Skip to comments.Anglo Saxon Brooch Has Oldest Writing In English
Posted on 06/07/2003 6:14:03 PM PDT by blam
Anglo Saxon brooch has oldest writing in English
By Paul Stokes
What is believed to be the oldest form of writing in English ever found has been uncovered in an Anglo-Saxon burial ground. It is in the form of four runes representing the letters N, E, I and M scratched on the back of a bronze brooch from around AD650. The six inch cruciform brooch is among one million artefacts recovered from a site at West Heslerton, near Malton, North Yorks, since work began there in 1978. Dominic Powlesland, the archaeologist leading the excavation team, said: "This could well be the earliest example of written English we know of.
"Only one or two other runic inscriptions from around this period have been found, but this is either the earliest or one of them. We have no idea what the letters mean, except that it would have been something in early English.
"Whether it is a charm of some form, a person's initials or the first letters of a phrase is something only future research will be able to determine. It was obviously something treasured by its owner as it had been carefully repaired."
The site alongside the cemetery is the first Anglo-Saxon settlement in Britain to be forensically excavated using modern techniques.
Mr Powlesland, the director of the Landscape Research Centre, an archaeological charity funded by English Heritage, said the discovery had forced a re-think of what were known as the "Dark Ages" after the fall of the Roman Empire.
He said: "It shows that a well-ordered, sophisticated society existed in the fourth century as the Roman world was collapsing. Previous thinking suggested that the Anglo-Saxons lived in squalor and near chaos."
English Heritage has provided £55,000 to display the finds at Malton Museum.
Obviosly, this is the oldest sign of the Viking Kitties.
Give me a minute and I'll give you the latest archaeological news on the Vikings.
The Viking fossil is a key attraction at the museum Archaeologists are carrying out one of their most delicate projects to date - the careful restoration of 1200-year-old human faeces.
Measuring 20cm by 5cm, the exhibit is thought to be the largest fossilised human excrement ever found.
But despite surviving for well over 1,000 years, the Viking relic was broken into three pieces during a recent school visit to its home, the Archaeological Resource Centre (Arc) in York.
Now team member Gill Snape, a student from the University of Bradford, has the unenviable task of restoring the artefact to its former glory.
But despite admitting she has "never done anything quite like this before", the 21-year-old told BBC News Online it was not quite the revolting job people assumed.
"It's rock hard, it doesn't smell and it's certainly not squishy," said Ms Snape.
Museum chiefs are desperate to see their star exhibit glued back together because it is popular with the schoolchildren that make up a large percentage of their visitors.
"The kids loved it," Ms Snape added.
"We've even had thank you letters saying 'thank you for showing us the poo'."
After it is delicately glued back together, Ms Snape said the fossil would be mounted on perspex for visitors to "fully appreciate its glory as the centrepiece of the Arc".
And she had a message for anyone who doubted the impressive stature of the item, which was discovered in 1972 on land now occupied by Lloyds TSB Bank in York.
"It's huge - and bear in mind it's shrunk since it was deposited," she added
Read This about Cheddar Man.
restoring the artefact to its former glory.
the fossil would be mounted on perspex for visitors to "fully appreciate its glory as the centrepiece of the Arc".
It's poo. What's so glorifing about it? Why don't I get an award evey time I do that?
You know, you have to wonder if perhaps that Viking is looking down from heaven, going, "Oh god, they're doomed. You know thet're doomed when they're fascinated with poo. They're absolutely doomed..."
What about Teddy (the swimmer) Kennedy?
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.