Wired reports the results of an interesting study of ancient human DNA.
Nearly 6,000 years ago, in a seaside marshland in what is now southern Denmark, a woman with blue eyes and dark hair and skin popped a piece of chewing gum in her mouth. Not spearmint gum, mind you, but a decidedly less palatable chunk of black-brown pitch, boiled down from the bark of the birch tree. An indispensable tool in her time, birch pitch would solidify as it cooled, so the woman and her comrades would have had to chew it before using it as a sort of superglue for, say, making tools. Our ancient subject may have even chewed it for its antiseptic properties, perhaps to ease the pain of an infected tooth.
Eventually she spit out the gum, and six millennia later, scientists found it and ran the blob through a battery of genetic tests. They not only found the chewerâ€™s full genome and determined her sex and likely skin and hair and eye color, they also revealed her oral microbiomeâ€”the bacteria and viruses that pack the human mouthâ€”as well as finding the DNA of hazelnut and duck she may have recently consumed. All told, from a chunk of birch pitch less than an inch long, the researchers have painted a remarkably detailed portrait of the biology and behavior of an ancient human.
When that birch pitch hit the ground 5,700 years ago, the European continent was playing host to a full-tilt transformation of its human residents. Agriculture was spreading north from the Middle East, and humans were literally and figuratively planting rootsâ€”if youâ€™re looking after crops, youâ€™re staying put and building up infrastructure to support your efforts, not following around herds of wild game.
But several converging lines of evidence indicate that this gum-chewing woman actually was a hunter-gatherer, thousands of years after the invention of agriculture. For one, previous analyses have allowed scientists to associate certain genes with either agricultural or hunter-gatherer lifestyles. They did this by matching DNA samples with archaeological evidence for those peopleâ€”farming tools versus hunting tools, for instance.
The genetics of this ancient woman point to the hunter-gatherer way of life, matched with contemporaneous archeological evidence from the area. â€œYou find lots of fish traps and eel-catching prongs and spears,â€ says University of Copenhagen geneticist Hannes Schroeder, coauthor on a new paper in Nature Communications describing the findings. Evidence of a more settled lifestyle at the site only came later in history.
natus.dk:In 1952 Thorvald Nielsen was dredging a ditch in a small bog at RÃ¸rby in western Zealand. He found an ornamented curved sword of bronze that had been stuck diagonally into the turf. The sword was from the beginning of the Bronze Age, around 1600 BC, and was the first of its kind to be found in Denmark. It was handed in as treasure trove to the National Museum, but the story does not end there. In 1957, when Thorvald Jensen was digging up potatoes around the same place, he uncovered yet another curved sword. The second curved sword was ornamented like the first, but it was also decorated with a picture of a ship. This is the oldest example of a ship image from Denmark.
A peculiar class of swords emerge in the earliest periods of the Danish Bronze Age, namely the curved sword. The specimens from RÃ¸rby Mose, western Zealand, are amongst some of the most impressive armament finds from the Early Bronze Age.
The first of these swords was found by chance in 1952. Five years later, again by chance, the second was found, only a few meters away from the location of the first. The two swords are nearly identical and both intensively decorated with geometric patterns which reveal a date of c. 1600-1500 BC .
The second of the swords found at RÃ¸rby, however, features a distinctive depiction of a boat on its blade and is the earliest known of its kind in the history of Denmark The depiction is strikingly similar to the boats contained in the many Bronze Age rock art panels of Scandinavia as well as the Hjortspring boat from around 350 BC. In a certain sense, the morphology of the RÃ¸rby swords, with their curved extremes, also bear some resemblances to these boats.
Although impressive, there is little to suggest that these curved swords had any combative function. They are massive and unwieldy and their morphology does simply not allow for any functional interpretation in combative terms. Being made of expensive bronze and so intensely decorated with fine geometric patterns, the swords can more appropriately be assigned to a symbolic role.
John Davis reports that the Danish Government has been reduced to begging men, via advertising from the state travel agency, to have sex with Danish women.
Denmark, however, has fallen ill to a festering infection known as â€œfeminism.â€ It is the same illness that has taken hold of the rest of Scandanavia, Western Europe and the UK. Because of this gender infirmity, Denmarkâ€™s birth rate, and, its population growth, has been plummeting (as is true with most of Western Europe).
Feminism has given women in Denmark an immunity from civility, and, license to openly hate and ridicule men. For example, it is not uncommon for girls to be sitting on a bus, in a group, and have them openly point to a man and discuss how unattractive he is. The Danish legal system is set up so that once a woman has â€œbeen impregnatedâ€ by a man, the man is completely disposable in divorce, and, the manâ€™s role as a sperm donor is further degraded by requiring him to pay for the child for the rest of his life so that the impregnated woman may enjoy her fulfillment as a modern feminist.
Denmark still imposes all of the obligations of men that have survived medieval chivalry, yet, virtually sees men as nothing but completely disposable sperm donors (who are occasionally allowed to work in the Danish socialist job market).
Denmarkâ€™s feminist culture, laws and government view and treat men as nothing but disposable sperm donors.
The result is that only about 20% of Danish men are actively in the dating pool. Danish women are constantly complaining about not having enough men to satisfy their desires for sexual and social intercourse. Yet, Danish women will viciously guard their feminism, hatred of men, life plans to treat men as disposable, and the concept that men are irrelevant except to give the woman sperm, and, the child some semblance of legitimacy.
One with intellect, sensitivity, education (instead of the indoctrination that feminism requires) and human dignity might think that the solution to this problem would be to encourage women to learn something about human compassion, respect, human value beyond sex, and, the beauty of binding interpersonal relationships.
The Danish government doesnâ€™t have any of those problems . . . . Here is the Danish governmentâ€™s solution. This is just one advertisement of an intense propaganda campaign the Danish feminist government undertook to try to beg men to inseminate Danish women (for â€œMomâ€ and for â€œThe Stateâ€).
Spies Rejser is the Danish state travel agency.
Note how the advertisement features a prominent man-hating feminist in the narrative in order to appease the fascist feminist lobby that controls the countryâ€™s social laws and norms.
Note how the advertisement relegates the man to a mere decoration and accessory and sperm donor.
Archaeologists excavated 2,095 human bones and bone fragmentsâ€”comprising the remains of at least 82 peopleâ€”across 185 acres of wetland at the site of Alken Enge, on the shore of Lake MossÃ¸ on Denmark’s Jutland Peninsula. Scientific studies indicate that most of the individuals were young male adults, and they all died in a single event in the early first century A.D. Unhealed trauma wounds on the remains, as well as finds of weapons, suggest that the individuals died in battle.
The team didnâ€™t dig up the entire 185 acres, but the researchers extrapolated that more than 380 people may have been interred in boggy waters along the lakeshore some 2,000 years ago, based on the distribution of the remains that were excavated. ….
An army of several hundred people far exceeds the population scale of Iron Age villages in the region, the new paper notes, suggesting that a war band of this many men required the right kinds of organization and leadership skills to recruit fighters from far distances. …
Here’s where it gets really interesting: Many of the human remains show animal gnaw marks consistent with bodies left exposed somewhere else for six months to a year before being submerged in the wetland. Others bones are deliberately arranged in bundles with stones brought in from other areas, and in one case, fragments of hip bones from four different individuals were threaded on a tree branch.
This leads researchers to suspect that after a period of time, the remains were collected from an yet-to-be discovered battlefield and ritually deposited in the marsh. However, the southern areas of the site also revealed many very small bones, which could easily be overlooked when gathering skeletonized remains. This may indicate archaeologists “could actually be very close to the actual battle site,” says study coauthor Mads KÃ¤hler Holst, an archaeologist at Aarhus University and executive director of the Mosegaard Museum.
Noting the millennia-long ceremonial and ritual importance of bogs and shallow lakes across northern Europe, Bogucki believes the removal of bodies from the battlefield after a period of time and their interment in the marsh may likely be the action of the victors trying to memorialize their triumph. …
Although they battled Germanic tribes across much of Europe in the first century A.D., Roman armies never made it as far north as southern Scandinavia, and the team didnâ€™t find evidence for direct Roman involvement in this battle.
“The trauma [on the bodies] is also consistent with what we would expect from an encounter with a well-equipped Germanic army,” adds Holst.
Bogucki agrees: “This was barbarian-on-barbarian.”
The Danish government has been inadvertently paying benefits to citizens fighting for the Islamic State in Syria, Danish officials said Tuesday, as outrage grows that militants are manipulating the countryâ€™s generous welfare system.
About 145 Danes have traveled to Syria or Iraq to fight for militant groups since 2012, according to the Danish security and intelligence services.
Officials said this week that they had identified a number of Danish citizens who, while receiving government disability pensions, had traveled to Syria to join the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.
â€œIt is a huge scandal that we are paying out money from the welfare funds in Denmark to people who are going to Syria and elsewhere in the world to undermine democracy that we have been fighting for for hundreds of years,â€ the countryâ€™s minister of labor, Troels Lund Poulsen, said.
Last year, the news media reported that more than two dozen Danish citizens receiving unemployment benefits had traveled to Syria to fight for ISIS, even though the law requires recipients to live in Denmark.
Inside an ancient Viking â€œdeath house,â€ a type of large tomb, Danish archaeologists recently made several important discoveries. The tomb, measuring 13 feet by 42 feet, was first unearthed in 2012 during a construction project in Denmarkâ€™s southwestern HÃ¥rup region.
Archaeologists have been studying the tomb ever since â€“ burial sites are currently the only way archaeologists can study Viking history since remains of Viking settlements have yet to be excavated.
Constructed circa 950 AD, the â€œdeath houseâ€ contains three separate graves. Inside two of the graves, researchers found the remains of a male and female â€œpower coupleâ€ likely of high birth or strong community influence. However, lead archaeologist Kirsten Nellemann Nielsen of the Silkeborg Museum in Denmark, cannot say for sure whether the â€œpower coupleâ€ is a brother and sister or husband and wife. Clothing items found with the remains show that the man and woman were nobility.
The femaleâ€™s clothing had silver threads in it, and she was buried with a key, which was a Viking status symbol.
The male remains found in the main tomb yielded an amazing discovery â€“ one of the largest Viking axes found to date. The extremely heavy, giant ax could have been used in combat, but it would have taken two hands to fight with it. Experts believe it was probably used to terrify Viking enemies. As Nielsen explains, â€œPeople across Europe feared this type of ax, which at the time was known as the Dane Axe â€“ something like the â€˜machine gunâ€™ of the Viking Age.â€ The ax did not have many decorative markings, which also suggests it was used in battle. The man it was buried with was probably quite strong to wield the ax successfully. The fact that he was buried with the ax and nothing else leads researchers to conclude that he identified himself solely as a strong and competent warrior.
Raindrops on roses
And whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things
Cream-colored ponies and crisp apple strudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells
And schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things
Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver-white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things
“You dirty racist!”
Do you like warm fires, candles, generalized coziness, intimate gatherings with family and friends, even pumpkin lattes and warm socks? Beware! you are guilty of fondness for Hygge, a Danish kind of reactionary thinking that Slate deplores.
Christina Cauterucci last Fall, in response to last years publication of several books on Hygge, mocked the hankering for candles, doubted that Hygge was even achievable for American residents of “drafty apartment[s] with no fireplace, no grandma, nothing but sweatsocks, and an understuffed sofa,” and described Hygge as essentially a yearning for a return to the uterus. She didn’t come right out and say so but, back in the uterus, there are no bearded Muslim refugees looking to cut your throat, shoot you full of holes, or blow you up.
More recently, Alex Robert Ross identified the sinister connection between a liking for candles and warm socks and Racism and Populist Xenophobia.
This all makes sense. A collective craving for childlike comforts in response to social trauma is a psychoanalytic classic. It was Carl Jung who wrote in The Practice of Psychotherapy, â€œThe patientâ€™s regressive tendency[…] is not just relapse into infantilism, but an attempt to get at something necessary[â€¦] the universal feeling of childhood innocence, the sense of security, or protection, or reciprocated love, of trust.â€ He was a half-sentence away from extolling the virtues of homemade yogurt, eye contact with close family, and a deep, abiding hygge.
Hyggeâ€™s turning inward against the world outside comes with a more sinister edge, however. As Charlotte Higgins pointed out in her deep dive for the Guardian last month, hyggeâ€™s ties to the far-right in Denmark are remarkably strong. Pia KjÃ¦rsgaard, the leader of the right-wing, anti-immigrant Danish Peopleâ€™s Party, has publicly extolled the virtues of the lifestyle, insisting that her office remain cozy and hyggelig at all times. Denmarkâ€™s welfare state and reputation for tolerance may be admired by progressives in the U.K. and U.S., but, as Higgins points out, the countryâ€™s love of hyggefied thatched cottages with closed doors suggests a conservative undercurrent. â€œAnything that threatens that safe community, including alien values and ideologies, cannot be tolerated,â€ she writes.
The journalist and author Michael Booth had the same sensation when he moved from England to Denmark. â€œHygge can seem like self-administered social gagging, characterized more by a self-satisfied sense of its own exclusivity than notions of shared conviviality,â€ he wrote in The Almost Nearly Perfect People: The Truth About the Nordic Miracle. Bloom says that it falls in line with a â€œpostcolonial drawbridge theoryâ€”the â€˜What was lost without [will be found within]â€™ way of valuing what little cultural and economic capital Denmark had left after the loss of its empire.â€
Indeed, Denmark has been struggling with its colonial legacy lately; a rise in the number of refugees over the past two years has uncovered the limits of Denmarkâ€™s famously progressive outlook. The government can now seize any item worth more than $1,450 from a refugee in order to pay for their sustenance and upkeep in the country. And after slashing refugee benefits last year, the government advertised the news in Lebanese newspapers, just to be sure that the country didnâ€™t seem quite so attractive to newcomers. The far right Danskernes Parti, or â€œDanesâ€™ Party,â€ handed out â€˜Asylum Sprayâ€™ in the port town of Haderslev in September. Pepper spray being illegal, they filled the cans with hairspray instead, but the message remained hideously clear. â€œWe wanted to figure out a way for Danish people, in particular women, to protect themselves,â€ party leader Daniel Carlsen said. â€œIn the short run we want to provide solutions to make life better and safer for the Danish people.â€
If his words sounded a little hyggelig, itâ€™s no coincidence. Poured into hyggeâ€™s candlelit sweetness, like a cloying cream filling, are inevitable and explicit cases of xenophobia and racism. In their recent study of online communities in Denmark, Ahmad Beltagui and Thomas Schmidt explored the hygge of the closed chat room. In one instance, this sense of community was fostered with â€œwhat one [user] referred to as a â€˜â€˜little Hyggelig racist jokeâ€™.â€ This online interaction had an unsavory conclusion: â€œThe rapid escalation saw the opponent being addressed in upper case text and accused of both not speaking Danish and being homosexual.â€ Though such bullying, the researchers write, would not ordinarily be particularly hyggelig, the abuse came â€œfrom a user with the word Hygge in their username.â€ With racist, homophobic abuse online being a cornerstone of right-wing populism today, this little hyggelig anecdote should raise doubts about just how apolitical hygge can claim to be.
A man in Denmark was so devastated when authorities seized and euthanized his dog that he took his own life.
Dan, whose last name has not been disclosed, was 27 years old.
Dan was given just eight days to prove that his dog Zanto was not one of the breeds banned in Denmark, and under Danish law, the burden to prove dog breed is placed upon owners. When he was unable to do so, authorities removed Zanto and arranged for him to be killed. Soon after Zanto was taken, Dan was reported to have overdosed on pain medication.
His dog, Zanto, had been euthanized in adherence with Denmarkâ€™s Breed Specific Legislation on Pit Bulls. Danish legislation titled the “Dog Act” also dictates that police are required to euthanize dogs that â€œsavageâ€ a person or another dog, but Zanto hadnâ€™t attacked anyone. He was simply considered an illegal breed.
The Dog Act bans the ownership and breeding of 13 breeds of dogs, including the Pitt Bull Terrier, Kangal, South Russian Shepherd Dog and American Bulldog. Some breeds have been illegal since 1991, but legislation in 2010 brought the number to 13.
[O]ngoing research is uncovering an entirely new dimension: When alive, these people of the bog may have instead been special members of their villages, which in the early Iron Age were loosely scattered across Denmark.
New chemical analyses applied to two of the Danish bog bodies, Huldremose Woman and HaraldskÃ¦r Woman, show that they had traveled long distances before their deaths. What’s more, some of their clothing had been made in foreign lands and was more elaborate than previously thought. …
The research revealed that Huldremose Woman’s body contained strontium atoms from locales outside Denmarkâ€”showing she had traveled abroad before she ended up in the bog.
Another study published in 2009 by Mannering revealed that Huldremose Woman’s woolen garmentsâ€”turned brown by the bogâ€”were originally blue and red: Dyed clothing is a sign of wealth, she says. Mannering and colleagues also found a ridge in Huldremose Woman’s finger that may have indicated it once bore a gold ring before it disintegrated in the bog.