It appears as if most of us always think of women when thinking of the early modern witch-hunts. This hasn’t been helped by the depiction of witches in popular culture, films and TV, but it makes us forget the array of complexities encompassing early modern witchcraft and its crime. So how did the witch-hunts come into motion? Well, typically accusations stemmed from the act of maleficium, and in other areas across the globe, predominantly North America, there was a greater focus on diabolism; both of which had implications in terms of both the administration and scale of the hunts. This creates further difficulties when assessing the role of gender, particularly alongside the rise of gender history where ideas surrounding the witch-hunts have taken an interesting turn, allowing opportunity for psychoanalysis and the implementation of modern-day values and standards onto the past; an undoubtedly problematic development. Certainly, women were socially vulnerable to the profile of a witch, but examining the popular beliefs and ideologies of people living at the time, alongside the involvement of men in the early modern witch-trials, demonstrates a clear belief in the reality of the witch as opposed to the intention of a gendered attack on women.
Firstly, exploring what the witch-hunters were looking for in a suspect is the first way to discover how far gendered motives contributed to the accusations. Diabolism concerned the idea of an active pact with the Devil in fear of an antichristian conspiracy and was therefore commonly investigated by the secular courts rather than “from below”. In terms of maleficium, an individual practicing harmful magic, suspicions of witchcraft rooted from ordinary people in neighbourly communities before an official trial if reported. This indicates the genuine belief of people at the time in the crime of witchcraft as a reality; the fear of which was certainly exacerbated by the post-Reformation context in which it encompassed, where the presence of witches was both illuminated alongside their dangers to society. In addition, the belief fulfilled a social need to explain everyday human misfortune; one of many social needs which contributed to witchcraft accusations. Typically, as conveyed in Malleus Maleficarum (1484), the criteria of a witch encompassed the morally weak and essentially those who could easily submit themselves to the sphere of harmful magic or to the Devil through lust and lack of self-control. These qualities were readily attributed to women because of early modern gender ideologies, and as such were certainly more likely to fit the witch profile. These ideologies root from a patriarchal society in addition to religious influence… we all know how in Garden of Eden Eve gave in to the Devil’s temptation and caused the ruin of mankind which is not an easy thing for women to live down and as such were viewed in the popular imagination as the weaker and more “corrupted” sex. However, men could commit exactly the same crime as women in terms of witchcraft and were not explicitly excluded from the criteria; just like women, they could take part in the Sabbath for example.
Key statistical evidence on condemned witches in various countries across the globe challenge the popular assumption that because women totalled an overall of seventy to seventy-five per cent of the accused, they were always the majority of victims in every society. However, in places such as Iceland where males made up ninety-two per cent of the condemned, in addition to Normandy and Estonia where the statistics were also male-dominated, and Burgundy with an equal balance, it becomes clear that ‘women as victims’ was not a constant phenomenon.
As previously mentioned most witch accusations stemmed from the crime of maleficium and followed a very typical format. This helps to identify why women were so susceptible in cases that started “from below”. The accuser would experience some type of misfortune; illness, death or the loss of livestock after a hostile encounter with another neighbour who was generally of lower socio-economic status. A combination of rumours and class hostilities would contribute to a whirlwind of suspicion in genuine belief that they had been the victim of supernatural revenge. The fact that women were themselves as likely to be witnesses alongside men the idea of female persecution must be omitted. Even though see the label of a witch as giving political power to women, and to accuse other women was to reinforce the notion of competitive authority and violence in a society that had sex-specific legal restrictions, to implement modern psychoanalysis onto the past is a very dangerous business and risks overcomplicating genuine popular beliefs and deep-rooted ideologies. What the prosecutions actually reflect is a very real belief in witchcraft and its crime, a challenge for us to understand today, rather than sex-specific occurrences.
If an attack on women themselves, the number of witch accusations would then surely be equivalent to the number of witch-trials, and even more to the number of guilty verdicts; yet the comparisons represent a sense of unwilling co-operation from the male elite who operated in secular courts. The case of Tituba in 1692 also demonstrates other contributing factors in the accusations; her ethnicity, cultural background and slave status increased the level of threat to the Salem community because of her physical differences and “strange” customs and traditions which would not be easily accepted, and so made accusations against her easier to emerge.
The contemporary socio-economic society in which the crime was produced tell us most about the nature of witchcraft. Early modern woodcuts reflect the birth of the stereotypical witch as an old, unkempt woman usually with physical malformations. Although exaggerated, this does somewhat reflect the majority of women who were accused of witchcraft. Marginalized characters of society, particularly cunning folk, with a low socio-economic status, were likely to turn to charity following the end of the manorial system, which previously provided a great degree of labour work, and often resulted in dependence upon superiors. The denial of charity to a neighbour frequently led to feelings of guilt which could manifest into suspicion following misfortune; scapegoating is a common occurrence in human civilization, and enables us to understand why most women accused were older, widowed or marginal characters of society who had no male or financial support on which to depend. So surely, class, age, race, marital and socio-economic statuses all contributed to the witch-hunts and must not be neglected.
For various reasons it is easy to forget that men consisted of a reasonable proportion of the accused. An explanation for this is that the idea of the female witch carries greater symbolic weight than persecution of males. Some argue that men were effectively emasculated and subsequently feminised through witchcraft accusations, but this conflicts with the descriptions of accused males by their accusers, who describe their qualities with no reference to any weak or powerless traits. Although men were often accused alongside female relatives, individual cases of male convictions were not as rare as made out to be. Men could also be of low socio-economic status as well as a marginal character of society. The case of Nicholas Stockdale, accused by his male neighbours in early seventeenth-century England, also represents an alternate type of socio-economic hostility. In a competitive enviornment, accusations against men also had the perfect preconditions to initiate a genuine witch-panic. So not only was there focus on charity and the poor, but in the case of men feeling threatened or attacked by other men’s prosperity – certainly not a gender-based issue.
Although women appear to be the starring role of the early modern witch-trials, our focus should remain on witchcraft in light of popular belief and feelings at the time rather than the popular ideas we have now.
Postscript: In England, only one major witch-hunt broke out under the influence of Matthew Hopkins (Witch-Finder General, 1644-47) during the English Civil War. Approximately 300 women were said to have been executed and even more tortured. Despite its atrocity, it is important to remember that because of the Civil War, the legal system had effectively collapsed and paved the way for unfair trials.
1. Thomas, K., Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century England (London, 1991)
2. Levack, B. P., The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe (Essex, 1995)
3. Karlsen, C., The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England (London, 1987)
I would like to dedicate this particular blog post and my first review to my parents, who went out of their way to get me the subject of this review, despite its obscurity. I love you both.
The film I am reviewing is called The Young Mr. Pitt, a 1942 biopic of William Pitt the Younger, the youngest Prime Minister (when he became Prime Minister in 1783, he was only 24) in British history, with Robert Donat in the titular role. The film is primarily about Pitt’s time as Prime Minister with particular reference his leadership of Great Britain during the war with Revolutionary and later Napoleonic France. The film was made at the height of the Second World War, primarily as propaganda for the British by reminding them of war similar to the one they were waging then. With that in mind, it makes reviewing this film doubly interesting, not only for seeing how it holds up in terms of historical accuracy, but also for what it can tell us about propaganda during this period.
Since the production company was 20th Century Fox, it is likely it was intended to be released in Britain’s ally, the United States. Accordingly, in order to gain the sympathy of an American audience, the first scene of the film features William Pitt the Elder, the father of the protagonist passionately telling the House of Lords the military campaign that is about to be launched to reconquer the rebellious American colonies is not only immoral, but has little to no chance of success. Much of his speech about the similarities between the British and the Americans could have been lifted from Churchill’s own oratory about the ‘Anglo-Saxon peoples’.
It is rather clear when more modern values are depicted somewhat anachronistically in the film. These include references to Pitt the Elder’s title ‘the Great Commoner’, while the fact he later accepted a peerage from the King, despite his populist beginnings is brushed over on the grounds of financial necessity (which in fairness to Pitt senior, his family certainly required). Likewise, the circumstances under which Pitt became Prime Minister, are airbrushed to a certain degree. The fact that Pitt played a role in the constitutionally questionable downfall of the Fox-North Coalition, are unmentioned (though in fairness to the film-makers, the research that proved Pitt’s role were not published until the 1960s). Furthermore, while much is made of Pitt’s antebellum reforms and his close friendship with the great anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce, some of Pitt’s more controversial wartime measures, such as the temporary suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, and the prosecutions of perceived radical sympathisers with the French revolutionaries on charges of treason are ignored, just as the circumstances involving Pitt’s downfall, namely following a French-backed rebellion against British rule in Ireland, Pitt decided to unite the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland, (believing, perhaps with some justification, that the ‘Protestant Ascendancy’ that dominated the then semi-independent Irish Parliament were incapable of ruling Ireland) and to make said union more palatable to the majority of the Irish intended to grant Catholics the right to sit in the new Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. However King George III vetoed this on the grounds that it would violate his coronation oath, and Pitt resigned in protest. None of this is featured in the film, Pitt merely mentions that having failed to convince the King of a new policy, he has no choice but to resign. On a more personal note, Pitt’s failed courtship of Eleanor Eden is a major subplot of the film, and Pitt’s decision not to marry her, due to ‘irreconcilable obstacles’ is shown as a selfless act of self-sacrifice due to a desire to put his duty to England first. It is interesting to note that some modern historians have implied that there were different reasons for Pitt’s refusal to pursue his relationship with Eleanor, and that his feelings towards his friends such as George Canning and William Wilberforce were far more than simple friendship. Be that as it may, it is likely that the romantic subplot was mainly included due to the popularity of romantic films at this time.
It is also notable that one of the primary events during Pitt’s premiership, the ‘strange behaviour’ (currently believed to be either porphyria or manic depression) of King George is also omitted, though this is probably less due to differing values and more of an intention on the film-makers part to concentrate on the wars. It is however notable that the King throughout the film is portrayed by Raymond Lovell as being highly eccentric, meeting William Pitt over a bowl of turnips, and rather tactless, informing Lord Temple that as a potential Prime Minister the Duke of Portland is completely incompetent, considers Temple and then tells him to his face he is worse than Portland. The film does have several humorous moments, such as during the general election sequence in which eggs are sold cheap so voters can demonstrate their displeasure with any candidate, as well as politicians voting for themselves. As is often the case in historical films, historical in-jokes are made, with the Admiralty complaining about Pitt’s decision to give Horatio Nelson command of the fleet, arguing he has no chance of defeating the French fleet transporting Napoleon to Egypt.
Most of the early part of Pitt’s tenure as Prime Minister is mostly brushed over, likely because Pitt’s economic reforms were unlikely to have been of interest to the audience. The majority of the film is given over to Pitt’s role in the war against France. In this a number of parallels can be drawn between the ongoing struggle against Nazi Germany. Pitt is depicted as originally seeking peace with France, but later conceding that peace with Napoleon is impossible. His primary political opponent, Charles James Fox and his later successor, Henry Addison are portrayed as desiring to appease the French and negotiate a truce, regardless of the costs, much like the popular perception of Neville Chamberlain. Pitt however leads the country through war and spends every waking moment working out how to defeat the French, despite his own health and financial problems. The film portrays the French as the aggressors, with their invasion of the Low Countries and their declaration of war on Britain forcing Pitt’s hand. Naturally, the parallels with Nazi Germany are easier to spot, Talleyrand, the French diplomat is shown wearing dark clothing, speaking with an accent that is far more German than French, and offering Pitt the prospect of Britain dominating the world. Pitt nevertheless resists French attempts to dominate Europe, but finally resigns due to near exhaustion. His successor negotiates a brief truce, but when that collapses, and Napoleon threatens to invade England, Pitt’s policy is vindicated and he returns to power once more. The climactic Battle of Trafalgar which destroyed any chance of a French invasion is not seen on camera, probably for budgetary reasons, though it is perhaps fitting that since the film has been devoted to Pitt’s trials and tribulations (Lord Nelson had already been a subject of a biopic the previous year, That Hamilton Woman). In any case the film ends during a celebratory banquet at the Guildhall, where Pitt, upon being toasted by the Lord Mayor of London as ‘the saviour of Europe’ declares that while he appreciates the honour, Europe will not be saved by a single person and that ‘England has saved herself, and will as I trust save Europe by her example.’ This would be Pitt’s final public dinner, he would die soon after, having learned of Napoleon’s victory over the Austrians and Russians at Austerlitz, declaring, depending on the source either ‘my country, how I leave my country’, or ‘I think I could eat another of Bellamy’s veal pies’. In any case, Pitt’s death is avoided, though his doctor does tell Wilberforce that if he goes to the banquet ‘he’s a dead man’, presumably not to end on too depressing a note.
In summary, the film is an excellent example of how British propaganda films during the Second World War used history to find parallels with the ongoing conflict, and how it depicts the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century can tell us just as much about 1940s Britain as the Georgian era. The film itself is highly entertaining, with a somewhat irreverent attitude towards history (during one of Pitt’s speeches to Parliament, several of his listeners attempt unsuccessfully to stifle a yawn), but a good yarn none the less, though one assumes Charles de Gaulle was not invited to its premier.
For those that live in the midlands of England everyone will know the age old story of Robin Hood and his Merry Men. He is the legend of the North, who counter-acts the Southern status of the legend of the Once and Future King, Arthur.* The notion of Arthur is prevalent across the lower parts of England and Wales and has a particularly strong presence in Winchester. Yet through the looking glass I have discovered a lack of knowledge pertaining to the legends and figure heads that exist nation-wide and a disregard in the existence of those who follow the myths of the North. I am not denying the fact that a figure such as Robin Hood could be an ideological theme to suit and satisfy the much put-upon peasant classes of the early middle-ages and therefore may not be truthful but the theory is that a legend or myth has some basis in fact. So here I wish to explain the beginnings and theories of the devious archer that dominates the history of Nottingham and the south of Yorkshire.
The stories of Robin Hood originate from around the 14th century, and are a follow-up of the antics of Arthur in ballad and poetical forms. While Arthur holds the title of king, Robin is the anti-king who as an outlaw reinforces the stereotypical divide in the north and south over who reigns over the land, something of which can be disputed. Despite being described as being one of the lower-class he follows the same chivalric order of honour and wisdom due to his familiar ‘steal from the rich to feed the poor’ statement. He offers the same charitable and kindness that a man ought to show to those less fortunate than them. Yet there is reason to believe that the legend of Robin first began as one of the nobility, he appears in official court records under the name of Robert Hod who was exiled from court for some misdeed. This could establish and explain the legend of his disregard for the wealthy and be the beginnings of stealthy skirmishes to regularly steal from the Sheriff of Nottingham and King John of England when he is known to be near Nottingham.
While Robin remains a fixture in popular culture, see Morecambe and Wise, Blackadder Back and Forth and several silver screen adaptations, the discussion of his existence is still a questionable thought. His romanticised relationship with Maid Marion was enough to convince Disney that he needed attention. In the film he was brought to life as a fox possibly outlining thoughts that he was not noble but a metaphorical urban issue that needs to be dealt with; as at the time of its release in 1973 fox hunting and culling was occurring at an almost increased amount across America. It established Robin as a myth in English folk law discouraging children from delving deeper into history to discover the fact behind the animalistic fiction.
He lives and breathes in Sherwood Forest where his songs and legend is still celebrated today. For those who do not believe me, take the Lime or Purple bus line from Nottingham City Centre to see the festivals in action and join the medieval merry-making in costume and drama. Hood is designed to be a sociable creature that interacts with people from all social levels and has a dedicated crew to help him with the initial plan of “steal from the rich” and make life a little less monotonous with living in a forest. The most famous of his ‘merry-men’ are Friar Tuck and Little John. Little John initially originates from Derbyshire with his name switched from John Little. Robin and John started their companionship as enemies and the ballads slowly follow the route in which they become compatriots. The irony is that ‘Little’ John is known to have been a man at around seven feet tall and he became the beginnings of a long tradition of a hero having a side-kick with the traits of John. He was thought to have been a straight-forward man that could be mistaken for dim-wittedness, an enduring trait that is often given to side-kicks even today. There is some doubt over whether John, just like Robin, existed. However, in 1789 in the parish churchyard in Hathersage, Derby a thighbone of a man thought to of the height John would have been that has been dated from the period in which Robin and John were supposed to live.
The merry man known as Friar Tuck comes from what was happening during the 14th centuries. Tuck once belonged to a monastery in York but it is thought he was expelled for reasons unclear. He is meant to underpin issues that was coursing through the Catholic Church in England during the 1300’s in that monks did not lead a celibate life, but enjoyed good food, wine and expensive tastes that came from the extensive lands that the church owned. Some adaptations of the Robin Hood ballads show Tuck as a kindly helpful monk but still show self-righteousness that the Church was thought to display because of the authority over people that they are given.
The main adversary for Robin Hood is the Sheriff of Nottingham, meant to keep law and order in his area but through the stories and ballads is known to be a bit a failure in both controlling Robin and keeping order in Nottingham. All three of the main characters appear from early on in the ballads suggesting the influence for the characterisation of them was already set into the English midlands culture of the 14th century. The fact that the Sheriff is shown to be greedy and corrupt is meant to represent the officials of shires who mean to sift money from the taxes that come in before being sent on to the king, a theory that still has grounding today.
The fact that the stories are still well-known today shows the strength of the oral culture that eventually will get written down by scholars or fans of the ballads sung at festivals or around camp fires. All the known Robin Hood stories can still be bought today in any book shop for anyone wishing to know the mischief in which Robin gets himself into.
*The years of Arthur from childhood to adulthood is documented in 5 chronological stories in the “Once and Future King” by T.H.White published in 1958 now available in all good book stores.
Today’s post is partly inspired by the 2010 movie starring Sean Bean called Black Death, where Bean plays the part of a medieval crusader in his quest of purging this damned community whose members do not seem to have been contaminated by the plague. I re-watch the film the other day and I remembered this kind of obsession I used to have some years ago- before I started my undergraduate degree and during my first year- about this gruesome topic. Truth is I found the Black Death fascinating. All the changes that Europe and possibly the rest of the world underwent due to the epidemic, how life style and mentalities turned around…The cultural and psychological impact is really what attracted me to the subject, and not the obscenity. So this is what I am going to briefly cover in the next lines (…should be glad I have a word limit, I could go on about this forever…).
One of the first things that shocked me the argument that the Black Death may have had an impact on social change. According to Gottfried, it seems likely that the plague triggered some of the late medieval revolts, such as the ‘Jacquerie’ (France, 1358) or the ‘Ciompi’ in Florence, 1378. Some even go as far as stating that it could have been one of the key factors in the build up towards the Peasant’s Revolt in England. However, one has to remember that the manorial system was already falling in decay. So perhaps, all what the plague did was just speeding up the process.
But the most striking impact, at least from my point of view, affected the subjects of literature, education, philosophy and art. Thus in Northern European literature the Dance Macabre, or Dance of Death became a major lay motif. A similar scenario is presented by some of the Italian renaissance authors: after all Boccaccio’s Deccameron is a story about some people who hide themselves in a house to avoid getting the illness and start telling morbid stories for the sake of entertainment…
The Black Death also contributed to the growth of local universities, due to the general fear of voyages and travelers. Foreigners and outsiders were not welcomed as they could be sources of contagion, so staying at home to pursue further studies was the safest bet. Furthermore, some philosophical movement were fueled by the epidemic, but the most prominent was the Millenarianism, which originated in Germany. Its Apocalyptic message contributed to the social agitation and anxiety, which was reinforce by the fanaticism of some religious groups, such as the flagellants, which paraded the streets harming themselves in public. Finally, it is worth considering that the plague could be seen as the trigger of many of the late medieval religious heresies. Benedictow argues that the Lollards in England were instigated by the disease to spread their ideas, although this may no be particular to the Lollards but to any reformist religious group. After all, the chaos produced by the illness had a great impact within the church. People started questioning the idea of salvation, they got worried about the after life and wondered if this was a payment for their sins. Meantime, the priests, who were as much victims of the plague as any other social group, showed no “holy protection” as they died like everyone else, and many even refused to offer their services so they would not be exposed. It is perhaps understanding that many, all things considered, became skeptical of the theological cosmos around them and began questioning things. Thus, the Reformation could be seen as the culmination of this heretical and unorthodox movements that sprang because of the Black Death.
In what concerns the field of art, it is unfortunate to say that architectural standards became lower. Due to the loss of population, many specialists, artists and masons died, and the newcomers to the craft were not properly trained as there were fewer skilled people to pass on their knowledge. It is know that in Northern Europe, the Black Death influenced artists to produce works more focus on the narrative element, and that stopped being so influenced by religion and the Christian message. But the idea of decay and disease reached the imaginations of the public and the artists, and so funerals became big festivities and tombs were designed in ways that still chill the visitors of some of the greatest cathedrals in England and the Continent. There are some good examples of this on the effigies found in Wells cathedral, although perhaps the best known example is the tomb of Cardinal La Grange in Avignon.
So, after my brief exploration of some of these issues instigated by the Black Death, I think it is a good point to finish this general overview on the social and cultural changes that took place in the Late Middle Ages. However, I would like to pose a question before I leave. I am not the first one to have asked this, and in fact it was a recurrent theme used by many of the secondary sources I have come across on my research about the Black Death…What would happen if something as violent and drastic as the plague would re-appear modern times, in our world? Would we all overreact and start acting just like our medieval ancestors? Yes, many different diseases have hit and hardened human kind since the beginning of time, and yet we have survived. But change is inevitable. I do also wonder if the late obsession with zombies and zombie-like infections is our modern version of the Dance Macabre…Think about it…half of the population dead, the others left to survive…
As we approach the 56th anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster that claimed the lives of 19, I look back at how such a disaster could create a legacy of arguably one of the most famous teams of the century. Although they maybe in a dark spot now, they will always remember this date and the men that lost their lives.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkvmDfW_Q08 The newsreel on Pathe of the event
Manchester United, arguably the greatest football team in England, but one that is still haunted to this day by a disaster which has hung over the club. The Munich Air Disaster on Thursday 6th February 1958 was one that brought the country to attention at the loss of such great sporting potential.
The original Busby Babes of the 1950′s included the likes of Tommy Taylor, a strong, promising young English striker who was a consistent scorer for the United team and for his country. There was also Duncan Edwards, a promising young midfielder who had already been recognised for his potential for both club and country. The potential of this team was already quite plainly seen through the fact that they had won the FA Cup in 1948 after being bankrupt during the 1930s and then later the league title in 1956 for the first time in the clubs history.
But one night in February, the United team after playing a European game to Red Star Belgrade landed down in Germany for the plane to refuel. Unfortunately, after two attempts at trying to take off, on the 3rd the plane crashed, leading to the deaths of 8 players, 3 staff members and 8 journalists. The average age of the players that were killed was 24, such a young age for players with great potential and long careers ahead of them. The survivors of the great team, Bobby Charlton, Harry Gregg and Bill Foulkes, as well as the great Sir Matt Busby, all were part of a rebuilding process which helped to cement this club as one of the greats in world history.
All of those lost in the Munich Air Disaster.
Matt Busby, arguably the most injured out of all the survivors, went on to create a team of legends, but not until 10 years after this horrific incident. The incident itself was met with widespread grief and disbelief that men so young had lost their lives. There were talks of Manchester United closing down but thankfully for the work of the assistant manager Jimmy Murphy, they were able to continue playing, and even beating Sheffield Wednesday in an FA Cup match 3-0, 13 days after the crash.
After writing an essay on the construction and use of Viking round shields late last year I started thinking about the possibility of me making one myself. After doing the research for my essay i realized that the materials I would need would be easy to find, and putting them together would be quite doable without much skill or any experience. I decided to do it, and keep a record of the process in case anyone else would like to try it or be interested.
First of all, I’ll introduce some of the history behind this type if shield. Round shields were used by the Vikings throughout the Viking age (8th – 11th Century) but they were also presumably used prior to and after this time period as well. Round shields of the same type were not used exclusively by the Vikings, as this was the primary shield design for the early Saxons, and even for the later Anglo-Saxons, as well as many other peoples of similar Nordic or Germanic origins as the Vikings and Saxons. The Vikings also used other types of shield, most significantly the kite shield which was adopted later, and is better suited for cavalry use. It is generally considered that round shields would have been used in the vast majority of combat and battle situations, as it was cheaper and easier to construct a shield that provides greater defence than it was to make armour that would have actually had a significant effect on the user’s protection.
Considering the fact that this shield was commonly used in Viking conflict, it is possible to assume that it was highly effective for use in many types of combat. It makes for a very effective defence as it blocks attacks to many targets simultaneously due to its size, shape and the way in which it can be held. In a relaxed position, the shield protects from neck to knees, with the head and the lower legs exposed. Thus, the head and lower leg were likely targets. Studies of skeletal remains show that many battle injuries occurred to the head and legs.
The shield could also be used offensively. The rim of the shield or the boss can be used to punch an opponent, allowing for the use of another weapon such as a sword to exploit the openings made by this attack. It is considered likely that a more aggressive posture would have been used with a shield, especially in single combat. The rim of the shield would be held facing the opponent rather than holding the shield flat and hiding behind it. With the weight of the shield resting on the arm and shoulder in this position, the user could more easily and quickly defend himself from powerful attacks. Projectiles would glance off the shield due to the angle, rather than get stuck in the shield, which would make it heavier and potentially useless. These methods are supported by modern reconstructions and tests of Viking age round shields. Further methods of use for the round shield that prove its effectiveness in combat include certain tactics used in large scale battles. For example, large formations of lines of men could be formed into a wall of shields, similar to the earlier Greek Phalanx. As long as close formation was kept, this tactic could be used to easily engage and survive against perhaps larger forces that did not use this shield. Another way in which this shield was used is to disarm an opponent. This could be done by blocking a strike with the rim of the shield, and if the attack was powerful enough it could ‘bite’ into the shield. The shield could then be twisted or moved in such a way that could break the weapon, or simply pull it from the wielder’s grip. Alternatively, the shield could be used to parry a spear attack with such force that it may break the head of the spear off.
Before I could start building the shield, I had to decide on the size and style I would make it in. First of all, looking at the materials, I would have to decide on the type of wood to use. A Viking shield would be made from softwood, preferably linden wood, but finds show them to have been made from spruce, fir or pine as well. Literary evidence suggests that the best shields would be made from plied layers of wood, but they have been commonly found to be made from butted planks. Based on this information, I decided to use modern plywood as it would be easier to use and make the shield sturdier. The type of wood I went for is a Scandinavian spruce, just for a bit more authenticity. As for size, I decided to go for the maximum diameter and thickness, of 12mm thick and 90cm in diameter. Shields would have averagely been from 6-12mm thick and 70-90cm in diameter. Presumably the size of a shield would depend on the size and strength of its user, so my shield may have turned out a bit big and heavy for me in the end. Finally, I had to decide on the other materials to use, which included the edging, the facing (if any) and the handle and boss. For edging I decided to use strips of rawhide, as it was easier to find in the right measurements than leather, and for the facing I decided to use linen rather than leather too, as a single piece of leather in the right size would have been quite expensive for me. The handle of the shield would be made out of a simple piece of wood rather than iron, and the shield boss I chose is one of the more common rounded types in a dark iron colour, rather than a shiny polished steel that many people seem to use today.
So to start constructing the shield, I first had to cut out the rough circle and hole in the middle. Using a modern electric saw sped up the process and saved me a lot of time and effort without any difference in the end result.
After sanding the edges and the handle hole into the correct shape, the next step was to glue on the linen facing. The end result of this wasn’t perfect, as there are some creases in the material that I couldn’t correct due to the glue drying quickly and working alone meant that I couldn’t stretch out the fabric for a better result. I think it turned out acceptably anyway. After this I painted the front of the shield in a white undercoat in preparation for future painting, and let it dry before I carried on
The next step after that was to attach the rawhide edging. Having never worked with rawhide before I wasn’t sure what to expect from it, but I did know that I had to soak it for a long while for it to become soft and workable. Attaching the rawhide to the edge took the most effort and time by far. This was mainly due to me not having a proper place to work and having to just use the floor. In the end though, it turned out ok, with only a few imperfections such as some of the nails bending.
Now it was starting to look like a shield, almost. Now all that needed to be done was to nail on the shield boss and handle, which didn’t take too long. And it was done!
So this is the finished result, minus the leather strap I plan on adding to the back and the painted design on the front, which I still have yet to decide on. I enjoyed making this shield, and I plan to make another in the future, maybe with planked linden wood if I can find some, and perhaps smaller, with a leather facing, different boss shape and an iron handle.
Brink, S. and Price, N. 2008. The Viking World. Abingdon: Routledge
DeVries, K. and Smith, D. 2007. Medieval Weapons: An Illustrated History of Their Impact. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO
Hampton, V.D. 2011. Viking Age Arms and Armor Originating in the Frankish Kingdom. The Hilltop Review 4 (2): Article 8.
Harrison, M. 1993. Viking Hersir 793-1066 AD. Oxford: Osprey
Harke, H. 1992. III Shield Technology. Archaeologia 110: 31-54
Hedenstierna-Jonson, C. 2006. The Birka Warrior: The material culture of a martial society. Stockholm: Stockholm University
Hedenstierna-Jonson, C. 2009. A Brotherhood of Feasting and Campaigning: The Success of The Northern Warrior. In Regner, E., von Heijne, C., Kitzler Åhfeldt, L. & Kjellström, A. (eds.). From Ephesos to Dalecarlia. Reflections on Body, Space and Time in Medieval and Early Modern Europe. The Museum of National Antiquities, Stockholm. Studies 11. Stockholm Studies in Archaeology 48. Stockholm.
Hurstwic. Viking Age Arms and Armor: Viking Shields. http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/manufacturing/text/viking_shields.htm (3 November 2013)
Jonson, H. (ed.) 1936. Islenzk fornrit VII: Grettis saga Asmundarson. Reykjavik
Short, W.R. 2010. Icelanders in the Viking Age: The People of the Sagas. Jefferson: Mcfarland & Company
Wise, T. 1979. Saxon, Viking and Norman. Oxford: Osprey
The Teahouse of the August Moon satirises both American and Japanese culture, drawing upon stereotypes and using them to form the foundations of the film. For example, American actor Marlon Brando plays the leading role of the Okinawan Sakini, and throughout the film he is the point of reference for the audience and the other characters. He draws attention to the differences in culture between the Americans and Okinawans in such a way that it should not be interpreted as offensive – there are just as many stereotypes about one culture as there are for the next. This piece will set out to reveal the American perceptions of Okinawa through the eyes of the main characters in this film. It will draw upon the idea of Okinawa as an outpost and the officers that are on duty; the stereotypical nature of Okinawans and the possible explanation for their want of a teahouse, not a school; the primitive nature of Okinawan life; the colonial assumptions of US reform efforts and the reception that the film received.
The film tells the story of a US Military Captain sent to Tobiki by a stubborn Colonel in Okinawa in order to build a school and teach the village democracy. Sakini, the Japanese-English interpreter narrates the film and acts as the bridge between the Okinawans and the American Occupiers, promising to give the village what they want, not what the Americans think they ought to have. Stereotypes are drawn upon in the form of a rowdy, loud mouthed American Colonel, the calm, child-like Okinawans and a geisha whom the Captain initially believes to be a prostitute – a common misconception made by Europeans and Americans alike. The moral of the film, looking beyond the stereotype, is one of acceptance – the American Captain has accepted that the Okinawans know what they want for themselves, more so than the Americans do, and the Okinawans have accepted that while the Americans are occupying their land, they may as well try make something out of it.
We are first introduced to Sakini, the interpreter, at the beginning of the film where he begins the tale of the teahouse. Immediately, Okinawan perceptions are addressed and contrasted with those of America and the result is rather entertaining. He reveals that certain things acceptable in one country are not in another, i.e. in Okinawa, they do not have locks on their doors as it could be perceived to be bad manners not to trust their neighbour, however, the lock and key business is a big industry in America and therefore concludes that bad manners equal good business. We see this throughout the film, epitomised by Captain Fisby. Fisby is too similar to the Okinawans to be able to ever have a considerable amount of control over them; he is too polite therefore, he is not a good businessman. Purdy however is the complete opposite of Fisby and the exemplary American Colonel stereotype – he thinks he is right, even if he is proven wrong. For example, a scene in the film sees Sakini explain that Tobiki is at the top of Okinawa, Purdy believes it to be at the bottom and retrieves a map to boisterously prove his point. Sakini glances at the map and immediately points out that it is upside down; Purdy then blames the army for not making a proper map, refusing to believe his logic is flawed.
The author of the book The Teahouse of the August Moon, Vern Sneider, was a member of the US military team that landed in Okinawa in 1945 and he became leader of the village of Tobaru (changed to Tobiki in the novel). It would appear that Sneider is taking advantage of his first hand experience within the occupied territory and trivialising common stereotypes in order to try and neutralise feelings towards both cultures. Published in 1951, only six years after the end of the war and the beginning of the Occupation, the feelings that were characterised in the film were still very much felt amongst Okinawans and Americans. Historian Andrew Gordon goes further and states that ‘in creating a public memory, mainstream historians likewise produced a homogenous version of a Japanese past that left out those on the margins (women, atom bomb victims, Burakumin, Okinawans), who in turn were prompted to write their own separate histories.’ For this reason, ‘as a satire and comedy, The Teahouse of the August Moon, like many memoirs and articles written by Occupationers, served to soften and minimise the cold, hard fact of Occupation.’ This leads back to the colonial attitudes of the American occupiers. They (Colonel Purdy) failed to see past the stereotypical Japanese society, and instead dryly emphasises them.
One stereotype drawn upon due to the colonial assumptions made by the US military, and in fact the majority of western civilisation, is that the Geisha are prostitutes. Geisha originated from oiran in the Edo period when prostitution was legal. However, after the Meiji Restoration, the government decided that there should be a divide between Geishas and prostitutes, as the former was not to be sullied by associating with the latter. Furthermore, confusion was heightened when ‘geisha girls’ were known to be engaging in prostitution, dressing like a Geisha and having sexual relations with the allied forces in Occupied Japan – the westerners could not tell the difference between the imitated and the real, henceforth, their modern misrepresentation. In the film, Captain Fisby is all too familiar with this misrepresentation, and assumes that the Geisha, Lotus Blossom, is trying to engage in sexual activity, when all she wanted to do was to help him put on his kimono. Sakini at this point corrects Fisby’s notion of prostitution and explains the Geisha in a simple, yet effective way; ‘Poor man like to feel rich, rich man like to feel wise. Sad man like to feel happy, so all go to Geisha house, and tell troubles to Geisha girl’. She is there to entertain, to sing, recite verse, play a musical instrument and dance – to help the man forget his troubles.
Naoko Shibusawa states that The Teahouse of the August Moon ‘satirized the Occupation and presented a more ambiguous view about who should be in charge and who should be teaching whom, it depicts the Okinawans as childlike, hard-working people who squabble about trifling matters, trivialize the meaning of democracy, and care most about creating a teahouse for their amusement’. The Okinawans are presented as a simple folk, arguing about matters that to any other would seem trivial, for example, Lotus Blossom is unwelcome in the village as the other female inhabitants feel like she is competition and will get more attention than they do. Fisby agrees to let Lotus Blossom teach the other women to be Geisha’s and to do so, it would only seem fair that they had a teahouse to be able to celebrate and practice their lessons. Fisby reluctantly concedes and the idea of a school and teaching democracy is forgotten, after all, in a town where the majority of the population is adults, why is there a need for a school? However, ironically, the Okinawans have no need for democracy because the US army is occupying their lands, undemocratically giving out orders. When there is need for democracy, their primitive and traditional ways lead them in the right direction.
The primitive nature that the Okinawans adopt in the film, reflect the animalistic methods used by Colonel Purdy. It could have been that as the same attributes were shared between both population and Colonel, that he was the only man for the job. Other factors to consider are that as Okinawa was seen as an outpost far from the mainland and the capital Tokyo where there were not enough officers, Purdy is possibly too stupid to be given a post anywhere else in Japan.
To conclude, the film was a success and was nominated for six Golden Globe awards. It set out to be a satirical comedy focusing on the perceptions of Americans and Okinawans of each other and I believe it achieved its aims. There have been critics who have fought against this satire, for example Bosley Crowther suggests that ‘as the American captain who gets completely enmeshed in the seductive toils of an Okinawan village when he tries to subdue it to the useful and the good, throws himself into this enjoyment with such grinning and grotesque gusto that one gets the uneasy feeling that his captain is mildly mad.’ It would appear that Crowther takes the side of the steadfast Colonel in that Okinawans need to be taught democracy and as they lost the war, they need to listen to those who won. How can it be that America deem another societies ways inept because they do not need democracy or technology to live, just culture and street-wise survival instinct.
 Andrew Gordon, Postwar Japan as History (Los Angeles, 1993), 462.
 Naoko Shibusawa, America’s Geisha Ally: Reimagining the Japanese Enemy (Harvard University Press, 2010), 262.
 The Teahouse of the August Moon, Daniel Mann, MGM, (1956).
 B. Crowther, ‘The Teahouse of the August Moon’, The New York Times, 30th November 1956.
The first English Civil War was a four year conflict which split the country into followers of the monarchy (called Royalists), and supporters of the Parliament (colloquially known as ‘Roundheads.’) Hampshire was the site of various battles including the Battles of Roundway and Cheriton, and its proximity to London meant both sides vied for control of it. Hampshire also saw heavy fighting because the county itself supported Parliament, however various cities including Winchester were Royalists strongholds.
During the 17th century, Winchester was Hampshire’s third city, and at the beginning of the civil war its population was estimated to be about 3,000 people. The city’s size and location meant it was strategically important and therefore both sides vied for control of Winchester.
The history of Winchester during the civil war begins with Sir William Ogle (the city’s MP) declaring for the Royalists. This meant that the city was now technically a Royalist area and thus opened it up for a potential attack from Parliament. Later in the year, Lord Grandison and his army of 4 troops of horses and 600 dragoons were returning to Hampshire after campaigning in Wiltshire, while being pursued by Sir William Waller. Grandison subsequently decided to retreat to Winchester in order to prevent Waller from attacking his force. This meant that Winchester was now at risk from a potential Parliamentarian attack. Grandison recognized that Winchester was under threat, and sent a letter to the city’s governor in which he offered to divert Waller away from the city and force him to chase him into Sussex. Consequently, Grandison was attacked by Waller and defeated which left Winchester open to an attack by Waller’s army.
The defenders of Winchester then began preparing to defend the city from the inevitable Parliamentary assault. On the 12th of December 1642, Waller attacked Winchester; the main thrust of his attack was focused between the Northern and Western gates. Eventually, the Parliamentarians were able to breach the city walls and enter the city. Despite this success, many of the Royalist defenders survived the attack and were able to flee into the city’s castle. This meant that Parliament was not in full control of the city, however they ignored the Royalists in the castle and instead began to sack the city. Clerical property was at most risk of being of damaged, and many items which were considered to be ‘popish’ such as crucifixes were burned. On the 13th, the Royalists in the castle surrendered to the Parliamentarian forces, and on the next day Winchester Cathedral itself was sacked.
Later, Winchester was retaken by the Royalists, but on the 30th March 1644 , Waller appeared at the gates and demanded that the city surrender and be re-occupied by Parliament. Sir William Ogle agreed to this demand as he hoped that Waller would allow him to keep possession of the city’s castle. Waller, did not accept Ogle’s terms and sent ambassadors to Ogle stating that he would burn the Lord’s house and Winchester itself if he did not surrender the castle. Ogle ignored Waller’s ultimatum and in response Waller plundered some of the city and then withdraw from the city. Winchester was once again under Royalist control.
However, this was not the last time the two sides clashed over the city. On April 8th of 1644, Waller marched to Winchester with the aim of recapturing the city for Parliament. The commander was able to successfully breach the city’s defences when he blow up the Southern gate. Although the Royalists attempted to prevent the Parliamentarians from entering the city, the latter eventually retook the city. Once again, they plundered the city and history repeated itself once again when Waller left the city with Ogle still in control of the city’s castle.
On September 28th 1645, a Parliamentary regiment led by Oliver Cromwell arrived at Winchester and began preparations to assault and capture the city. After unsuccessfully negotiating a surrender with the Royalist garrison, the Parliamentary force managed to enter the city via the Eastern and the Western gates. Subsequently, 400 Royalist soldiers retreated into the castle and defiantly continued their fight from inside there. The Royalist garrison in the castle was able to resist the Parliamentarian army until the 6th of October when they finally surrendered.
By 1645, it was clear that the Royalists had lost the war, however it wasn’t until 1646 that they finally surrendered to the Scottish. Hampshire had been divided and devastated by the civil war and its effects lived on in the county for some time after the fighting had ended.
1. T, Mclachlan., The Civil War in Hampshire, (Salisbury, 2000).
For this week’s blog update I am going to talk about the Japanese historian and educator Saburo Ienaga (1913-2002) and his lawsuits against the Japanese Ministry of Education (MOE) from 1965 to their climax in 1997. His struggle against textbook censorship was one of the most important social and political struggles in Post-war Japan and helped to introduce many post-war students and more widely, the Japanese public to the events and horrors committed by the Japanese military during the war. Therefore, in this post I will look at each of the three lawsuits and explain what each of them meant and examine whether they were successful in there aims and then finish with a conclusion.
To understand the textbook trials, I will firstly reveal a bit about Ienaga’s upbringing and his life before and during World War II. Ienaga was born in 1913 into a family of near poverty with his father serving as an officer in the army whilst Ienaga was growing up. Ienaga’s experience of school education left him firmly believing in democracy and world peace rather than Japan’s ‘uniqueness’. Ienaga did not speak out against the Japanese Government during the war as he felt that it would make the deaths of the Japanese soldiers meaningless. As for political stance, Ienaga was a Progressive or leaned more to the left side of politics and he also stood against state intervention in individual’s cultural and spiritual work. He summed up his position in a letter in March 1966; “I believe in the pride of Japan. But unlike some of the people in the Ministry of Education, I absolutely cannot endorse Emperor Jimmu, the Korean annexation and the Greater East Asia War as the “positive side” of Japanese history.”  Whilst Ienaga was part of the wider progressive movement it was through him that the Ministry of Education was challenged.
Ienaga’s history textbook the Shin Nihonshi (revised edition, first submitted in 1952) was rejected and revised over three times between 1955 and 1964. Because of this Ienaga was convinced that the textbook screening was a form of censorship so he took the case to court against the Ministry of Education in 1965. The screening process, after the American Occupation ended in 1952 was controlled by the Conservative backed Ministry of Education. The textbooks were produced by publishing companies and the content was not prescribed but screened for factual accuracy by the Ministry of Education. The system was in many ways supporting the Conservatives and nationalists as ‘by screening out what cannot be said (“factually inaccurate statements”) rather than stating what should be said, the screening process effectively allows conservatives and nationalists to limit the contents of textbooks by continually challenging the “factual accuracy” of the numbers killed in the Nanking massacre or by simply dropping “masochistic” topics.’ 
The First lawsuit began in 1964, with the primary objective being to demonstrate that state screening of textbooks was unconstitutional (e.g. a violation of the freedom of expression and scholarship) and that it was contrary to the Fundamental Education Law of 1947 (i.e. a violation of the principle protecting education from improper control). In the then current edition, Ienaga had highlighted the ‘reckless war’ in the depiction of the Asia-Pacific War and had shown the darker side of the conflict. This perspective on Japanese war history highlighted Japan’s role as a victimizer and aggressor in the war rather than as a victim. The victim narrative was the perspective that the MOE wanted to show to the students in their textbooks and also what the Japanese government wanted to portray to the public. As Ienaga set about with his sixth revision of Shin Nihonshi (1967 edition) the Ministry screened the edition but could find no improvements. It is also worth noting that each of the lawsuits stayed dormant in the court process and in the public eye, long after they had began.
The chief objective of the second lawsuit (1967) was the same as the first but its advantages were that it was an administrative suit, the legal procedure was less complicated than that of the earlier “damage claim” suit. By the end of 1967, because of the first suit, details of the textbook screening process and the exact reasons for the rejection of Ienaga’s textbook were emerging, despite government resistance. The second suit was ruled in Ienaga’s favour in 1970 at the Tokyo District Court, where it was then passed up to the Tokyo High Court where it won again. The first lawsuit however didn’t do as well as the Tokyo District Court agreed there had been some ‘abuses of power but that the state had the right to regulate the content of education and declared state textbook screening constitutional.’  Ienaga’s victories as well as the mild public attention that the cases were getting allowed the system to become relaxed allowing more material concerning Japanese war atrocities could be included. In 1973 for example, Ienaga’s revised Shin Nihonshi passed the screening process even though it included more detailed passages about Japan’s invasion of China and Japanese colonial policy in Korea.
However things began to change after the Liberal Democrat Party (LDP) won a majority in both Houses in 1980, and continued stressing a need for a more nationalist curriculum. The LDP had significant of support from Right-Wing intellectuals, economists and big businesses who agreed the need for a more patriotic history. Even against this, the highly public battles and media attention showed how state control over education had strengthened and how Japanese wartime atrocities were becoming water-down in textbooks.
The third lawsuit’s goal in 1982 ‘was still to demonstrate the unconstitutionality of state textbooks screening. In the third suit, however, he and his counsel challenged the Ministry’s “abuses of power” in requesting or suggesting changes of textbook descriptions concerning specific historical events.’  Ienaga also challenged eight specific points in ‘arena of historical truths’ – 4 on the Japanese invasion of China, 1 concerned with Japanese colonisation of Korea, another involved the battle of Okinawa and two cover domestic protests against imperial power. In 1989 the third lawsuit passed the Tokyo District Court and was appealed to the High Court. Ienaga wanted to win the main point that state textbook screening was unconstitutional. In 1993 the Tokyo High Court ruled that Ienaga’s contention regarding the Nanjing massacre had, through the Ministry’s screening process, been excessive and unlawful but ruled against Ienaga on Unit 731. It finally reached the Supreme Court after an appeal from Ienaga in 1997 and reached a conclusion that allowed Ienaga to mention Unit 731. The Supreme Court deemed in 1989 that the second suit had no benefit because Ienaga’s 1969 book was no longer in use anyway. The first lawsuit was dismissed in 1993 as the court claimed that the Ministry had not been excessibly unreasonable. ‘Although Ienaga lost his attempt to ban government textbook screening as unconstitutional, the court held that the Ministry’s requests for revision must be based on views, verified or commonly accepted in the field of history.’ 
To conclude, the textbook trials undertaken by Ienaga were a long and difficult process, in which he faced an influential foe in the form of the Ministry of Education. The trials showed to the people of Japan and the World the dangers of covering up history as it is very difficult to move into the future without solving the problems of the past. The screening process stills goes on today, every three years or so a new or revised Conservative and Progressive textbook is screened and then it is decided whether they it is suitable for release. Ienaga’s efforts and successes should not be forgotten as they represent an important turning point in the memorialisation of Japanese war history in Japan. The trials therefore, reflect the growing need in Japanese society for a national history and identity that incorporates both a victim and victimizer narrative.
References and sources
 R, Huntsberry., ‘“Suffering History”: the textbook trial of Ienaga Saburo’, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 44 (1976), 253.
 Philip Seaton., Japan’s Contested War Memories: The ‘memory rifts’ in historical consciousness of World War II (London, 2007), 145.
 Yoshiko, Nozaki & Hiromitsu, Inokuchi., ’Japanese Education, Nationalism, and Ienaga Saburō’s Textbook Lawsuits’, in Laura Hein and Mark Selden (ed.), Censoring History, Citizenship and Memory in Japan, Germany and the United States (New York, 2000), 109.
 Ibid., 114
 Ibid., 119
Hello everyone, and happy New Year! Hope you have a good one, and to celebrate, is an article on a couple of lectures I had the privilege of attending at the University of Winchester last year. The lecture was given by Professor Howard Williams from the University of Chester, called Death and Transition. The first was on Viking ship burials, and so from my poorly written and even more poorly transcribed notes is an account of the first lecture:
The lecture was a case study on a ninth century Viking boat grave in Sweden excavated in 2005 when he was accompanied by some Swedish colleagues. It was used as an example of the burial process worked, as well as their role in Viking society.
He discussed how it allowed us to consider death as drama and process, and he explained how the body is left for ten days before the cremation ceremony. He noted that the boats weren’t specially made for use in life, and considered the provenance of the boats as well as wondering what knowledge about the burial process in the Viking Age.
He also considered the ways that at funerals, societies recited their most important rituals, and he discussed the dead’s relation to them, as well as the importance of the boat in the ritual. He discussed the imagery of movement that was implied by the choice of a boat funeral and cremations. There were also similar discoveries in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries. He also lectured on the carvings, in particular carvings of boats, possibly representing transportation to the afterlife. He also comparing the movement of the boats to movements of the flames at cremations. It was interesting to hear him talk about the hierarchy of burial practices and their categorisation. He discussed some very interesting facts about the burial practices of the Vikings, and the role of the boat in these burials.
One interesting theory he suggested was that important eulogies became the basis for later Viking sagas. It was also interesting to hear about the implements and accessories that were buried with the bodies, and what evidence they provided. It was equally interesting to discuss varieties of burials, such as a three person burial in Calpan, an early trading post found in Norway, as well as one in Orkneyjar where a Christian burial was on top of a Viking settlement. He also discussed the position of boat burials, and their inhumations, and how this influenced his choice of excavations. He also considered hypotheses about why some artefacts were missing (he believed it was probably due to a grave robbery, and discussed who may have been responsible). He also considered potential security measures against grave robberies. He closed the lecture by considering the possibility they were buried the in ships, so that the dead could later find their way back to the world of the living.
It was all very interesting. I apologise if I got anything wrong, you can blame my handwriting, but I hoped you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Eventually I’ll post up the second lecture, but in the meantime, I wish you all a happy New Year!