Friday, July 24, 2009

In Review: Leif Erikson Day Celebration 2007

In honor of the great European explorer Leif Erikson’s discovery of North America, several dozen Nationalists gathered in downtown Philadelphia to pay tribute to his noble & historic voyage. Meeting in a small gazebo set high above the picturesque boat house row section of Philadelphia, we waited as local friends and family began to arrive.

As 3 o’clock came and gone we gathered our friends for a brief walk along Kelly Dr. to the beautiful Viking Statue of Thorfinn Karlsefni, whose son Snorri Karlsefni is thought to of been the first recorded European born on American soil over 1000 years ago.

Following the laying of a wreath fitted with a ribbon of the adopted Vinladic colors (green and black), several speakers took turns reciting the history of Leif Erikson's historic voyage. Along with poems, fascinating tales of the Vikings encounters with Indians, and even the sagas of Thorfinn and his son Snorri were told, its was a beautiful event indeed.

After returning to our vehicles we proceeded to a local venue for a night of acoustic Viking & Celtic folk music.

First up was Paul, the bassist of now defunct hardcore band Teardown. An extremely talented musician, Paul kicked the night off with some classic pieces using his fiddle, and even spicing things up with a brief rendition of Slayers “Raining blood”. Quickly moving on to the flute and the acoustic guitar Paul definitely managed to warm up the night.

Next up was the much and always requested efforts of George, lead guitarist and vocalist of WotanOrden. As usual he got the crowd going, tapping and clapping along to everyone’s favorite Celtic tunes, a definite crowd pleaser. He was even joined in by members of the McBastards for a rendition of Wild Rover, which got everyone clapping and singing together.

And finally wrapping up the night was the newest band out of Pennsylvania, The McBastards, a group with various corroborators dedicated to classic Irish music and having a good laugh. Playing from the heart these guys kept the night going strong with many a good songs and some classics from the late Ian Stuart.

All and all it was an excellent day, beautiful weather, good friends and a big attendance for a great cause. We’d like to thank everyone that came out to contribute their support. This is definitely something that we’ll be doing next year on a much larger scale. So keep your eyes open for next year's Leif Erikson celebration!

Expert declares Vinland map genuine: Medieval Map Showing America May Be Real

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – The 15th century Vinland Map, the first known map to show part of America before explorer Christopher Columbus landed on the continent, is almost certainly genuine, a Danish expert said Friday.

Controversy has swirled around the map since it came to light in the 1950s, many scholars suspecting it was a hoax meant to prove that Vikings were the first Europeans to land in North America -- a claim confirmed by a 1960 archaeological find.

Doubts about the map lingered even after the use of carbon dating as a way of establishing the age of an object.

"All the tests that we have done over the past five years -- on the materials and other aspects -- do not show any signs of forgery," Rene Larsen, rector of the School of Conservation under the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, told Reuters.

He presented his team's findings at an international cartographers' conference in the Danish capital Friday.

The map shows both Greenland and a western Atlantic island "Vinilanda Insula," the Vinland of the Icelandic sagas, now linked by scholars to Newfoundland where Norsemen under Leif Eriksson settled around AD 1000.

Larsen said his team carried out studies of the ink, writing, wormholes and parchment of the map, which is housed at Yale University in the United States.

He said wormholes, caused by wood beetles, were consistent with wormholes in the books with which the map was bound.

He said claims the ink was too recent because it contained a substance called anatase titanium dioxide could be rejected because medieval maps have been found with the same substance, which probably came from sand used to dry wet ink.

American scholars have carbon dated the map to about 1440, about 50 years before Columbus "discovered" the New World in 1492. Scholars believe it was produced for a 1440 church council at Basel, Switzerland.

The Vinland Map is not a "Viking map" and does not alter the historical understanding of who first sailed to North America. But if it is genuine, it shows that the New World was known not only to Norsemen but also to other Europeans at least half a century before Columbus's voyage.

It was bought from a Swiss dealer by an American after the British Museum turned it down in 1957.

It was subsequently bought for Yale University by a wealthy Yale alumnus, Paul Mellon, and published with fanfare in 1965.

The lack of a provenance has caused much of the controversy. Where the map came from and how it came into the hands of the Swiss dealer after World War Two remain a mystery.