British Museum Iron Age virtual exhibit

Heather writes:

One of my web design e-newsletters had a link to the indoors Google Street View of the British Museum. So I wandered around a bit and found this… Celtic Life in Iron Age Britain: A British Museum exhibition of Iron Age objects from collections across the UK.

Happy St. Brice’s Day

November 13th, 1002 Æþelræd Unræd ordered the slaughter of all the Danes in England. Although at that point Aethelraed could only really enforce his will in about a third of his domain, this ill-advised plan did manage to cause the death of Harald Bluetooth’s daughter Gunhilde, and in some histories the St. Brice’s Day Massacre leads directly to the conquest of England by the Danish King Sweyn Forkbeard (Gunhilde’s brother) and Sweyn’s son Knut the Great.

Cryptic sword

British Library museum shelfmark 1858,1116.5

13th century double-edged European knightly sword, 2lb 10oz (1.2kg), 38″ (964mm) long and 6½” (165mm) across the quillons. Found in the river Witham, Lincolnshire, in July 1825, and presented to the Royal Archaeological Institute by the registrar to the Bishop of Lincoln. The blade was broken near the tip and mended “in modern times” according to the British Library website.

Said to bear an indecipherable inscription “+NDXOXCHWDRCHWDRCHDXORUN” inlaid in gold wire on one side, but to me it looks more like “+NDXOXCHWDRCHWDRCHDXORVI+”.

London underground. No, not that one.

New Statesman:

How many of these once perfectly functioning and possibly still serviceable diggers are petrified underneath central London, like those Romans preserved cowering in the corners of houses in Pompeii? Estimates vary. One property developer I asked reckoned at least 1,000; another put the figure at more like 500.

BLDBLG:

London is thus becoming a machine cemetery, with upwards of £5 million worth of excavators now lying in state beneath the houses of the 1%. Like tools invented by M.C. Escher, these sacrificial JCB*s have excavated the very holes they are then ritually entombed within, turning the city into a Celtic barrow for an age of heroic machinery.

I suppose this is all very well and good until somebody blunders into a plague pit.

*A “JCB” is what a Briton calls an excavator made by Lord Joseph Cyril Bamburg, CBE.

Unexpected fairness from UK PM

British Prime Minister David Cameron on the BBC’s desire to exclude the British Green Party from televised debates: “[The BBC] can’t have some minor parties in and not other parties in”.

“The Greens have a member of parliament, they beat the Liberal Democrats in the last national election – the European Elections, so I don’t see how you can have UKIP and not the Greens. That is my very strong opinion.”

BBC political editor Nick Robinson claims the PM’s private view is “if we, the Conservatives, are to get hurt by the people to our right, UKIP, then Labour and the Liberal Democrats should get hurt by people to their left, the Green Party”.

Sounds to me like Robinson & the BBC are at least as guilty of manipulation as Cameron is. In any case, Cameron says he will not debate if the Greens are excluded. Good show, lad.

The White Tower

The header today is a panoramic view of the Tower of London, taken by #1 son. This is only part of that panorama – the whole thing can’t really be made to fit WordPress’s header aspect.

When I was younger I had a mental image of the Tower as something resembling a chess rook, with the heads of traitors on spikes over the portcullis and shivering naked miscreants suspended in cages from the walls.

Even though I’ve known for decades that my vision of William the Conqueror’s citadel was totally wrong (well, except the heads and cages part) I was unprepared for the sheer size and magnificence of this fortress. I wish we’d had more time to explore, and I hope we can go back some day.

948 A.H. today

With all due deference to the judgement of the lords of creation on all subjects connected with policy and science, we venture to think that our learned friends, the archæologists and antiquaries, would do well to devote their intellectual powers to more masculine objects of enquiry, and leave the question of the Bayeux tapestry (with all other matters allied to needle-craft) to the decision of the ladies to whose province it belongs.