Skip to comments.Crystals 'helped Viking sailors' (For Viking fans....and others, of course).
Posted on 02/07/2007 2:04:03 PM PST by Jedi Master Pikachu
Vikings may have used a special crystal called a sunstone to help navigate the seas even when the sun was obscured by fog or cloud, a study has suggested.
Researchers from Hungary ran a test with sunstones in the Arctic ocean, and found that the crystals can reveal the sun's position even in bad weather.
This would have allowed the Vikings to navigate successfully, they say.
The sunstone theory has been around for 40 years, but some academics have treated it with extreme scepticism.
Researcher Gabor Horvath from Eotvos University in Budapest led a team that spent a month recording polarisation - how rays of light display different properties in different directions - in the Arctic.
Polarisation cannot be seen with the naked eye, but it can be viewed with what are known as birefringent crystals, or sunstones.
Birefringence, or double refraction, is the splitting of a light wave into two different components - an ordinary and an extraordinary ray.
The researchers found that the crystals could be used to find out where the sun was in the sky in certain foggy or cloudy conditions.
It is already thought that Vikings used sundials aboard ships to navigate.
Vikings were a seafaring race from Scandinavia who used their longboats to explore and conquer parts of Europe, Greenland, Iceland and Russia.
In that Epic "The Vikings" Tony Curtis lead the maurauders with a moonstone which was in essence a piece of a meteorite which was magnitized. It pointed north and with a knowledge of the wind and waves it was almost as good as a Garmon!
Now this is your department.
It obviously hasn't helped them to win any Super Bowls.
Appreciated. Interesting story.
If they were used as time-keeping pieces in the navigational computations, then that might imply the Vikings assumed the earth was round.
That's cool, where can you get one? And how do they know the Vikings used one? When the sun reaches its highest point in the sky, local noon, it is due south exactly, I believe. Pretty helpful.
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There is a persistent theory that Vikings found their way to the South Seas, and settled (amongst other places) in New Zealand.
Speakeing personally, I'd have no at all difficulty believing this theory: their longboats were more than sufficiently seaworthy, and they had an idea-or-two about how to do long trips by boat.
And this would explain several persistent Maori tales about blond, white, faerie people who inhabited New Zealand before the Maori settled here.
It has also been postulated that the Phoenecians got here, at some point, prior to the big Taupo volcanic explosion. Again, I have no difficulty believing this.
Worst case scenario: if you were on a log, cast adrift somewhere in the South Pacific, the prevailing currents would in all likelihood sweep you toward NZ and wash you ashore. Or, at least, that is my reading of the maps...
My neighbor is from NZ. He said the Maori ate the White people.
> My neighbor is from NZ. He said the Maori ate the White people.
It wouldn't surprise me at all if it were so. There are several Maori legends that speak of pale-colored "faerie" people who lived in the bush, amongst which are tales of Te Arawa, who are the famous and noble tribe that populates the lands in-and-around Rotorua.
Maori were cannibals, of necessity: after they killed off the Moa, there would have been precious little protein in New Zealand to be had...
...except the human kind. Cannibalism is a matter of historical record in New Zealand. The Maori were (and are) a very fierce and proud warrior society and they would most naturally have sought to be well-fed. Cannibalism doesn't happen now (or even in recent memory), but a few hundred years ago, of course it did.
There is a bloke who lives just up the road from me, in Waiatarua, who has found "intereting" evidence that strongly suggests a Phoenician settlement in/around Taupo and also in Australia just prior to the Taupo volcanic event.
He has found rock carvings that show detailed maps of the world. Fights between people riding MOA birds (huge ostrich-type birds extinct for many hundreds of years). Phoenecian-style boats.
I've read his book, seen the tracings of his rock carvings. And I have met him briefly, once. He may be eccentric perhaps: there's nothing wrong with that. And he may just be right.
Me, I say:
"In earthe, skye, and sea
Straynge thynges there be."
He could easily, easily be right. Each day we learn that our Ancestors were smarter than we thought. So why *not* a Phoenecian settlement in New Zealand? They could *most certainly* have made the trip, easily and safely.
Who says the Maori were the first to accidently shipwreck ashore in New Zealand? Highly unlikely, given the predominant currents and tides...
...this ol' world is alot older than we think, and there are plenty more surprises in store for us, if we only keep looking!
This is an interesting question - one that is easily answered.
Ever wonder how sightings were taken at sea when there was a heavy overcast or a storm and the sun was NOT visible?
At High Noon, the sun will be at its highest point and no matter how bad the cloud cover is, the sun will ALWAYS be visible at the noon hour, briefly perhaps, slightly dimmed by clouds, but still with enough resolution to make a sighting.
Ask a sailor.
Forget the Mystic Crystal Revelations..
I live in south FL, where it is seldom cloudy all day anyhow, so it may necessarily be awhile before I get a chance to check this out. For the moment, I'm ready to be educated, but am not convinced yet. Very interesting.
Actually it would have pointed to an area in northern Canada as Magnetic North & True North are not the same thing. The differential would have been pretty great for somebody attempting to navigate along the islands of Iceland, Greenland toward Labrador. Still a fixed reference, properly understood, would have helped.
I think the early Viking "World Model" was that of a flat, circular earth with landmasses all the way round the edge surrounding an inner sea (the Atlantic). That said, they could have come to understand that the world was 'round' from contacts with Greeks & Arabs.
Also, I recently read and article about the Maori DNA. It said the mtDNA (female) DNA was from a different group than the male DNA.
The speculation is that the male explorers 'picked-up' females from another racial group during their expansion.
BTW, my neighbor is a rugby fan and his favorite team is the 'All Blacks' and he attributes their winning ways to the agressiveness of the Maori members on the team.
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