Category Archive 'Estonia'

14 Oct 2019

Over 100 Viking Sword Parts Found in Two Caches in Northern Estonia

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Peterson Type H, Wheeler Type II Viking Sword 9th Century.

Archaeology.org:

[P]ieces of some 100 Viking swords and spearheads dating to the middle of the tenth century A.D. were found in two caches placed about 260 feet apart along a remote Viking trade route near Estonia’s northwestern coast. Archaeologist Mauri Kiudsoo of Tallinn University said the bits of broken weapons may have been cenotaphs, or items left as a monument to warriors who had died and were buried somewhere else. The surviving sword parts provide enough information, however, to know the weapons included H-shaped double-edged swords. Eight nearly intact type H swords and fragments of 100 more have been found in Estonia alone.

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ERR News:

The fragments were found in two closely located sites in a coastal area of north Estonia, in the territory of the ancient Estonian county of Ravala, late last autumn.

The finds consisted of dozens of items, mostly fragments of swords and a few spearheads.

Mauri Kiudsoo, archaeologist and keeper of the archaeological research collection of Tallinn University, told BNS the two sites were located just 80 meters apart. The swords date from the middle of the 10th century and are probably cenotaphs, grave markers dedicated to people buried elsewhere.

The reason why the swords were not found intact, Kiudsoo said, is due to the burial customs of the time. It is characteristic of finds in Estonia from the period that weapons were put into the graves broken or rendered unusable.

While the Ravala fragments constitute the biggest find of Viking-era weapons in Estonia, more important according to Kiudsoo, is the fact that the grips of the swords allow us to determine which type of swords they are. They have been identified as H-shaped double-edged swords. This type of sword was the most common type in the Viking era and over 700 have been found in northern Europe.

Kiudsoo said that by 1991, eight more or less intact type H swords and about 20 fragments had been discovered in Estonia but the number has risen to about 100. The overwhelming majority of the Estonian finds have come to light on the country’s north coast, which lies by the most important remote trade route of the Viking era.


Sword Pommel, XI-XIII century from Läänemaa, Estonia.

25 Feb 2019

Estonian Workers Thought They Were Rescuing a Dog

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The BBC has a good winter story from Estonia:

The men were working on the Sindi dam on the Parnu river when they spotted the animal trapped in the icy water.

After clearing a path through the ice, they took the frozen canine to a clinic for medical care.

Only then was it revealed they had been carrying a wolf.

The Estonian Union for the Protection of Animals (EUPA) said the wolf had low blood pressure when it arrived at the veterinarian’s office, which may have explained its docile nature after the men carried it to their car to warm it up.

Speaking to the Estonian newspaper Postimees, one of the men, Rando Kartsepp, said: “We had to carry him over the slope. He weighed a fair bit.”

“He was calm, slept on my legs. When I wanted to stretch them, he raised his head for a moment,” he added.

Veterinarians had some suspicions over the large dog’s true nature, but it was a local hunter, familiar with the region’s wolves, who finally confirmed it for what it was: a young male wolf, about a year old.

Armed with this new information, clinic staff decided to put the wolf in a cage after treatment – in case it became less docile once it recovered.

The EUPA said it paid for the animal’s treatment, and that “luckily, everything turned out well”.

The wolf recovered from its brush with death within the day and, after being fitted with a GPS collar by researchers from the national environmental agency, was released back into the wild.

RTWT

23 Aug 2010

August 23, 1989

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On today’s date in 1989, the 50th Anniversary of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, a human chain of protestors 400-miles-long stretched across the Baltic States demanding freedom and independence from the Soviet Union.

Hat tip to Publius via Karen L. Myers.

21 Nov 2008

Major Intelligence Breach in NATO Reported

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The Irish Times reports an Estonian mole working for the Russian Intelligence services probably represents the most damaging penetration of Western security since Aldrich Ames.

Echoes of the Cold War have returned to Nato headquarters in Brussels after an Estonian general was unmasked as a “sleeper” spy who passed top secret alliance information to Moscow.

Herman Simm (61), a retired official in Estonia’s defence ministry, has been arrested along with his wife on suspicion that they were recruited by KGB officers before the collapse of the Soviet Union.

After Estonia’s independence in 1991, state prosecutors believe Mr Simm made contact with the KGB’s successor foreign intelligence agency, the SVR.

The former police chief was the perfectly placed mole: between 1995 and 2006 he helped set up the high-security system for handling all sensitive Nato documents ahead of Estonia’s accession to the alliance in 2004.

That has alarmed Estonia’s Nato allies, who are talking about the greatest intelligence breach since the CIA counter-intelligence chief Aldrich Ames was exposed as a Soviet mole in 1994.

Mr Jaanus Rahumägi, chairman of the Estonian parliament’s security watchdog, admits that the spy has caused “historic damage” to the alliance.


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