Mesa Verde National Park
Article currently being written. Expected publication date 2/16/17. Come back soon.
Mesa Verde National Park
Article currently being written. Expected publication date 2/16/17. Come back soon.
– Denver Museum of Natural History and Science –
One of Denver’s star attractions, the Museum of Nature and Science is a hallmark of the area, and an informal science education center for the Rocky Mountains. It hosts a variety of exhibits, programs, and activities for visitors to embark and learn from about the history of the Earth, the world, and most specifically Colorado. The building is roughly 716,000 square feet housing more than a million objects in its collections covering anthropology, archaeology, paleontology, geology, art, and the universe. It is also a repository for an incredible archives and library. The museum is independent and a non-profit with over 350 full time and part time staff, over 1800 volunteers, and a board of trustees with 25 member. It is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is a affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. There are six main areas in the museum – (1) The Exhibitions, (2) IMAX films, (3) lectures, (4) classes, and (5) programs based around anthropology, geology, health science, paleontology, space science, and zoology. They receive well over 300,000 students and teachers every year just in school groups alone.
The museum spread from the Edwin Carter Log Cabin Naturalist Museum in 1875 that was the private fauna collection of Colorado species gathered together by Edwin Carter from Breckenridge Colorado. In 1892 a group of Denver citizens declared interest in his collection to be moved to the capital for all to enjoy, and Carter sold it to them for $10,000. They added another collection of butterflies and moths as well a some crystallized gold. This combined collection became the Colorado Museum of Natural History and was incorporated in 1900. The Museum finally opened in 1908. By 1918 it opened another wing. In 1927 one of its teams discovered two stone projectile points embedded in extinct species of Bison in Folsom, New Mexico putting the museum in the spotlight.
There are several permanent areas of the museum, these are:
The museum also houses a large 50,000 plus object collection of anthropological, archaeological, and ethnological artifacts from North America. They also house over 800 items from an ethnological art collection, archival photographs, and documents. The Earth Sciences Collection contains six main groups of fauna, flora, and mineral components such as vertebrate paleontology, paleobotany, invertebrate paleontology, minerals, meteorites, and micromount. The Health Sciences Collection has rare an unique human anatomy specimens as well as pieces of medical importance. The Space Sciences Lab houses the museums Scientific Instruments Collection.
the Department of Space Sciences maintains a large digital collection of images and multimedia assets for space. The Zoology Collection houses over 900,000 specimens of species and creatures from around the globe. The
Bailey Library and Archives focuses on anthropology, archaeology, earth sciences, health sciences, space sciences, zoology, the Rocky Mountain West, and museum studies with over 53,000 publications, 2,500 rare books, and 9,000 volumes of scientific periodicals. Various temporary exhibits come in for a wide variation of subjects and collections. The Phipps IMAX Theater was built in 1940 originally used for concerts, films, and lectures. Then it was re-opened in 1983 as an IMAX Theater primarily.
The museum actually has various secrets as there are hidden paintings located throughout the museum such as Kent Pendleton, one of the diorama painters, placed eight elves hidden in his art for visitors to find, as well as some Star Wars related pictures by the IMAX lobby. Rated 5 stars out of 5
* Ballyvourney (a.k.a. Baile Bhuirne), County Cork, Ireland *
Named after the Matron Saint of Ballyvourney and sacred Bee-Keeping mistress, Saint Ghobnatan, this site is a holy pilgrimage location and monastic settlement known as “Tobar Ghobnatan”. This is the legendary home of St. Gobnait/Ghobnatan. It is located a kilometer south of the village of Ballyvourney where St. Ghobnatan’s church Móin Mór (a.k.a. Bairnech) was built. The site is believed to have been a pre-Christian Pagan site used to smelt bronze and iron. There are also two holy wells at this site, both of which are believed to pre-date St. Abban and Gobnait’s arrival to the land, most likely Pagan shrines or Fairy wells. Today these wells are called “St. Gobnait’s Well” and “St. Abban’s Well”. This Christian site was believed to have been founded first by St. Abban who founded a convent here and giving it to Saint Gobnait. It is however, primarily attributed to St. Gobnait, and both wells seem to carry her name and reputation, even though there is controversy as to which well belongs to which Saint.
The Statue of St. Gobnait
St. Gobnait’s cult and laity, as well as the Catholic population of the area, often come to the site for recreation, hiking, prayers, petitions, and doing the rounds or turas. However, every February 11th, the date that St. Gobnait was believed to pass away (year unknown), has become her official “Feast Day” which calls for tribute and celebrations for her. Pilgrims to the site do these rounds on the feast day by coming to the statue (station 1) and processing in a clockwise direction around the site scratching crosses on the stones of each station as they do their rounds. Just to the left of the statue the pilgrims begin reciting three sets of prayers seven times each at each station making a very long day to the rite and ritual involved. These are seven “Our Father” prayers, seven “Hail Mary’s” prayers, and seven “Glories of Christ”. The statue was erected in 1950 C.E. The turas however are believed to be done in the general vicinity of the statue for at least since the 17th century. No date is certain when the pilgrimage and practice began.
St. Gobnait’s Kitchen or House
Next to the statue is a round stone circular hut that is believed to have been either the kitchen or house of St. Gobnait. During construction of the statue and excavation of the site, post holes were found suggesting that the site was used for production of various crafts. From the 1800’s until 1950’s the hut and site was in complete ruin. The hut and site was restored after the site was excavated in 1950 by M.J. O’Kelly who rebuilt it to its current state. The excavations suggested that the site was used for metal craft working up to the early medieval period based on large amounts of iron smelting slag, a crucible, and other metal working artifacts found on the site. There are also Bullaun Stones found on the site. These were believed to have been used to grind metal ores in. It is believed the hut was a later addition and that the site’s original first use was for bronze or iron working. The circular hut, which has been restored, has an internal diameter of 6 meters. It was believed to have been used by iron and bronze smelters. It is also around this time that the well in front of the hut was believed to have been dug (called St. Gobnait’s Well). The House or Kitchen was deemed the second station of the turas. Here is the best example of the crude crosses scratched into the stones and markers during the turas on the site. This is done on the portal stones when they enter the hut, and on some of the stones atop the wall. Since this hut has evidence of an earlier site for smelting iron and bronze, folklore ties it to an earlier being or Deity … that of Goibnui, the Smith of the Tuatha Dé Danann that might be whom St. Gobnait replaced. One of the holy wells stands before the entrance to the hut. This one is definitely listed as St. Gobnait’s Well. The main well, found on the right hand side of the road down the hill before one comes up to the right side of the road as one drives up to the site. This main well is also called St. Gobnait’s Holy Well, of which both were revered as a site of healing waters and magic from their early beginnings to this very date.
The Graveyard / Church yard
The cemetery is a fabulous find just in of itself. Some of the grave markers are fantastically carved and decorated. Celtic crosses dot the landscape. There is a large sculpture of a woman believed to be a Goddess standing on an egg with a snake curled around her feet that is interpreted by some modern day Pagans as being a sculpture of the White Goddess. There is no documentation to authenticate this however. St. Gobnait’s purported grave is located here. This is marked Stations 3 and 4 on the pilgrimage stations/turas map. This consists of a small artificial prehistoric mound that looks like most other megalithic cists. On its south end is a large stone slab which is the location where many believe her body rests. Atop this stone pilgrims scratch the cross into the stone slab (Station 3). The slab atop the cist (Station 4) is also covered with scratched crosses. There are said to exist three Bullaun Stones here, the third of which may be in the station 3 stone slab.
The Ballyvourney Church – Stations 5-9 is the medieval church that is located in the graveyard. It is one of the major stops for pilgrims doing their rounds and is a location of more cross scratchings/etchings that are made during the turas/stations/rounds. This church was built atop an earlier church that may have been the original Móin Mór (a.k.a. Bairnech) church of St. Gobnait. Pilgrims begin at the northwest corner of the earlier foundation noted as station 5 and cite seven “Our Fathers”, “Hail Marys”, and “Glories” at each station. They go in a clock-wise direction circling the church saying a decade of the rosary visiting station 5 four times and all the other stations once. Station 6 can be found in the east wall window of the chancel where the altar was believed to first had rested. After prayers were made, they circle the church, re-enter, and pray at station 7 – rubbing the Sheela-na-gig carving above it which many believe is an image of St. Gobnait. Near the Sheela-Na-gig is the Flagstone of the Thief. The Flagstone of the Thief found in the graveyard and church ruins is believed to represent the tale when St. Gobnait fastened the thief and the cows he stole to the flagstone on which they were standing when they were caught, and the feet/hooves imprinted themselves upon the stone. There is a tale of this flagstone that states a robber once came to the church yard and tried to erect his own shrine here. Once Saint Gobnait learned of this, she took her bowl and threw it at the shrine, thereby destroying it. Since then, the bowl has been located along the west wall of the church and is a place where pilgrims go to touch it with a personal item used to gain healing.
Both of these particular carvings are believed to date from the 15th century C.E. From here the pilgrims would proceed to station 8 just outside of the south wall where the Chanel meets the wider nave. They would circumambulate the church again stopping at station 9 on the south side of the west wall just above the top of the steps at St. Gobnait’s Bowl. Pilgrims would reach into the bowl and touch the stone. Folklore states this bowl was used by St. Gobnait to defeat a local chief who was building near her monastery by destroying his fort. The final station is at St. Abban’s Holy Well (station 10). Here at the church each year on the 11th of February, the parish priest would bring out a 13th century wooden statue of St. Gobnait upon which pilgrims would measure a ribbon against the statue and wrap it around the figure, then take the ribbon home to use for healing magic.
No one knows for sure when the pilgrimages began at this site. Many believe early Pagan faiths came to this location for other reasons, most likely to pay tribute and make offerings at the fairy wells. Once Christianity took over the site, pilgrimages probably did not occur until after the death of St. Gobnait in the mid to late 16th century C.E. The earliest written accounts of pilgrimages to Ballyvourney date to the early 1600’s C.E. The Pope Clement VIII in 1601 granted a special indulgence of 10 years to those who came here on the feast day, went to Confession and Communion and prayed for peace among the “Christian princes”, for the expulsion of heresy, and for the exaltation of the church. Other works of art such as the poetry of Dáibhidh Ó Bruidar, the writings of Don Philip Ó Súilleabháin and Seathrún Céitinn clearly demonstrate that by the late 16th century the Saint Gobnait cult was strong and thriving. Donal Cam Ó Súilleabháin during his escape from Béara came to this monastic site in 1603 C.E. with his men to pray to Saint Gobnait offering her gifts asking for her protection. In 1645 C.E. the Papal Nunico Rinuccini wrote about the Cult as well from descriptions of his visit. In 1687 C.E. Sir Richard Cox wrote about Ballyvourney as being home to the Gobnait cult and location of the holy relic that makes cures and miracles to the pilgrims there, referring to the 13th century figurine of St. Gobnait used by the parish during the feast day. Traditionally the relics of Saint Gobnait were in the care of the O’Hierlihy family. It was cared for by this family until 1843 when it was passed on to the Parish priest. Today, the figurine is in care of the local Parish priest.
It is worthy to note that a ring fort that could have had ties with the Pagan pre-Christian use of the site, was destroyed by a local farmer. Information about this incident can be found at http://corkarchaeologist.wordpress.com/destruction-of-ringforts/. There are other wells dedicated to Saint Gobnait throughout Ireland. A magical well in Dunguin exists by the school house that consists of a shrine and well. Another is in Kilgore called the “Tovar Ghobnait” that is enclosed with two pillar stones and a cross stone. It is an ancient stone with a water mark impression that holds rainwater, and is said that the bowl never goes empty. During the summer months it is also said that the wild roses growing around the site will never root if transplanted elsewhere. It was here that the fairy tale of Morty Sullivan and the Black Steed takes place nearby as the location where he sought to atone for his sins at St. Gobnait’s shrine.
How to get here: Drive West from Macroom to Kerry on the N22. As you pass through Ballymakerry (Baile Mhic Ire), you will pass a church on your right-hand side and will take the first left hand turn after the church that has a sign post. Follow the road 400 meters and you will see the first (and main) holy well on the right. You’ll need to go up the hill a bit for parking as it is a very narrow road. Take the next right hand road (near where you can park by a graveyard) up the hill to see the other holy well, statue, hut, church ruins, and main graveyard. There is also a modernized porta-toilet in this parking lot so you don’t have to use the bushes. The GPS coordinates are: 79: W 1967 7688. Longitude: 9° 10′ 5″ W, Latitude: 51° 56′ 18″ N.
Article by Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Productions and Research Services: Technogypsie.com. © 2013: All rights reserved.
Article on the Church, Shrine, Graveyard, and Well found at http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=14339. Article on the Holy Well found at http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=7591. Article on the Tobar Ghobnatan Wishing Trees, Saint Ghobnatan, and Tobar Ghobnatan cross etchings.
* 165 King Street * Charleston, SC 29401 * galleonslost.com * (843) 577-3875 *
Down the city center along King Street, in the historic pirate town of Charleston, South Carolina, you can find a treasure shoppe of timeless maritime collectibles, treasures, rare objects, antiques, and an authentic pirate treasure gallery. Being a big fan of “all things Pirate” I definitely had a fun browse through the store and brief chat with one of the staff. I found friendly and hospitable service, good conversations, and a great collection of fascinating finds. The shop is a subsidiary of Voyager International that brings treasures of the Island Kings collection to Charleston. The focus of the era of these antiquities covers items collected from the spice routes to China dating from the 16th-17th centuries. In addition, one can find fabulous jewelry, black pearls, pieces of 8, gold doubloons, Keris knives, salvaged treasures, and Spanish/Portugese bronze armaments. Voyager International is a world acquisition and trade service organization led by Rich Mutschler specializing in the importation and sale of maritime treasure related goods, ethnographic art, and investment quality stringed musical instruments. They also organize trade and cultural expeditions to Indonesia featuring trade and cultural experiences through business activity and social interaction. Any history buff, adventurer, pirate, gypsy, and/or hobby would enjoy this shop. Definitely a great shop to visit while in Charleston. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.
The Greek and Roman Statues at the Nashville Parthenon
The replica of the Greek Parthenon is a stunning attraction, left over from the Exposition in Nashville, Tennessee. It is filled with statues of Greek and Roman nature, these are a fabulous addition to one’s visit, though overlooked and walked by quickly by the un-educated. These are located in the Naos and adorn the walls lining up to Athena. The Naos is 93 feet long and 63 feet wide and has a two-story colonnade around three sides. The plaster replicas of the Parthenon Marbles found in the Naos (the east room of the main hall) are direct casts of the original sculptures which adorned the pediments of the Athenian Parthenon, dating back to 438 BC. Many fragments of the originals are housed in the British Museum in London. Others are at the Acropolis Museum in Athens.
A historical section to the Canberra Museum and Art Gallery exists on the “Cotter River”, the dam they built, and how it helped keep Canberra the Garden City that it is. I believe this is a permanent exhibit. Running through the Australian Capital Territory is the Cotter River, a fresh water source that is a tributary of the Murrumbidgee River and is really one of two rivers in the region, next to the Queanbeyan River that supports Canberra and its region. It was named after Garrett Cotter, a colonial convict who first settled the area. When Canberra was recommended to be Australia’s capital, water catchment was a significant consideration for the decision. Of the 2,358 square kilometers of the ACT, 480 was reserved as the catchment area for the Cotter River, calculated to support a population of just over 100,000. Three reservoirs were created, the Corin, the Bendora, and the Cotter Dams. Cotter Dam was built as a gravity dam out of concrete in 1912 alongside construction of the capital. They raised the height of the dam wall in 1951 for increased capacity, holding more than 3,856 million litres. This supplies the domestic drinking water and therefore only used for water reserves, blocking off any recreational watercraft use.
One of the popular icons of Australia, the “boomerange” is a throwing weapon with a curved shape used for hunting, battle, or sport. Most commonly made of wood or bone, some modern boomerangs are made of plastic or light metal in a variety of sizes and weights though usually ranging from 10-180 centimeters. Sometimes are designed with aboriginal artwork. It is designed to travel in a ellipical path and return to its thrower if thrown properly. While Australia is credited with their creation, there is evidence they were used by the Indigenous of California and Arizona, southern India, and the Ancient Egyptians as hunting weapons. While most Australian Aborigine’s used them commonly for hunting, sometimes there were not thrown at all and utilized in hand-to-hand combat. Some historical evidence suggest they were also used to start fires, as decoys for waterfowl, as recreational toys, battle clubs, and percussive musical instruments. Evidence of boomerangs in Australia date to over 10,000 B.P. (Before Present), a boomerang made of mammoth’s tusk was found in Poland dating to over 30,000 BP, and King Tutankhamen of Egypt had a collection of boomerangs over 3,000 years old today. When, where, or how it was created is unknown, but believed to have started as a flattened throwing stick.
* (NR: 2009) * Creators: Jane Espenson, D. Brent Mote. Starring: Eddie McClintock … Pete Lattimer; Joanne Kelly … Myka Bering; Saul Rubinek … Artie Nielsen; Genelle Williams … Leena; Allison Scagliotti … Claudia Donovan; and many others. *
It’s X-files Mulder and Scully meets a spin-off of where the Lost Ark of the Covenant disappeared off to at the end of “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. This popular Syfy network television series is a fantasy created by Jack Kenny and David Simkins as a dramatic comedy that reminds one of Raiders of the Lost Ark, the X-files, Moonlighting, and Friday the 13th: The Series. So far the series is up to 3 seasons with popularity that might keep it going. Its about two U.S. Secret Service agents, Myka Bering and Peter Lattimer who become re-assigned to the government’s secret “Warehouse 13” where un-natural artifacts with dangerous properties are locked up where they cannot do damage, in a barren warehosue in the middle of South Dakota. Initially they feel they are being punished for some assignments that involved foul-ups, but rather being “rewarded” for their great skills. The Warehouse is under the premise that is was established in 1914 by Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and M.C. Escher that is a continuation of various Warehouses throughout the world that houses artifacts of this kind – the first being Warehouse One operated by Alexander the Great, Warehouse 2 as the Library at Alexandria, Warehouse 12 in Great Britain – always being moved into the possession of whichever country was the super power during that age. All of the artifacts housed in the warehouses possess magical, supernatural, or scientific powers that are dangerous, and are connected to some historical or mythological figure, each imbued with something of their former owner. Most excellent series. Rated: 5 stars out of 5.
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Museum of Archaeology
* Kildare Street * Dublin 2, Co. Dublin, Ireland * +353 1 6777444 * http://www.museum.ie/ * Opening Hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 10am – 5pm; Sunday: 2pm – 5pm ; Closed Mondays, Christmas Day and Good Friday *
The National Museum of Ireland has several museums throughout Dublin. One of its famous is the Archaeology Museum which is the national repository for all archaeological objects found in Ireland. The Museum boasts of over 2 million artifacts. It is Ireland’s premiere collection of Irish material culture, heritage, and the natural world. The National Museum ws founded under the Dublin Science and Art Museum Act of 1877. Originally the collections were divided between the Leinster House and the Natural History Museum in Merrion Street. Under the new Act, the government had funding to purchase the museum buildings and collections, build proper facilities and storage space for the Leinster House collections, and constructed this new custom-built museum on Kildare street for Archaeology opening on August 29, 1890. The purpose of the museum is to collect, preserve, promote, and exhibit all examples of Ireland’s portable material culture and heritage, interpret the collections, promote them, and make them accessible to the world. They are also to become the authoritative voice on relevant aspects of Irish heritage, culture, and natural history so that they can maintain the lead role in education, research, and scholarship pertaining to the collections and its contexts. The Building that houses the collections was built in 1889-1890 and designed by Cork architects Thomas Newenham Deane and his son Thomas Manly Deane which has since become an architectural landmark because it was built in the Victorian Palladian style and has been compared with the Altes Museum in Berlin that was designed by Karl Schinkel in the 1820s. The Building’s Neo-classical influences can be seen in the colonnaded entrance and the domed rotunda that is modeled after the Pantheon in Rome. The rotunda contains classical columns that are made of marble quarried from Counties Cork, Kilkenny, Galway, Limerick and Armagh in order to mirror the entrance. Its great centre court has a balcony that is supported by rows of slender cast-iron columns with elaborate capitals and bases and are decorated with groups of cherubs. The balcony hosts more rows of plain columns and attractive openwork spandrels that support the roof. The building’s interior has rich motifs decorating the insides mimicking styles from Ancient Greece and Rome highlighted by mosaic floors with classical mythology scenes including the zodiac. The museum has several Permanent Exhibitions which are: (1) Or – Ireland’s Gold Artifacts housing the finest collection of prehistoric gold artifacts in western Europe ranging from Celtic Iron Age metalworking up through medieval ecclesiastical objects and jewelry. These are also Ireland’s collection of prehistoric gold workings dating from 2200 BCE to 500 BCE including torques, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and objects of unknown use. The Early Bronze Age collections were made primarily from sheet gold into sun discs, crescentic gold collars called lunulae, and then 1200 BCE new gold working techniques creating torcs by twisting bars or strips of gold. The exhibit reflects the evolution of the styles up to 900 BCE where gold working was divided into two main types: solid objects including bracelets and dress-fasteners and the large sheets of gold collars and delicate ear-spools. (2) – Prehistoric Ireland: Is he exhibition that covers human settlement in Ireland from stone tools of the first hunter-gatherers in 7000 BCE to bronze weapons of the Late Bronze Age (500 BCE) highlighting a reconstructed Passage Tomb as the backdrop for the tools, pottery, and artifacts. The history covers introduction of metalworking (2500 BCE) and its evolution and changes. Displays of copper axes, daggers, shields, cauldrons, and cast bronze horns are amongst some of the highlighted artifacts. Jewelry made of glass, stone, and amber; wooden shields, wheels, and cauldrons are also exhibited. (3) – Kingship and Sacrifice: Is the exhibit covering Ireland’s infamous Iron Age bog bodies found at Oldcroghan, Co. Offaly and Clonycavan, Co. Meath in 2003, and research up to date that has been conducted to understand them. Most of these bodies are believed to have been human sacrifice that were deposited in bogs along tribal boundaries to signify sovereignty and kingship rituals during the Iron Age. These collections includes items of royal regalia, horse trappings, weapons, feasting utensils, boundary markers and votive deposits of butter known as bog butter. (4) – The Treasure contains Iconic Treasures until the real exhibit is ready. These cover outstanding religious and secular metalworking that dates from Pagan Celtic Iron Age through the Middle Ages. Some highlights include the sumptuously ornamented Broighter gold collar, models of a boat, a cauldron, the Broighter Collar in La Tčne art style, eighth to ninth-Century ‘Golden Age’ artifacts such as the Ardagh and Derrynaflan Hoards, the Moylough Belt Shrine, and the gilt silver ‘Tara’ Brooch. (5) – Viking Age: covering hoards of silver bullion, brooches, plain silver, and other artifacts from 800 CE to 1150 CE; history of Viking graves (9-10th centuries); rural life; nd remains of Dublin excavations from 1962-1981 demonstrating ecclesiastical metalwork of the 11th and 12th Centuries showing fusion of Scandinavian and Irish art styles at the close of the Viking Age. (6) – Medieval Ireland: 1150 – 1550 C.E. galleries labelled Power, Work and Prayer to reflect the three-fold division of medieval society – nobles, common people and clergy. It covers warfare, agriculture (pastoral and arable), import trade and the various crafts and industries operating in towns. Focuses on churches and faiths, religious practice and devotion as well as church furnishings. (7) – Ancient Egypt: Ireland’s fabulous Egyptian collections display over 3,000 artifacts most of which were acquired from excavations carried out in Egypt between 1890-1920 ranging from the Stone Age to the Middle Ages. These include sites such as Hieraconpolis, Deir el-Bahri, Ehnasya, Oxyrhynchus, Tarkhan and Riqqa highlighting the gilt and painted cartonnage case of the mummy Tentdinebu (22nd Dynasty c. 945 – 716 BC); the mummy portraits of a woman and a young boy from Hawara (first/second Century AD); model of a wooden boat (early 12th Dynasty c. 1900 BC); and a number of important stelae, tomb furniture, offering tables, jewellery and household equipment. (8) – Ceramics and Glass from Ancient Cyprus: The displays to this collection show many artifacts that have never been exhibited before including ceramic pieces from tombs uncovered in the 19th Century. These artifacts range from the Bronze Age (2500 BCE) to the late Roman period (300 CE) including five clay figurines on loan from the Cyprus Museum Nicosia, ceramics, and glass. (9) – Life and Death in the Roman World: displaying artifacts that have been in storage in the National Museum of Ireland since the early 1920s demonstrating classical art and architecture consisting of glass vessels, textiles, sculpture, ceramics, coins, gemstones and architectural fragments from places as geographically diverse as Egypt, Austria and England. This exhibit also displays Etruscan material exploring the themes of ‘Everyday Life’; ‘Death, Burial and the Afterlife’; ‘Religion’; ‘Personal Adornment and Dress’; ‘Entertainment’; and ‘Imperial Power in the Roman world’ and ends with the introduction of Christianity. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.
Bru na Boinne, County Meath, Ireland
One of Ireland’s most infamous monuments and archaeological sites, Newgrange is amongst the Bru na Boinne World Heritage sites next to Knowth and Dowth. It is popular like Stonehenge with its Solstice astronomical line-ups and viewing of the sun as it appears through its portal. The monument is a large mound complex shaped like a giant kidney covering an area of about an acre of land and is surrounded by 97 kerbstones most of which are decorated by megalithic rock art. Newgrange is one of the best examples in Ireland and Western Europe of a passage grave or tomb. Constructed around 3200 BCE, this site is older than the Egyptian pyramids and a 1,000 years older than Stonehenge.
Located along a elongated ridge on the Boyne River, five miles west of Drogheda, and close to the location where the Battle of the Boyne took place in 1690. Built entirely with stone tools, the Faerie Sidhe (folklore) or Passage Grave (Archaeology) is an impressive monument: The purpose of the monument is disputed greatly as there is no evidence that Newgrange was used as a repository for bodies, bones, burial artifacts or ash. Mythology tells us that the Tuatha De Danann, legendary first rulers of Ireland, built Newgrange as a burial place for their chief – the Dagda Mor with his three sons. The site is also believed to be where the hero Cuchulainn was conceived by his mother Dechtine. Also listed in mythology as a Faerie Mound, it was believed to have been the home of Oenghus, the God of Love. Other theories are that it was a place of worship for a “cult of he dead”; or for astronomically-based faiths. It is also believed to have been a burial site for Celtic Kings and a meeting place for Druids and Faeries. Legends state that t some otherworldly conditions, the Queen of the Faeries can be seen here with her subjects.
Visitors can only access Newgrange via bus shuttle from the visitor center at Bru na Boinne and those wishing to see the Winter Solstice sunrise light-up has to be awarded via lottery for the experience with a select few other lottery winners. A 19 meter long inner passage leads to a cruciform chamber with a corbelled roof. At the end of the passage are three small chambers off the larger central chamber. Each of the smaller chambers has a large flat “basin stone”; which is where it is believed the bones of the dead were originally deposited. During the Winter Solstice, lights of the rising sun enters the roofbox – lighting up the passage, and shining onto the floor of the inner chamber – illuminating the room for 17 minutes. Megalithic Rock Art surrounds the monument with some world notable pieces such as the triskel carved on the entrance stone, Kerbstone 1 and 52. Other rock art carvings fit into one of ten categories, five of which are curvilinear (circles, spirals, arcs, serpentine forms, and dot-in-circles), and the other five are rectilinear (chevrons, lozenges, radials, parallel lines and offsets). Intriguing archaeological finds were found throughout the site, including Roman coins, an iron wedge, and a stone phallus. It is believed to have taken 20 years to build with a work force dedicated all of those years full time of 300 individuals. Under the burial tomb theory, it is believed to have been sealed and closed for several millenia after which the local folklore and mythology of the faeries were believed to be assigned to the mound. The site was used for ritual purposes well into the Iron Age.
The Passage tomb was re-discovered in 1699 when material for road building was being harvested from the mound. A large excavation of the mound took place in 1962 as well as the rebuilding of the original facade of sparkling white quartz stones found at the site. Newgrange has been compared to the Gavrinis passage tomb in Brittany for which it is very similar to. The Gavrinis cairn is 5,500 years old; 60 meters in diameter, and covers a passage and chamber that is lined with elaborately engraved stone. Newgrange is built of alternating layers of earth and stone with grass growing atop, and the front reconstructed facade is of flattish white quartz stone studded at intervals with large rounded cobbles covering the circumference. Newgrange was found written about as a tumulus in a letter by Edward Lhwyd in December 15, 1699. The Annals of the Four Masters state that the Danes plundered Newgrange in 861. It has been said that during the first excavation, a large amount of treasures including ornaments and fictilia (earthenware objects) including a gold chain, two rings, a gold trocks, a bronze pin, and a small iron weapon were recovered.
One of Irelands most famous Neolithic passage graves, Knowth is in the valley of the Boyne River, at the ancient monument of Brú na Bóinne nearby famous Newgrange. This monument was built after Newgrange, roughly 5,000 B.C.E. (Before the Common Era). It is believed to have been built before Dowth. It is similiar in size to Newgrange, but is surrounded by 18 satellite mounds. The ‘Great Mound’ has two passages with entrances in the opposite sides – passage on the west is 34 meters long, passage on the east is 40 meters long, both ending at a cruciform chamber with a corbelled roof. Mythologically believed to be a Faerie mound – A Sidhe – Archaeologists catalogue the site as a passage grave based on three recesses and basin stones found within the chambers into which the cremated remains of the dead were placed. The monument also has astronomical features. Tied in with Dowth and Newgrange, the area has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993. The only access to the site is via guided tour from the Bru na Boinne Visitor Center that take place from April thru October. Excavations begun at Knowth in 1962, and in 1967 the discovery of the first passage and chamber were accomplished. Later excavations revealed the second passage and chamber, as well as a collection of rock art and decorated stones that amount to a quarter of Western European Neolithic Rock Art. Excavations revealed pottery, flint, houses, and other artifacts that determined Neolithic settlement around 4,000 B.C.E. Rock formations and art signify calendars, sundials, calendar stones, and stones to calculate the lengths of the lunar tropical month – ‘synodic’ and the length of the year in the Lunar Stone. The Calendar Stone seems to track the ‘Metonic Cycle’ of the Moon. The Main Mound has 124 existing Kerbstones forming the Kerb that at its base that are circular and measuring 80 meters east-west by 95 meters (north-south). Most of the Kerbstones forming this Kerb are oblong and average 2.5 meters in length. This is the largest of all passage graves in the area. There are over 200 decorated stones found here containing a wide variety of images from crescents, spirals, lozenges, and serpentiforms that have been carved on the stones with some ‘hidden art’ on the backs of the stones. There is also evidence for late Neolithic and Bronze Age activity, most of which is based from the existence of grooved ware timber circles located near the entrance of the eastern passage. Evidence for rituals here consists of a large number of votive offerings found in and around the area of the timbers. Knowth was used by the Normans in the 12th century. The site was also used briefly as a burial site with over 35 cist graves found on site that appear to be Celtic burials. Many of the bodies buried here were female. Two young men were buried – decapitated and buried together with a gaming set. During Christian occupation, the hill became a fort with encircling ditches and souterrains added converting the site into a habitation site. The monument fell into the hands of the monks of the Mellifont Abbey nearby. The mound was then later used as a grange or farm with stone walls construced atop and stone buildings within those walls. When the monasteries were dissolved the site was taken over by the state in 1939.
Brú na Bóinne
* aka “Palace of the Boyne” or “Bend of the Boyne” * Knowth/Newgrange, Donore, Co. Meath, Ireland * UNESCO World Heritage Site *
“Bru na Boinne” is the name of a Boyne River Valley section that is home to the World Heritage sites consisting of the Tumulus Sidhe known as “Knowth”, “Dowth”, and “Newgrange”. These monuments are the largest and one of the most important prehistoric megalithic sites in Europe that consist of a complex of neolithic chamber tombs, standing stones, henges, and other prehistoric enclosures dating as early as 35th century B.C.E. (predating the Egyptian pyramids) The Palace is centrally the name for the visitor center that is home to a museum, cafe, interpretive displays, information center, and central shuttle bus location for visitors to get to Knowth and Newgrange. It is located in County Meath near the village of Donore along the south bank of the Boyne River. The large oval stones in the water feature are 330 million year old naturally occuring concretions that make the site a geological attraction as well. The Sidhe/Tumulus of Newgrange and Knowth are to the north of the Boyne. The site covers over 780 hectare acres with over 40 passage graves, prehistoric sites, hengestones, circles, and features as well as substantial Megalithic rock art. Each of the monuments are on a ridge within the river bend, with Knowth and Newgrange containing stones re-used from earlier monuments at the site. The sites were visited repeatedly and re-used during various ages such as the Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Medieval periods adding assortments of artifacts, features, and enclosures to the site throughout the years. In addition to the famous tombs/tumulus of Knowth, Dowth, and Newgrange are also the ceremonial complexes known as Cloghalea Henge, Townleyhall passage grave, Monknewtown henge and ritual pond, and the Newgrange cursus. Newgrange stands as the central mound of the Boyne Valley passage grave cemetery. Each of these three main tumulus sites have archaeo-astronomical significance and alignments. Newgrange and Dowth have Winter Solstice solar alignments, and Knowth has an Equinox solar alignment. The complex areas are surrounded on the south, west, and east by the Boyne river, and to the north by the Mattock river.
The River Boyne
The Goddess Boann
A grandiose River in Leinster, Ireland that runs a course of over 112 kilometers (70 miles) passing by the Brú na Bóinne complex and World Heritage site, by the ancient city of Trim, Trim Castle, the Hill of Tara, Navan, the Hill of Slane, Mellifont Abbey, and the medieval city of Drogheda. It starts at Trinity Well in Kildare and flows towards the Northeast through County Meath where it empties into the Irish Sea. The river is abundant with Salmon and trout that hosts much Irish mythology on the passage of knowledge down the river. The river is notorious for its historical, archaeological, and mythological connotations. Ptolemy drew out the river in his mapping of Ireland and he called it ????????? (Bououinda). According to Irish mythology, the river was created by the Goddess Boann and the river is named after her as well as representative of her. It is also the river where Fionn mac Cumhail captured Fiontan, the Salmon of Knowledge. It is also home to the infamous “Battle of the Boyne” which took place near Drogheda in 1690. The archaeological remains of a Viking ship was found in 2006 in the river bed near Drogheda.
Book of Kells
* Trinity College Dublin Library * Dublin, Ireland *
Leabhar Cheanannais or “Book of Columba”, “The Book of Kells”, is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book written in Latin that contains the four Gospels of the New Testament together with various texts and tables. It was written in 800 C.E. by Celtic Monks. The texts are largely drawn from the Vulgate including passages from earlier versions of the Bible known as the “Vetus Latina”. It is one of the World’s masterworks of Western calligraphy and represents the pinnacle of Insular illumination. It is one of Ireland’s finest national treasures. The decoration combines Christian iconography with ornate swirling motifs typical of Insular art with figures of humans, animals, and mythical beasts combine with Celtic knotwork, interlacing patterns in vibrant colors, and Christian sybolism. The manuscript today has 340 folios which have been bound into four volumes. THe leaves are on high-quality calf vellum and the lettering is in iron gall ink with colors made from substances imported from various distant lands. The manuscript was never finished. There are 5 competing theories for its place of origin and time of completion. The first theory, is that it was created at Iona and then brought to Kells where the illuminations were then added but never finished. The second theory is that the book was entirely produced at Iona. The Third theory is that it was produced entirely in the scriptorium at Kells. The Fourth theory is that is was produced in the North of England, transferred to Iona, and then to Kells. The Fifth theory, is that it is the product of an unknown monastery in Pictish Scotland. It is named after the Abbey of Kells where it lived for many centuries. When the Kells Abbey was plundered by Vikings in the 10th century, the Book was believed to be moved out of Kells to save it from being looted. The earliest historical reference to the book was found in a 1007 entry in the Annals of Ulster stating that “the great Gospel of Columkille, the chief relic of the Western World, was wickedly stolen during the night from the western sacristy of the great stone church at Cenannas on account of its wrought shrine.” It is assumed the “Great Gospel of Columkille” is the “Book of Kells”. It was recovered in Kells by the 12th century and remained there until 1654. It was sent to Dublin for safekeeping when Cromwell’s cavalry was quartered in the Church of Kells. It has remained in the Trinity College Library in Dublin ever since. It has been rebound several times over the centuries. Some of these damaged the illustrations, especially during the 18th century. It was damaged again in 1985, 1953, and then again during its last binding in 1953. It also sustained minor pigment damage when sent for an exhibition to Australia. The book is 330 x 250 mm. The cropped folios, done in the 19th century rebinding, brought the text area to 250 x 170 mm with each text page having 16-18 lines of text. The extent book contains preliminary matter, such as the complete text of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John through John 17:13. The remainder of John and some preliminary matter is missing since the 11th century. The remaining preliminary matter consists of two fragmentary lists of Hebrew names contained in the Gospels, Breves causae (Gospel summaries), Argumenta (short biographies of the Evangelists), and Eusebian canon tables. It also contains the text of the four Gospels based on the Vulgate but does not contain a pure copy of the Vulgate. The illustrations feature a broad range of colours, with purple, lilac, red, pink, green, and yellow being the colours most often used. The Insular work pigments contain red and yellow ochre, green copper pigment (verdigris), indigo, and lapis lazuli.
Dublina Viking & Medieval History Museum
* http://www.dublinia.ie/ * St Michaels Hill * Christchurch, Dublin 8, Co. Dublin, Ireland * 01 679 4611 *
Located within and connected to the infamous Christ Church Cathedral of Dublin (a.k.a. “The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity”) is now one of Dublin’s most spectacular and interactive museums/tourist attractions. Christ Church is the elder of Dublin’s two medieval cathedrals, next to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Christ Church is officially claimed as a set of both the Church of Ireland and the Roman Catholic archbishops in Dublin. The Museum and Cathedral sits in the former heart of medieval Dublin next to WOod Quay at the end of Lord Edward Street. Christ Church is the only one of the three cathedrals that can be seen from the River Liffey. It is the home of the purported tomb of “Strongbow” – the medieval Norman-Welch warlord who came to Ireland and marking the start of English involvement in Ireland. The Dublinia Museum tells the story about how Dublin was settled by the Vikings and that is was an important medieval mecca at one time. It was established by the Medieval Trust in the rooms of the disused Synod Hall. The concentration of the museum is between the 11th century and the Reformation. The museum is a living history museum, with hands-on displays, and typical museum artifact displays. Reconstructed dioramas give glimpses of Dublin in the Middle Ages. The Museum gets quite crowded and is sometimes difficult to navigate around. The museum also houses the archaeological finds and a presentation of the current excavations of Wood Quay. The museum is linked by a bridge to Christ Church. Parts of the building are visible and climbing the tower will give you spectacular views of Dublin’s skyline. There are three prime exhibitions in Dublinia: (1) Viking Dublin Exhibition, (2) Medieval Dublin Exhibition, and (3) History Hunter’s Exhibition. Visitors can explore the Viking times of Dublin, its settlement, what life is like on a Viking warship, the clothing, what it is like to be a slave, and how cramped Viking homes were. Visitors can learn the runic alphabet and learn the mythos of the time. Visitors can see medieval Dublin – following history from Strongbow to the Reformation, what warfare and crime/punishment was like in the times, and about the Black Death. Visitors can get a glimpse of the historic Dubin Faire. Tourists can also gain insight into modern archaeological practices and current digs in the area, the technology they use, and the tools they utilize. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.
Saveok Mill Lithics:
Saveok Water Archaeological Site, Greenbottom, Cornwall, England
During my June 2010 visit to Saveok Water Archaeological Site in Cornwall, England – I had the pleasure to peruse the lithic collection from the site. Excavation owner and director, Jacqui Wood has begun to do some intriguing investigations into the habitation patterns of this area of Cornwall. Many of the lithics have been found in Area: Oak where a shallow lake was believed to have let out. Several flint blades were located in this area. There have been over 29 worked pieces of flint found on the site as of this writing. Most of the blades are largely narrow and microlithic. Most of these are believed to date around the Late Mesolithic (8,000-3,500 BCE). Jacqui Wood’s Flint Analysis can be found here: http://www.archaeologyonline.org/Site%20-%20Report%20-%20Flint.html. Other debitage and larger stone tools also have been uncovered as pictured below. Check the Saveok Water Archaeology Site Website for details in the near future.
Saveok Mill Site
Greenbottom, Cornwall, England * http://www.archaeologyonline.org/index.html *
A small local farm in Greenbottom, Saveok Mill has placed itself on the archaeological map when resident Jacqui Wood discovered very curious archaeological features in her backyard when clearing the ground for a metal-work furnace on her land as one of her experimental archaeology projects. The current property, as “Saveok Mill” or now “Saveok Water”, is in its current evolution from the 17th century as a standing farm or community of 5 houses that once housed occupants who had worked at the local mill. When Jacqui Woods moved onto the property as her new home, little did she know what laid beneath her feet but none-other but an Archaeologist’s fantasy. Jacqui Woods, one of the world’s authorities on Prehistoric Cooking as well as Experimental Archaeology, who was also the consultant on the 1991 world famous discovery of the “Ice Man” could not believe her eyes with what she was uncovering. Since discovery, she has been excavating the finds at Saveok for at least the last 8 years. Jacqui has turned Saveok Mill into a Center for Experimental Archaeology, as well as home to archaeological field school sessions run and operated by herself. I first heard about the site in Archaeological Institute of America’s “Archaeology Magazine” article on the Cornwall Witches. Having been a subject of speciality for my graduate work research on the study of modern day Witches – this article struck a cord of harmonization within me as a means of continuing my research. I was extremely excited to visit this site that was revealing amongst the world’s first evidence of ritualistic practices of this nature all in one place. I made arrangements to visit with Jacqui in June of 2010.
Nestled in a sheltered river valley in Mid Cornwall England appears to be a ritualistic site that has been utilized as such for hundreds, if not thousands of years. The site dates from the Mesolithic (7,000-3,500 BCE) upwards to the 17th century of the Common Era (C.E.). Exposed in a trench along the south facing peak pank on the bend of the river between two shallow lakes were revealed Mesolithic remains ranging from evidence of dwellings, stone tools, and lithics. There are also well-preserved Animal Hoof prints along what was once the river or lake bed shoreline. Through time, this entire site was purposely covered over with various clays to make the river bank a suitable place for dwellings through the years. In an area that Jacqui Wood (excavation director and site manager) has labelled “A/2” there has been found the first phase of the site that is believed to be the Mesolithic dwelling platform (approximately 8,500 B.C.E. (Before the Common Era)) which is covered by a dense green clay floor surrounded by stony yellow clay in which stake holes were found to support the dwellings were driven. The next site phase determined appears to be a Neolithic ritual area was a series of Spring pools that may have been utilized as ‘purification pools’ or ‘sacred wells/springs’ through the ages. This natural spring line were large rectangular pools stone-lined with white quartz cores. As of this writing, there are at least two such pools on the site. Patterns of the stone lining, pool contents, and the seasonal filling of the second pool appears to have religious or ritualistic usage. Both of these features are very unique in Cornish archaeology – the only other such find was under the Maeshowe monument in Orkney that had a similar stone lined drain. The next phase of the site appears to have had ritualistic use by means of offering pits (upward of 35) primarily swan-feather lined with imported pebbles or additional elements in them that date from the late 1500’s to the 1640’s onward. Use of such offering pits during a period of turmoil in England when Cromwellian Puritans destroyed much of pre-Christian Pagan England along the countryside would not only have been extremely dangerous to practice, but simply unheard of for the time period as the practice of witchcraft often led to a death sentence. These offering pits are believed to be evidence of Cornwall Witchcraft practice throughout the ages. While lineage or written evidence for the site is lacking, the remains are vast and tie into much of the lore, practices, and belief systems utilized by Paganism in the area – standing as the most common-sense theory at this point in the investigations. These practices may or may not have been done by the former 17th century residents who built the dwellings that currently exist on the site. But some of the offering pits were certainly dug during their occupation. Ethnographic discussions with locals suggests that some of the land’s residents, the Burnett’s, were reputedly witches. Since anti-witchcraft laws were in place since 1541, their participation in these activities would have definitely remained hidden, for at this time the King James version of the Bible at the time declared into law that “thou shalt not suffer a witch to live“. [Exodus 22:17] The stone-line spring may have been utilized as a ‘holy well’ by these residents as well as its prehistoric use as such. The spring was packed full of ‘offerings’ dating to at least the 17th century including 125 strips of cloth from dresses and clothing, as well as pins, remains of a cauldron, cherry stones, human hair, shoe parts, imported heather branches, and nail clippings – all very commonly used offerings to sacred springs and wells. Modern day applications of these elements can be found existing in sacred wells and springs throughout the Cornish landscape today. Pins and cloth are common offerings to wells. Heather branches are associated with luck. The scraps of clothing could potentially have been remnants of ‘clotiers’ that are found around most of the wells throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland perhaps from a tree that was alongside the spring or just offered into the pool directly. (see modern example in article on “St Madron’s Well” located 25 miles from this site) This Well and/or Spring had sometime after the time of Cromwell had been filled in and destroyed in order to hide the practices that were taking place on this site since at least Neolithic times. The death penalty for the practice of Witchcraft officially ended in 1735 and by that time, evidence of this ritual site was covered over, and later residents of the site would have not been aware of what lie beneath.
The presumed ritualistic “offering pits” are generally 40 cm sq. x 17 cm depth earthen dug pits that were primarily carefully lined with the intact pelts of a swan and other bird remains such as claws and beaks from different species. Some of the pits had other animal elements including pigs, dogs, and cats. One was lined with the skin of a black cat and contained 22 eggs – all with chicks close to hatching, as well as cat claws, teeth, and whiskers. Another had a dog skin, dog teeth, and a baked pig jaw. Another pit had a mysterious 7 inch iron disk with a swan skin on one side and animal fur on the other. Based on ritualistic comparisons from Celtic Paganism, Witchcraft, Santeria, and Voodoo – such offering pits are common practice for fertility spells, sacrifice, and magical intentions. The abundant use of swan feathers, suggest fertility in this case, and based on local folklore could have been offering pits to the Goddess Brigid (now the Catholic St. Brigid) as per interviews with local witches and folklorists determined due to Brigid’s association with swans and fertility magic. According to local folklore and beliefs – the swan feathers associated with fertility were possibly offered her to promote conception. If conception took place – then 9 months later the person would return to empty the pit. This is the current explanation for some of the empty pits that were found. Some of the pits also contained leaf parcels of imported stones that have been traced to Swanpool Beach which is approximately 15 miles away from the site – a area famous for its population of swans. Not only were these practices at this time dangerous because of Cromwell, but the act of killing a swan would have been risky throughout English history as swans belong directly to the Crown. In addition within these feather pits were found over 57 unhatched eggs ranging in size from bantams to ducks that were flanked by the bodies of two magpies. Magpies are birds very tied to Cornish folklore and also seen as taboo to be utilized in such a way. These organic remains had incredible preservation on this site due to the Spring’s water-logged ground and mineral content. Radiocarbon dates of some of the swan feather fits date to 1640. The cat pit dates to the 18th century and the dog pit dates to the 1950’s. The combination of the holy well/spring, remains of the cauldron, ritual offerings to the well, swan feather lined offering pits, and other ritualistic evidence strongly suggested that this site was a ritual place for Cornish Witches. If this is the case, then Saveok Mill serves as one of the world’s best examples of sites of this kind since much of Witchcraft practice through the ages prior existed only in witches bottles and remains found in Salem, Massachussetts in the New World. Much of this fabled history, ressurrected by modern day Witches or continued by family tradition witches in the local area, has been buried in secrecy and buried underneath intentional cloaks of mystery. Until the modern era of the practice, written records of this religious movement and/or practice was next to non-existent.
In addition today for Saveok being a Archaeological Center and Site, as well as a training ground for future archaeologists, the location also serves for the groundbreaking launch ground for a number of Experimental Archaeology projects. Jacqui Wood through the last several years has been working on developing a re-created Iron Age village with roundhouses, kilns, and structures to explore into the lifeways of past. During my visit in June of 2010, I participated in their current project in Construction of an Iron Age Round House.
More photos and parts of the site:
More Pictures and Story to come …
Begijnhof and Chapel
*Zandvoorterweg 78 * 2111 GZ Aerdenhout * Tel. 023-5246229 * Fax. 023-5440081 * info: firstname.lastname@example.org * website: www.stille-omgang.nl
It was here, at the Begijnhof that a few days before Palm Sunday on March 15, 1345 a sick man in the Kalverstraat took the Sacrament of the sick from the local priest. The man vomited up the host, which was caught in a basin and thrown on the fire where it “appeared” to “float above the flames”. It was an amazing miracle. A woman then stretched out her hand into the flames to seize the host from the fire and put it in a case. She remained unburnt and unharmed from putting her hand in the fire when touching the host. The priest, who was from the Oude Kerkwas sent for and took the host back to the “Old Church”. The next day a woman in the house in the Kalverstraat opened the case and saw that the host had magically transported back. She sent for the priest again, and again he took the magic host back to the Old Church. The next day for a third time, the host transported back to the case in the sick man’s room. The miracle of the bread that didn’t burn and wouldn’t leave the house became known widespread. Again, the priest took the host, but this time returning to the Old Church with a solemn procession. The next year the Bishop Jan van Arkel declared this host to be a genuine miracle. Two years later, a church was built on the very spot where the miracle took place. As people joined a procession to take the holy sacrement through the streets of Amsterdam in mid-march to celebrate the Miracle. The Holy Stead Chapel (The Ter Heylighen Stede) was consecrated by the vicar-general of Bishop Jan van Arkel, the Bishop of Utrecht in 1347.
Damrak 18 * 1012 LH Amsterdam, Netherlands * +31 20 6228376 * http://www.sexmuseumamsterdam.nl/
A fabulous little two house two-story museum dedicated to sex, erotica, and the history of the arts through the ages. From prehistoric application, to the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians to modern day Amsterdam, one can walk through the history of copulation and play through the ages. It is also the world’s first and oldest sex museum, the “Venustempel” in Amsterdam. A leading museum on the theme of sensual love with an extensive collection of erotic pictures, paintings, objects, recordings, photographs and even attractions. All of the exhibits have been gathered together personally by the owners and can be viewed in their 17th century property on the Damrak. The collection is continually growing. One of my favorite stops in Amsterdam. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Fortress Marienberg / Castle Marionburg
* Festung Marienberg * Nr. 239 * 97082 Würzburg * Telephone (09 31) 3 55 17-50 *
Festung Marienberg is a humongous fortress along the Main river in Wurzburg, Germany. A fort since ancient times, it is one of the most prominent landmarks along the Main. Originally a Celtic settlement and shelter, the Marienkirche was built in 704 AD and by the 13th century was surrounded by its first fortifications. By 1492 the main castle was encircled by a medieval ring wall with the Scherenberg gate. In May of 1525 the Peasant’s War attempted unsuccessfully to sieze the castle – with 15,000 men failing. Their leader Florian Geyer went to Rothenburg ob der Tauber in early June to procure the heavy guns needed to breach these walls while the leaderless peasant army camped around the castle and thereby outflaked by the bishop’s professional army. More than 8,000 were slaughtered or blinded. In 1600 Julius Echter rebuilt the fortress into a Renaissance palace. Continue reading Fortress Marienberg (Wurzburg, Germany)
Wurzburg is a Franconia city in the northern tip of Bavaria, Germany. It is located on the Main River approximately 120 kms from Frankfurt and Nuremberg by road and it is a center for culture, exports, trade, and commerce. It is the capital of the Regierungsbezirk Unterfranken. It is a German speaking city with the regional dialect as Franconian. The city itself is not included in the district of Wurzburg but is its administrative seat and holds a population of roughly 131,320 (2006 census). Wurzburg started as a Celtic fortification in 1000 BC where the Castle Marienberg now stands. As it was Christianized in 686 by Kilian, Colman, and Totnan; a group of Irish missionaries wanting to convert the area. First called Vurteburch in 704, the first diocese was founded by Saint Boniface in 742 who appointed Saint Burkhard as the first bishop of Wurzburg. The bishops created a duchy in the center of the city which extended throughout the 12th century to Eastern Franconia. Wurzburg became the seat of several Imperial diets, including the one of 1180, in which Henry the Lion was banned from the Empire and his duchy was handed over to Otto of Wittelsbach. [wikipedia] In 788, the first church was built and became the present Würzburg Cathedral and was later consecrated that same year by Charlemagne. It was converted to Romanesque style from 1040 to 1225. Wurzburg is also home to the infamous University: The University of Würzburg, which was founded in 1402 and re-founded in 1582.
The fabled city of Worms is a city in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, on the Rhine River. In 2004 its population was 85,829. The city was originally called Borbetomagus by the Celts who established it first (meaning “settlement in a watery area”), and it may very well be the “Oldest City in Germany” (of course Trier and Cologne are also fighting for this title). The city was captured and fortified by the Romans under Drusus in 14 BC and named Augusta Vangionum for this garrison but still held the name Borbetomagus. The Roman garrison was developed into a small town with a regularized Roman street plan, forum, temples for Jupiter/Juno/Minerva (upon which of course was built the Cathedral later) and Mars. Roman inscriptions/altars/votive offerings are preserved in the town’s archaeological museum along with one of Europe’s largest collections of Roman glass. Continue reading Worms, Germany
Friday, 3 April 2009
The adventurers got off to a late start on their travels as they were taking a road trip in Lady Vanessa’s motor carriage to “Worms” to see the mythical band “Faun” in hopes that the music will shed some light about this “sacred” key they are questing for. Along the road trip down the autobahn to Worms, many scenic farmyards, castles, and cathedrals loomed along the landscape giving the quest a medieval twist. The adventurers in search of the sacred key travelled hours to the Dragon city of “Worms”, Germany. Medieval cathedral welcoming them as they made their way to its base where the Jugend-herberge was located (youth hostel). Brilliant and enormous building dedicated to International travellers of all ages. Alas, since Lady Vanessa is from the Rhine and not an international guest, she had to purchase a 20 Euro membership on top of the 18.50 Euro room fee. The party did however score their own room with bunk beds, private bath/shower/toilette. After unloading their bags they went in search for the key, and keys they did find. The city of Worms emblem is a key and it was everywhere. Messages clued the party for answers to their queries as they visited each of the city dragons for answers. They visited at least 8 of the city dragons.
www.museenkoeln.de – 0221 22124438 – 32 Bewertungen * Cologne, Germany
In the heart of the city center right to the side of the Cologne Cathedral, lies Cologne’s German/Roman Museum. The Roman-Germanic Museum (RGM, in German: Römisch-Germanisches Museum) is one of the better archaeological museums in the region. This museum houses and protects a humongous collection of Roman artifacts from the Roman settlement Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium, on which modern Cologne is built. The museum is also an archaeological site as it also protects the original place of a Roman town villa, down in the basement, of which the large Dionysus Mosaic remains in its original place and the related Roman Road just outside. Within the museum is an institution to preserve the Cologne Roman cultural heritage, and therefore preserves wonderful Roman glass from Roman funerals and burial. This archaeological function also includes the supervision of the Cologne underground, which is now under construction. Continue reading Roman-German Museum, Cologne, Germany
Imhoff-Schokoladenmuseum (Chocolate Museum)
* Schokoladenmuseum Köln GmbH * (Chocolate Museum Cologne) * Am Schokoladenmuseum 1a * D-50678 Cologne * schokoladenmuseum.de
Opening hours: Tues. to Fri. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sat., Sun., holidays* 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; closed on Mondays. Admission prices:
adults 7.50 EUR; groups of 15 or more: 7.00 EUR; visitors entitled to reduction 5.00 EUR; groups of 15 or more: 4.50 EUR
One of Cologne’s famous museums, the Imhoff-Schokoladenmuseum (Imhoff chocolate museum) was opened by Hans Imhoff on 31 Oktober 1993. Located on the Cologne quarter Altstadt-Süd on the Rheinau-peninsula. The Museum and exhibition demonstrates the whole history of chocolate, from its beginning with the Olmecs, The Maya, The Aztecs, up through the contemporary products and their production methods. The museum is run by the Schokoladenmuseum Köln GmbH and is partnered by the Swiss Chocolate producer Lindt & Sprüngli since the March of 2006. Prior to 2006 it was partnered with the Cologne chocolate producer Stollwerck, which was also shown by the former name of the museum (Imhoff-Stollwerck-Museum). Within the complex is a small tropiarium entered through temperature locks in a glass cube with 10 metres edge length showing cacao trees of the species Theobroma cacao and Theobroma grandiflorum. Also within are Several production machineries were built as miniatures, so that you can have a look at the production process of the small chocalate bars, which are given to the visitors at the entrance of the museum. A special attraction is the three metres high chocolate fountain, at which a woman dips wafers in the liquid chocolate and distributes them to the visitors. A museum lies upstairs with Olmec, Aztec, Mayan, and European artifacts from throughout the ages. Valuable collectables displayed are porcellain and silver bowls of the 18th and 19th century and pieces from pre-Columbian Mesoamerica for drinking chocolate. There are alsohistorical machines on display and hollow molds for casting chocolate figures. A small theater showing the comedical advertisements and films of chocolate through the ages in Europe. Also presented is a collection of historical chocolate vending machines and games for learning. A gift shop and tantalizing restaurant/cafe lie below and outside along the Rhine. For any chocolate fan, this is a must visit exhibit in Cologne. Rating: 5 stars out of 5. Continue reading Chocolate Museum, Cologne, Germany
* Cologne, Germany *
Cologne Cathedral is a World Heritage Site and is one of the best known architectural monuments in Germany and Cologne’s most famous. It is 144.5 metres long, 86.5 m wide and its two towers are 157 m tall. The Cathedral (German: Kölner Dom, officially Hohe Domkirche St. Peter und Maria) is the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne, under the administration of the Roman Catholic Church and is renowned as a monument of Christianity, of Gothic architecture and of the faith and perseverance of the people of the city in which it stands. It is dedicated to Saint Peter and the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is one of the world’s largest churches and the largest Gothic Church in Northern Europe. It was the tallest structure in the world from 1880-1884 until the construction of the Washington Monument. It possessed the second-tallest church spires only surpassed by the single spire of Ulm Cathedral completed in 1890. It holds the position of the largest facade of any church in the world. The church construction began in 1248 and took over 600 years to construct when it was finalized in 1880. It was built atop a grain store that was succeeded by a Roman Temple built by Mercurius Augustus which was followed by 4th century Christian buildings including a square edifice that was commissioned by Maternus as the oldest cathedral at that time. In 1164 the Archbishop of Cologne, Rainald of Dassel acquired relics of the Three Kings which had been taken from Milan in Italy by the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick Barbarossa and were properly housed on this spot. The foundation stones laid on August 15, 1248. When construction stopped in the 1800’s, it wasn’t until 1842 that a civic effort raised two thirds of the enormous costs to resume work on the original design of the surviving medieval plans and drawings and the bells were installed in the 1870s. The completion in 1880 was celebrated as a national event, 632 years after construction began. The cathedral suffered fourteen hits by aerial bombs during World War II. It did not collapse, but stood tall in an otherwise flattened city. Believers said it was divine intervention. In June 1945, the cathedral was abused as a rifle range by American troops. The repairs to the building were completed in 1956. On August 25, 2007, the cathedral received a new stained glass in the south transept window. With 113 square metres of glass, the window was created by the German artist Gerhard Richter. In 1996, the cathedral was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List of culturally important sites. In 2004 it was placed on the “World Heritage in Danger” list due to nearby high-rise building and its visual impact upon the site, as the only Western site in danger. The cathedral was removed from the List of In Danger Sites in 2006, following the authorities’ decision to limit the heights of buildings constructed near and around the cathedral. The cathedral is open every day from 6.00am to 7.30pm; admission is free except for tower ascent and the treasury. Visitors can climb 509 steps of the spiral staircase to a viewing platform about 98 metres above the ground. [abstracted from Wikipedia and the Cathedral’s information pamphlets : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cologne_Cathedral]
COLOGNE (Köln), GERMANY
State: North Rhine-Westphalia; Area: 405.15 km˛ (156.4 sq mi); Elevation: 37 m (121 ft) above sea level; Population: 995,397 (31 December 2007); Founded: 50 AD. Website: www.stadt-koeln.de
Cologne (German: Köln (help·info), IPA: [kśln]; local dialect: Kölle [?kś??]) is Germany’s fourth-largest city (after Berlin, Hamburg and Munich), and is the largest city both in the German Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants. It is one of the oldest cities in Germany, having been founded by the Romans in the year 38 BC. Cologne was granted the status of a Roman “city” in the year 50 AD. The city is one of Rhineland’s most spectacular cultural centers and is located along the Rhine River and most famous for its media, art, theater, mimes, shopping, fashion, the Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) and the University of Cologne (Universität zu Köln) which is one of Europe’s oldest universities. Cologne has over 30 museums and hundred of art galleries. The exhibitions range from local art, theater, and local ancient Roman archeological sites to contemporary graphics and sculpture. The city’s Trade Fair Grounds are host to a number of trade shows such as the Art Cologne Fair, the International Furniture Fair (IMM) and the Photokina. Cologne is also well-known for its celebration of Cologne Carnival, the annual reggae summerjam, and the gay/lesbian pride festival Christopher Street Day (CSD).
LVR-Archaeological Park Xanten / LVR-RömerMuseum
* Trajanstraße 4, 46509 Xanten, Germany * Phone: +49 (0) 28 01 / 712 – 0 * email@example.com * http://www.apx.de/english/archaeologicalpark/rec_buildings/amphitheatre.htm
During the Roman occupation, their engineers built a new type of building where they could entertain their citizens with spectacular performances: A theatre enclosed on both sides (Greek: amphi-theatre). The APX is one of the few places north of the Alps where the fascination of these buildings is still tangible. These theatres held gladiator games of men vs men, beast, and animal; theatre; chariot races in the circus; and large public events. Some of these events are re-enacted during the tourist seasons when various events take place on the grounds. Just like then, as is now, the amphitheater is packed to its rafters with spectators. Visitors would come from far and wide to partake of the events. The seating was sufficient to accomodate roughly the entire population of Colonia. The amphitheater was reconstructed in the early 1980’s atop the original pillars discovered during the excavations. Lower terraces and one-quarter of the upper have been reconstructed revealing the building’s dimensions of 99 meters long x 10 meters high. Commoners sat in the upper rows, three bottom rows provided sufficient space for the city’s dignitaries to make themselves comfortable in armchairs. Rooms for the gladiators and cages for the animals were below with a passageway running through the vaults below the terraces. T
Today, the amphitheatre is once again the scene of regular performances, albeit without shedding a single drop of blood. Artistes of international renown come to Xanten to perform in the operas, operettas and musicals during the Summer Festival. Gladiator fights are one of the highlights of the Roman Festival Swords, Bread and Games. The gladiators also present their authentic equipment during the Roman Weekends in summer.
Continue reading The Roman Amphitheater at Xanten (Germany)
The Harbour Temple (Colonia Upia Traiana)
LVR-Archaeological Park Xanten / LVR-RömerMuseum
* Trajanstraße 4, 46509 Xanten, Germany * Phone: +49 (0) 28 01 / 712 – 0 * firstname.lastname@example.org * http://www.apx.de/english/archaeologicalpark/rec_buildings/harbour+temple.htm
In the Archaeologie Park resides a partially reconstructed ruins of an ancient Roman temple of which is unknown which God/dess(es) were worshipped. It stands tall with columns and partially reconstructed walls to give the visitors an idea of the size of the monument and what it may have looked like. Climbing downstairs, the originally walls and structure can be found and protected from the elements as was left after excavation. Interpretive signs in German surround the inside of the basement to explain the temple. It is named “the Harbour temple”, which is probably the most phenomenal structure on the Park’s grounds. Easy to see from a distance, towering as a high-profile landmark of Roman culture far above the city walls, clearly visible from ships approaching the Colonia Ulpia Triana on the river Rhine. The temple was the second-largest in the city after the Capital and is similar to most Roman temple designs. It would have been dedicated to a deity but research has not revealed the identity of this God/dess. It was given the name of “Harbour Temple” during the excavations on account of its proximity to the harbour. There are several parts of the temple reconstructed on a three metre high podium. Several full-sized pillars were reconstructed with roof beam fitted to give some impression of the effect created by this magnificent edifice of a total height of 27 meters. Details of the Temple reproduced on the basis of innumerable fragments found during the excavations. One of the pillars has been painted in colour to illustrate the temple’s originally magnificent colouring. Wide and thin steps lead up to the temple’s podium and its cella where the ritual acts took place. In the Roman times, only a select group of people could enter the temple, ordinary mortals were not allowed. The foundation plate of the temple and its innumerable fragments were discovered during the excavations in 1977, many of which are on exhibit in the Museum. You can view the foundation through the back of the temple, for the reconstructed building stands over it like a protective shield.
Continue reading The Harbour Temple at the Xanten Archaeological Park (Germany)
, Segment C
Sunday, 29 March 2009
After the Museum we wandered back into the carriage for a spin to the Archaeologie Park lot, where we walked through the gates of the the city, and ventured over to the Temple of Lost Gods (they do not know who the temple was dedicated to as the information is lost). Exploring the ruins of the temple, quite bare and empty, we wandered down below to the original ruins as above was the reconstructed lot. Again, no hints or suggestions for our adventure. Exploring the Park remains of the city, where Lord Sven and Lady Brea were toying around with the electric fence that were keeping in the sheep, we made our way to the ancient game room for some puzzle play where Princess Brea accidentally left her handbag undiscovered until we were gone later that evening. On to the Colloseum where games are still held, as well as concerts. Then to the recreated bath houses. A good day was had by the exploration party, and to wrap it up we went back to Lord Sven’s flat for some cake and tea. Thanks to Sven for his wonderful hospitality! Back at Christian and Vanessa’s flat, the explorers settled down to an evening watching “The Gamers” which they found quite hilarious. All parties exhausted, it was time for sleep.