The Stunning Viking Runestones Of Scandinavia

The recent discovery of several Viking ship graves in Norway has lifted interest in Viking history to new heights. While there’s no doubting the fascinating discoveries being made, some truly remarkable Viking artifacts exist in plain sight throughout Scandinavia: runestones.

The region’s tradition of carving inscriptions into raised stones as a memorial began as early as the 4th century, but the vast majority of runestones still standing date from the 9th and 10th centuries, the latter years of the Viking Age. Scholars have attempted to translate many of the runic inscriptions, with varying degrees of success.

Rök, Sweden

The runestone of Rök, Sweden, is one of the most popular attractions on Scandinavia’s burgeoning Viking tourist trail. Yet its origin story continues to mystify.

First-time visitors to the runestone outside Rök in a rural part of East Middle Sweden are often left speechless. The imposing five-ton carved stone has an almost alien-like appearance and is unlike any other archaeological find in the world.

Believed to date back to the early 9th century, the stone was raised and carved by a Viking struggling to cope with the death of his son. He channelled his emotions into carving this sprawling text, which consists of more than 700 runes spread across the stone’s five sides.

While several translations have been made, experts struggle to interpret the results. One recent study even claims part of the inscription tells of the community’s fears about a period of extended cold.

A team led by Per Holmberg, a professor of Swedish language at the University of Gothenburg, said that a series of 6th century volcanic eruptions plunged Sweden into a prolonged cold snap, killing as much as half the population. The new study claims that the runestone’s author could have been spooked by a series of events that occurred between the years 775 and 810. During that time, a solar storm, a very cold summer, and a near-total solar eclipse all took place, any of which could have been mistaken as an indicator of another extreme cold spell on its way.

Jelling, Denmark

The Jelling area of Denmark is synonymous with Viking history. The town’s 11th century stone church was built on the site of Harald Bluetooth’s wooden church from the 900s.

Two giant burial mounds provide the backdrop for these runestones, considered to be some of the most famous historical artifacts in Denmark as they contain the oldest written references to the country’s name.

The Jelling stones make up part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and as such have become one of Denmark’s most popular sights. The bigger stone was raised by Harald Bluetooth to honour his parents and celebrate his conquest of Denmark. The smaller, older stone is aid to have been raised by King Gorm the Old in memory of his wife, Thyra.

Rakkestad, Norway

As with Viking burial ships, runestones are still being discovered to this day across Scandinavia. Very few have been found in Norway, yet in 2018 this remarkable find was made in Rakkestad, only a handful of miles away from the location of the Gjellestad ship.

However, unlike the burial ship and almost all the other runestones in Scandinavia, this one has been found to predate the Viking Age by as much as 400 years. So old is the Proto Norse language of the 35 runes that it took researchers at the University of Oslo to confirm that they were indeed original runes.

Södermanland, Sweden

While Denmark and Norway to have a handful of runestones, the vast majority are located in Sweden. To the west of Swedish capital Stockholm, the Södermanland region alone is home to 450 known runic inscriptions.

Perhaps the most famous is the Stenkvista runestone near Stenkvita church. It is one of several runestones that reference Thor, but this one has a depiction of Thor’s hammer, Mjölnir.

Another famous stone at Skåang is notable for two sets of inscriptions. The first is written with the oldest known runic alphabet and is believed to date to the 6th century. A second inscription was added during the Viking Age.

Elsewhere in the region, a runestone with tales of extensive warfare throughout western Europe stands more than three meters high in the large burial ground at Kungshållet in Kjula.

Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website.

I was born in the U.K. but moved to Norway in 2011 and haven’t looked back. I run a website and podcast for fellow expats, authored the Moon Norway travel guidebook, help Norwegian companies with their English, and spend my free time touring the country to discover more about the people and places of this unique corner of the world. I write for Forbes with an outsider’s inside perspective on Norway & Scandinavia.

Source: The Stunning Viking Runestones Of Scandinavia

Runes. The Viking world was full of them. In an extract from The Dark Ages: An Age of Light, Waldemar Januszczak explains their importance in the much-misunderstood Viking culture. The complete series is now available on DVD from the ZCZ Films shop:…



Carlos Cruz-Diez, the Venezuelan Pioneer of Kinetic Art, Dies in Paris — TIME

(CARACAS, Venezuela) — Carlos Cruz-Diez, a leading Venezuelan artist who won international acclaim for his work with color and the style known as kinetic art, has died in Paris. He was 95. “Your love, your joy, your teachings and your colors, will remain forever in our hearts,” said a family statement posted on Cruz-Diez’s art…

via Carlos Cruz-Diez, the Venezuelan Pioneer of Kinetic Art, Dies in Paris — TIME

Art Is At The Core Of Entrepreneurship, Ignore It At Your Peril

The sculpture "Le Baiser" (The Kiss) by French sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)(AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

The sculpture “Le Baiser” (The Kiss) by French sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)(AP Photo/Thibault Camus)


As technology moves the world at ever greater speeds and artificial intelligence becomes the electricity of the twenty first century, engineers are revered, and STEM subjects encouraged. At times, this comes at the cost of art and the human element. A computer science graduate is currently guaranteed to find a well-paying job, whereas a liberal arts graduate may find it harder.

Yet the most interesting people I know have diverse tastes and are Renaissance men and women. In the Renaissance, it was a mark of prestige to have an understanding of the arts, and the sciences, to speak several languages and have creative pursuits. As well as beheading his wives and periodically invading France, Henry VIII also wrote sonnets.

The arts, whether visual, theatre or music, give us an understanding of the human condition, which is universal and eternal. While the way we communicate has changed, what we want to say has not. The child of an egotistic parent will recognize King Lear’s selfishness and anyone who has ever been in love will identify with the tenderness of Rodin’s The Kiss.

The end user of every product is human, whether that product is software, a dress or a book. A narrow focus on product or financial metrics, which dismisses the human element, is unlikely to create something lasting.

Noble.AI, a California-based company which makes artificial intelligence to enable faster and cheaper research and development for the likes of Boeing, is predictably full of engineers. Less predictable is the fact that around a quarter of its staff are artists and designers. Dr Matthew Levy, CEO and founder of Noble.AI, says that his emphasis on aesthetics means that the products they make have to be beautiful and pleasing to use, as well as technologically advanced. “I don’t think our products could be successful if we didn’t think about how people would be interacting with them. The people who use our products are human and they have a wide range of interests, so it is important not to have a narrow focus.”

Dr Matthew Levy, CEO and Founder of Noble.AI

Dr Matthew Levy, CEO and Founder of Noble.AI


Levy says that it takes a conscious effort to bring diverse viewpoints together and avoid the risk of sitting in your own bubble. As recent events have shown us, it is easy to submerge oneself into an echo-chamber of reinforcing beliefs. Levy is inspired by Steve Jobs, who revered artists and put beautiful design at the heart of Apple.

Levy suggests that if you want to be a first-rate engineer, focus on engineering, but if you want to be an entrepreneur, develop your wider interests. “Allow yourself time to dive into that interest. I guarantee there will be connections you’ve never anticipated when you started out on that journey.”

In fact, this is how Levy and I met. We were both at the beginning of our entrepreneurial journeys and were working from Second Home, a workspace known for its creative approach. Spanish architects SelgasCano designed an environment so beautiful and unique, that it inevitably drew companies to whom aesthetics were important. I run a fashion tech company, so this was a simple choice for me, but I was surprised by how much design mattered to my frontier technology innovating neighbors.

Second Home Spitalfields, London

Second Home Spitalfields, London

Iwan Baan

An artistic interest also engages the brain in a way that day to day business does not. Marianne Moore, paints as a balance to running her company. Moore’s consultancy, Justice Studio, advises charities, NGOs and governments on how to bring social equality into their work. She travels the world advising on some of the world’s toughest issues, which is an inevitably stressful job. Moore sees her painting as a counterweight to this work because it is indulgence in beauty for beauty’s sake.

Moore says creating art and creating a company are extensions of the same trait: seeing an idea in your head and then making it come to life. Yet, despite painting since her teens, Moore only recently opened up about her combined life as an artist and an entrepreneur. “People want to put you in a box and if you are straddling different things, they find it hard to define you. Society now tells you to be one thing or the other thing.” Today, Moore says she is a “creatrix of art and companies”. For those unfamiliar with the term creatrix, it is the feminine of creator.

Corset, by Marianne Moore, contemporary artist and entrepreneur

Corset, by Marianne Moore, contemporary artist and entrepreneur

Marianne Moore

Creativity is the essence of entrepreneurship, yet creative musing often falls prey to a determined focus on execution. As an entrepreneur myself, I have sometimes fallen into the trap of reading business book after business book, in the eternal quest for improvement. To snap out of it, I have started reading a biography of Picasso, which leaves my brain rested, entertained and inspired.

Sometimes, art for art’s sake is good for business.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I’m a startup founder, entrepreneurship mentor and Chicago Booth MBA. I run Enty, a fashion tech platform where users get on demand feedback from professional stylists. I also coach entrepreneurs on PR and growing their brand. This journey has taken me through top accelerators, exposed me to investors, taught me how to build a product, lead a team and grow revenues. On Forbes, I write about the start-up journey as it really is, rather than as I wish it would be. Find me on

Source: Art Is At The Core Of Entrepreneurship, Ignore It At Your Peril

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Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

Most people are familiar with the tragic story of the Titanic – the “unsinkable” ship that collided with an iceberg and ultimately sank in the early 20th century. James Cameron’s 1997 film “Titanic” played a large role in popularizing the story, yet few people actually know what the real ship looked like following its construction in the early 1900s, and after its wreckage was discovered underseas in 1985.

The Royal Mail Ship (RMS) Titanic was officially launched on May 31, 1911 by the White Star Line, a British shipping company. The Titanic was actually built as a response to competing  ocean liners, which were breaking White Star Line’s records for speed and size.

Discovering the RMS Titanic Wreck

The wreck of the RMS Titanic was discovered in 1985 by Robert Ballard. Prior to this, there had been a number of unsuccessful discovery expeditions.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

A Propeller Found Underwater

Thanks to Argo, one of the ship’s three propellers was found amongst the ship’s wreckage. This propeller was from the starboard side of the ship.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

The Titanic’s side propellers were very large at 23-feet-long, whereas its middle propeller was just 16-feet-long.

Hefty Propellers

An image taken near the end of the Titanic’s construction captures just how massive both the ship and its propellers were.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

Honeymooners and Titanic

The Titanic carried various passengers, including two newlyweds, Mr. & Mrs. George A. Harder, who were celebrating their honeymoon aboard the ship. The woman survived the shipwreck, but unfortunately, her husband did not.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

Bernie Palmer, a photographer who captured the activities of the Titanic’s passengers, sold the rights to his photos for $10. He probably would have charged much more had he known how valuable his photos would become in the years to come.

Construction of the Titanic

When the Titanic and her sister ship the Olympic were built, they were the largest ships ever created and there were no existing slipways to accommodate their construction.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic
In order to move forward, the shipping company had to first build a giant slipway to support the construction.  The slipway was known as the “Great Gantry” and cost about $150,000.

The Stern & Rudder

The rudder is a vertical blade at the stern of a ship that is used to steer the vessel when in motion.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

The rudder of the RMS Titanic was massive, weighing over 20,000 pounds.

Titanic at Dock: Moments Before the Maiden Voyage

Compared to all other ships at the dock, the Titanic truly stood out. Yet moving the gigantic structure from land to sea was an extremely taxing and complicated process.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic
While the process only lasted for 62 seconds, 23 tons of various lubricants, including train oil, soap, and grease, were required to move the ship from land to water.

Sailing Out of Belfast

The RMS Titanic left Belfast with the help of five tugboats that helped guide the large vessel out of the dock.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

This image was taken during a sea trial, which is one of the testing phases that occurs towards the end of a ship’s construction.

RMS Titanic: The Crew

There were about 700 crew members on the Titanic. Edward J. Smith, the man with the white beard in the middle of the front row in the below photo, was the Captain. It was rumored that the Titanic’s maiden voyage was supposed to be his last trip before retirement.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

The other men featured in the photo are various officers and engineers, including the Chief Engineer.

The Captain of the Titanic: Edward J. Smith

Edward John Smith was the commanding officer for the White Star Line shipping company, as well as the Captain of the RMS Titanic. There are various accounts of Smith’s last words and actions as well as his death in the disaster, yet all suggest that his final actions were truly heroic.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

Some people blamed Captain Smith for the incident, suggesting that he wrongfully sped through the ice at full speed. However, he was posthumously exonerated since the maneuver was a common practice at the time.

Blaming the Captain

Several survivors claimed in their letters that Captain Smith had been drinking directly before the incident.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

A letter of one survivor written aboard the rescue ship Carpathia, which was sold at auction in 2012.
The infamous iceberg was the cause of Titanic’s sinking.
Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

The iceberg breached the side of the giant ship and punctured all five of its watertight rooms that were supposed to keep it afloat.

Promenade Deck

The promenade deck was located directly below the top deck. This deck was made for general use, but it included four cabins with private 50-foot promenade decks.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

These cabins were called “Parole Suites” and were the most expensive rooms on the ship. The most expensive of these suites cost over $4,000 in 1912, which is about $100,000 today.

Standard Single Bed Cabin

This was probably one of the 350 first-class standard single bed cabins. There were also 39 private suites available on the ship, and each had a private bathroom in addition to the bedroom.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

Some private suites even included wardrobe rooms and were decorated in the luxurious style of the French monarchy.

Cruising On the Water

The RMS Titanic was loaded with almost 6,000 tons of coal for her maiden voyage.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic
The ship burned about 690 tons of coal per day and crew members worked day and night to shovel coal into boilers to produce steam power.

The Marconi Communications Room

The Marconi Company ran the ship’s communications room.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

The operators aboard the Titanic were actually Marconi Company employees and not crewmembers of the ship.
Lowering the Lifeboats

The Titanic had 20 lifeboats on deck that could carry around 1,200 people at maximum capacity.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

Although the lifeboat capacity was greater than what was required at the time, it still accounted for less than half of the vessel’s occupancy, which totaled about 2,500 people, including both passengers and crew.

Survivors on Carpathia

More than 700 survivors were rescued by an ocean liner named Carpathia.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

The survivors were stranded in the middle of the ocean, suffering from stress and hypothermia. Once taken out of the water, the survivors were given warm clothing by Carpathia’s crew.

Passengers Fleeing on Lifeboats

Many pictures of lifeboats filled with passengers fleeing the sinking ship were captured. However, the sad story behind the photos is that the lifeboats were not actually filled to capacity because crew members worried that the lines would not support the weight of the lifeboats at full capacity.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

As a result, many of the lifeboats were launched below capacity. The first lifeboat that was launched held less than half of its 65-person capacity, and another left with only 12 passengers on board.
Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

Passengers Being Rescued by Carpathia

Passengers aboard the ocean liner Carpathia were able to capture pictures of Titanic survivors being rescued from the lifeboats.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

The Carpathia was the ship that responded to the Titanic’s emergency signal and came to rescue the survivors. Out of the ship’s 2,500 passengers, only about 700 people managed to be rescued.

Sparsely Filled Lifeboat

The passengers who made it onto the lifeboats spent about two hours in the freezing cold before the Carpathia arrived.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

As already mentioned, many of the lifeboats were sparsely filled and there was plenty of room for more passengers.

Lifeboats at Pier 54

After the passengers were brought to safety at  Pier 54 in New York City, all the lifeboats were left empty.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

This pier actually belonged to White Star Lines, the shipping company that built the Titanic.
Gym & Other Amenities

The Titanic was well equipped with many luxurious amenities, such as a swimming pool, a squash court, a Turkish bath, and a gym.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

Along with its sister ship the Olympic, the Titanic was the first ocean liner to feature a gym on board.

Iceberg Close-up

Have you ever wondered what happened to the iceberg that caused the Titanic’s demise? It remained floating where it was, largely unscathed, except for a few black marks left behind from the paint on the Titanic.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

Many believe that if the Titanic had collided with the iceberg head-on, rather than hitting its side, it would not have sunk.

The Grand Staircase

One of the most marvelous parts of the Titanic was its grand staircase, which was replicated and popularized in James Cameron’s movie about the ship. The Olympic, Titanic’s sister ship, had practically the same one.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

The only existing pictures of the staircases are from the Olympic. There are no known pictures of the Titanic’s actual staircase.

The Grand Staircase After the Accident

Photos do exist of what was left of the grand staircase after the shipwreck, which is not much, unfortunately. While the movie Titanic was filmed, James Cameron stated that the replicated staircase broke off and floated away.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

It is believed that the same thing happened to the actual staircase.
Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

Titanic’s Boiler

The first part of the Titanic found during Robert Ballard’s 1985 expedition was a large boiler. Ballard compared the boiler to the pictures of the ship from 1911 in order to determine that it was in fact from the Titanic.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

The next day, Ballard used his underwater camera, the Argo, again and discovered a larger part of the shipwreck.

Stern of the Ship

Ballard’s 1985 expedition also uncovered the ship’s stern, or at least what was left of it.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

Until the wreck was discovered, many scientists did not believe that the ship’s hull was torn in half before the ship sank. However, after discovering the stern and bow a third of a mile apart, it was confirmed that the ship did in fact break into two parts.

Captain Smith’s Bathroom

As a first-class passenger, Captain Edward Smith was treated to luxurious accommodations aboard the ship.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

A porcelain tub from his room was found and it was largely intact, only covered in barnacles.

The “Great Gantry” at the Shipyard

The Titanic was built on the giant “Great Gantry” slipway.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

The location of its construction was at the Harland & Wolff Shipyard and over 11,000 workers were required to complete the project.

An Anchor

When the wreckage was discovered, one of the ship’s three anchors was found within its compartment.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

The Titanic actually had three anchors and each weighed about 10 tons.

Who Was the Real Jack Dawson?

It is believed that Jack Dawson’s character was inspired by Emilio Portaluppi, who boarded the Titanic with a second-class ticket. He was actually supposed to be on a different ship.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

Instead, the wealthy Astor family invited him aboard the Titanic. Some say that he had a crush on Madeleine Astor.

Who Was the Real Rose?

It is impossible to mention the real Jack without saying anything about the real Rose. Madeleine Talmage Astor was the wife of John Jacob Astor IV, a wealthy business mogul.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

John Jacob Astor IV

John Jacob Astor IV was the wealthiest person to perish in the shipwreck. Back in the early 1900s, he was one of the richest people in the world.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

John Astor and his wife boarded the Titanic because Madeleine was pregnant and insisted on giving birth to their child in the U.S.
Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

Titanic Disaster Appears in Newspaper

After the incident, many newspapers started publishing stories related to the Titanic. Some mentioned the people who disappeared, such as Astor.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

At the time of John Astor IV’s death, his net worth was $87 million, which is equivalent to about $2.16 billion today. Compared to the richest people in the world now, this would not even place Astor in the top ten!
April 14 Lunch Menu

A picture of a menu from April 12, 1912 shows the array of gourmet food that was available for lunch aboard the Titanic.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

The meals feature a seemingly endless amount of meat, fish, finger foods, and other specialty items.

The Ship’s Bow

An amazing image of the entire bow of the ship was taken during a return mission to the wreck of the RMS Titanic, almost 20 years after it was first discovered.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) launched the mission in order to study the ship’s deterioration.

First-Class Passenger List

The number of first-class passengers was restricted to a few of the highest ranking crew members and a small number of wealthy families.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

The majority of the elite passengers were members of the Astor and Allison families, who also made sure their maids, nurses, and manservants were in first class as well.

Families of the Survivors

After hearing about the shipwreck, a large number of relatives and friends of Titanic passengers and crew members went to Pier 54 in New York and waited for the survivors to arrive. Of course, many photographs were taken to record this event.

Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

The smiling people in the photos are likely the ones who knew their friends or family members had survived the disaster and were on their way back to safety.

Source: Rare Photos from the Inside of the Real Titanic

This Ancient Greek’s Breastbone Shows He Was Executed With Terrifying Precision

Sternum of a Hellenistic period man showing stab wound.

On the island of Thasos, which lies close to the north shore of the Aegean Sea, archaeologists recovered dozens of burials dating to the Greek Hellenistic period, or 4th to 1st centuries BC. One particular older male caught their attention because he was likely executed with a precise wound to his breastbone.

Since at least the 7th century BC, the island of Thasos was an important part of the Greek world, as recorded by ancient authors Herodotus and Thucydides and as revealed through numerous excavations over the past several decades by archaeologists affiliated with the Hellenic Antiquities Authority. Residents of ancient Thasos built settlements and strongholds on the island and the nearby mainland, and through their control of regional sea routes, they became rich and powerful.

Excavation at an ancient cemetery on Thasos revealed clusters of Hellenistic and Roman period family graves that contained the skeletons of males and females of all ages. One specific skeleton, however, intrigued archaeologist Anagnostis Agelarakis of Adelphi University so much that he studied it in painstaking detail; his results are forthcoming in Access Archaeology.

Agelarakis discovered that the skeleton was male and that, based on the degenerative wear on his joints and teeth, he was likely more than 50 years old when he died. Further, his robust skeleton suggested that he had been involved in physically demanding tasks and activities. None of this was surprising to Agelarakis, as ancient Greek men were known to have engaged in much physical labor over their lifetimes. Once the bones were cleaned in the laboratories of the Archaeological Museum of Thasos Island, however, Agelarakis noticed something odd: a hole in the lower part of the man’s sternum or breastbone.

The human body can have numerous variants, often extraneous holes or bones whose presence (or absence) is passed down in families. These variations are selectively neutral, so they don’t get eliminated from the human species, but they are useful for bioarchaeologists interested in tracking genetic relationships without doing destructive analysis like DNA work. One of these common variants is a hole in the lower part of the breastbone, called the sternal foramen, which occurs in roughly 5% of the population.

“It became immediately apparent,” Agelarakis notes, “that this case did not pertain to a developmental anomaly of sternal foramen, but to a multilevel mechanically caused orifice, one that had been sustained by a through-and-through gladiolar [lower breastbone] injury.” A seven-sided entry wound could be seen, clearly suggesting a type of penetrating trauma, and there was no evidence of healing. The man had been stabbed.

To shed some light on the mechanics of the injury, I asked Patrick Randolph-Quinney, a forensic anthropologist at the University of Central Lancashire, to weigh in. “In my considered opinion, Agelarakis has a case,” he says. “Penetrating peri-mortem trauma is consistent with some of the skeletal defects displayed.” While he is not fully convinced of the seven-sided entry wound, Randolph-Quinney notes that the exit wound, or the back side of the sternum, is of particular interest. This exit wound has sharp bone edges, which rules out both post-mortem damage and a sternal foramen. Flat bones like the sternum react differently to trauma compared to bones like the skull and long bones of the arms and legs. “In cases of arrow or crossbow wounds,” Randolph-Quinney says, “it’s my experience that they ‘punch’ their way through flat bone, leaving sharp margins on both entrance and exit surfaces, similar to the photos in Agelarakis’ article. I think he’s right about the injury — but maybe for the wrong reasons.”

Not content to simply diagnose this ancient Thasian man with a stab wound, Agelarakis set out to figure out what kind of weapon made the odd, seven-sided mark on the bone. To do this, he and his colleagues extrapolated the shape of the weapon from the injury, created a 3D model reconstruction in wax, and then generated mold from that in order to cast the weapon in bronze. Once this process was completed, Agelarakis was able to suggest that the weapon was a styrax, or the spike at the lower end of a spear-shaft. He and his colleagues then used their reconstructed weapon on a ballistic model of a human in order to approximate force and direction of the fatal blow.

Ballistic model

Ballistic model created to test the force and direction of a styrax injury.

A. Agelarakis / Adelphi University

Given the identification of the weapon, Agelarakis hypothesizes that this was a close-encounter sharp force injury, in which the man was immobilized, perhaps with his hands tied behind his back, “in order to receive a contact thrusting of an accurately anatomically calculated, precisely positioned, and well-delivered striking into the inferior mediastinum region of the thorax.” Essentially, the deadly aim of the person wielding the spear caused a fatal wound to the Thasian man’s chest, which put him into cardiac arrest as he bled out. Agelarakis suggests that this was almost certainly “a prepared execution event.”

This older Thacian man was buried in an individual grave among clusters of family graves, without any indication that he was treated differently than others in death. Because of his simple burial, Agelarakis thinks that he was not condemned to capital punishment because he was a traitor or conspirator. Rather, “it may be postulated that his untimely and violent death could have been the result of a political-military turmoil or reprisals, possibly during forceful regime changes” that occurred during the Hellenistic era. Although this man was stabbed to death, he was likely of high standing and, as Agelarakis concludes, “would have been recognized as a worthy opponent.”

For more news about ancient skeletons, follow Kristina Killgrove on Twitter (@DrKillgrove), Instagram (Powered by Osteons), or Facebook (Powered by Osteons).

As a bioarchaeologist, I routinely pore over the skeletons of ancient populations so that I can learn about their health, diet, and lifestyles.

Source: This Ancient Greek’s Breastbone Shows He Was Executed With Terrifying Precision

Archeologist Spends Over 35 Years Building Enormous Scale Model of Ancient Rome – Jessica Stewart


Tucked in the residential Roman neighborhood of EUR, a sprawling 1:250 scale model displays the glory of ancient Rome. Known as the Plastico di Roma Imperiale, the plaster model was commissioned by Mussolini in 1933 and depicts Rome in the 4th century AD at the time of Constantine I. It now sits in the Museum of Roman Civilization, a museum opened in the 1930s to demonstrate the history of ancient Rome.The plaster model is a masterpiece created by archaeologist Italo Gismondi, who worked on the piece throughout his life…….


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9 Bold & Powerful Women Who Shaped the Art World – Jessica Stewart


While the art world has historically seen a gender imbalance, this doesn’t mean that there have not been important women working on the scene. Artists themselves often get highlighted, but many female art patrons past and present have helped shape the way we view art. In fact, history is littered with trailblazing women who have influenced art history thanks to their work as collectors, gallerists, patrons, and museum founders……

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25+ Blossoming Works of Art Made Out of Real Flowers – Kelly Richman-Abdou


From still-life depictions to blooming landscapes, flowers have been a tried and true inspiration for nature-loving artists throughout the course of art history. In addition to traditional paintings and photographs, however, many of today’s artists have taken a more avant-garde approach to the floral craft by creating works of art made out of real flowers. As evident in this collection of flower art, there are a myriad ways that artists incorporate real-life blooms and blossoms into their practice. Some, like Duy Anh Nhan Duc and Marina Malinovaya, organize them onto flat surfaces to……..

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The Horrible Inspiration Behind One of Picasso’s Great Works – Toby Saul


Pablo Picasso had been searching for three months for something to paint in April 1937. Living in Paris, the Spanish artist had been given a commission to produce a mural for the Spanish Pavilion of the 1937 Paris World’s Fair. Turmoil had disrupted his process, both in his private life and in the civil war raging in Spain. The horror of this war would give Picasso his inspiration to paint a bold, unflinching vision of the devastation and savagery of modern warfare on everyday people. Picasso’s work, “Guernica,” is one of the 20th century’s greatest works of art and a strong statement against war…..

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Frida Kahlo Writes a Personal Letter to Georgia O’Keeffe After O’Keeffe’s Nervous Breakdown (1933) – Colin Marshall


Important twentieth-century painters, as every student of art history learns, didn’t tend to sail smoothly through existence. Those even a little interested in famed Mexican self-portraitist Frida Kahlo have heard much about the travails both romantic and physical she endured in her short life. But in this lesser-known instance, another artist suffered, and Kahlo offered the solace.Available to view from Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, we have here a letter Kahlo sent to Georgia O’Keeffe, painter of blossoms and southwest American landscapes…….

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