a philosophical discussion with someone about the fact that they would never want to live somewhere where something had died. I pointed out that there probably aren't too many places on land on which something hasn't, at some point in the whole of the Earth's history, died.

It was a sobering thought, which we immediately rectified.
posted by quin at 12:31 PM on March 15, 2010


"Viking" is tainted? Hell, no! Here (Norway) we're proud of our ancestors, and wouldn't mind anyone calling us "vikings".

Exactly. That reminds me of this article from the NY Times about the Lofoten Golf Links in Lofoten, Northern Norway:

- In the afternoon, I played with Frode. "When the sun comes out for a whole day," he said, "the grass just explodes. It grows like a couple of inches just in a few hours." On No. 2, he pointed to some rocks and shrub-covered peat marked off by four little white out-of-bounds stakes. "That's a Viking grave," he said casually. "There are a couple more over on No. 8.

"When my grandfather, and his father, used to plow this land," he continued, "they'd sometimes turn up skeletons and some artifacts - a Viking sword, a gold ring, the foundations of a house, the outlines of a Viking ship." Hov, Frode said, comes from an Old Norse word meaning sacred place of offering.

What did he think of people playing golf where Viking bones rest?

"They'd probably think it's fun," he said. "They were Vikings."

posted by iviken at 1:43 PM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


we settled down and created the best society to live in ever

You know, it's so refreshing to hear that coming from somebody who isn't American.


BBC, Monday, 5 October 2009:
- Norway is the best place in the world to live while Niger is the least desirable, according to an annual report by the United Nations. (...) The United States is rated as the 13th most desirable place to live, while the UK takes the 21st spot.

Also:
"Samantha Bell thinks her father, the man who killed one and injured 12 last week when he flew his small plane into an IRS office in Austin, Tex., is a hero.

"I think too many people lay around and wait for things to happen," Bell told "Good Morning America" in a segment that's all over the news Monday. "But if nobody comes out and speaks up on behalf of injustice, then nothing will ever be accomplished."

Considering Joseph Stack's apparent distrust of the American government and the lengths to which he went to show it -- it's not too surprising to find that his daughter lives somewhere else: in Norway, a chilly European nation known for its astronomical tax rates and equally astronomical public services.

"She lost her job when she was pregnant and said Medicaid would not take care of her," ABC correspondent Andrea Canning told the GMA anchor after her report aired Monday. "She said that's part of the reason her father may have been upset."

It's also part of the reason she moved to the Scandinavian country, which consistently ranks as the nation with the world's highest standard of living. As of October 2009, Norway has the No. 1 highest rating in the United Nations' Human Development Index, which factors global residents' life expectancy, literacy, education, income and other measures of well being.

"She feels like she's getting more out of the Norway government for her money, more bang for her buck in that country," Canning said.
posted by iviken at 2:02 PM on March 15, 2010


norway is good, but finland comes with a whackiness I love :)
posted by infini at 12:27 AM on March 16, 2010


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