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Danish Expert Declares Vinland Map Genuine

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the even-now-they-walk-among-us dept.

Media 210

MBCook writes "A Danish conservation expert named Rene Larsen has finished a 5-year study of the infamous Vinland Map and declared it genuine. 'All the tests that we have done over the past five years — on the materials and other aspects — do not show any signs of forgery,' he said at the press conference. He and his team studied the ink, the paper, and even insect damage. They believe that the ink, which was discovered in 1972 to contain titanium dioxide and thus supposedly was too new for the map to be genuine, was contaminated when sand was used to dry the ink."

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I'm not so sure. (4, Funny)

acehole (174372) | more than 5 years ago | (#28746407)

The edges arent slightly burnt and you dont roll it out to read it and c'mon, where's the X?

Clever attack exploits fully-patched linux kernel (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28746779)

Clever attack exploits fully-patched Linux kernel according to this internet report

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/07/17/linux_kernel_exploit/ [theregister.co.uk]

That is

  Score:5, Funny

unless you are one of the few that are running it, linux new kernel is a sieve of Danish map verifiers. Danish? Map verifiers? 5 years? What a wasted 5 years for those who are still using linux. I think those people are stupid.

Re:Clever attack exploits fully-patched linux kern (1, Offtopic)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#28746933)

Come on, when it's not in Debian Stable, it's a beta, even kids know that. :-)

Good Point... (5, Interesting)

Constantin (765902) | more than 5 years ago | (#28746887)

It reminds me of a problem my mum told me about in the art world: Verifying the authenticity of ancient scrolls has become virtually impossible due to the discovery of large quantities of paint supplies (dried ink especially) and paper in monasteries. Armed with "old materials", forgers only have to focus on getting the technique, etc. right since there is no means to catch them technologically; for example, carbon dating and similar techniques will give the "right" results. Thus, art historians and dealers in that field allegedly have to rely more and more on their eyes to spot bad technique...

It would not surprise me if the Vinland map could have been constructed under similar circumstances (if that is what someone intended to do). I'm sure someone somewhere could have scared up some old ink and a hide to paint it on. It is or this reason that I guess so many folk are skeptical of the repeated maps from around the world that have come out "discovering" the Americas...

Re:Good Point... (3, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#28747315)

I think there would still be some clues... For instance, does a ink-covered spot of paper age the same way a non-inked spot does ?

Re:Good Point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28747497)

When was it lost - I thought Time Team America said peopel where there as at least 13000 errm 6000 years ago.

Re:Good Point... (2, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#28747513)

"It reminds me of a problem my mum told me about in the art world"

Well you've convinced me, everyone knows a mum trumps an expert [www.kons.dk] .

Re:Good Point... (4, Interesting)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 5 years ago | (#28747961)


It reminds me of a problem my mum told me about in the art world: Verifying the authenticity of ancient scrolls has become virtually impossible due to the discovery of large quantities of paint supplies (dried ink especially) and paper in monasteries. Armed with "old materials", forgers only have to focus on getting the technique, etc. right since there is no means to catch them technologically; for example, carbon dating and similar techniques will give the "right" results. Thus, art historians and dealers in that field allegedly have to rely more and more on their eyes to spot bad technique...

That's the best news I've heard in weeks. Assigning Art monetary value based on some imaginary or hidden property like "authenticity", or "name recognition" is incredibly silly. The fact that forgers have been able to replicate this so people might actually have to assign value based on... what the Art looks like... is really wonderful! Perhaps someday forgery will be so perfect and complete that the concept of an "artistic forgery" will be a concept people have to look at history books to understand. I especially love the occasional documentary on a "master forger" who fooled all the "experts" into believing some work of art was really created by -famous artist-.

Re:Good Point... (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 5 years ago | (#28748161)

Why is it "incredibly silly" for people to value something the way they want?

Sure I would never pay $20 for a single pokemon card, but if someone else wants to that's their business.

Same with BoA stock and antique furniture and art.

Carbon dating (3, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 5 years ago | (#28748159)

Armed with "old materials", forgers only have to focus on getting the technique, etc. right since there is no means to catch them technologically; for example, carbon dating and similar techniques will give the "right" results

Carbon dating any plastic material would probably result in a very old age. Carbon-14 is produced by cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere. Any material that's produced from petroleum, such as plastics and solvents, is depleted of carbon-14, because it comes from oil that was buried for millions of years.

The same is true for coal. Mix rock coal in a black pigment that's normally made with charcoal and it will appear to be much older.

Re:Carbon dating (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 5 years ago | (#28748273)

It will also appear to be made of rock coal, which might be something of a problem.

The real question here is:if people were already living here, how could Vikings OR Colombus genuinely have been considered to discover anything?

Re:Good Point... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#28748303)

"so many folk are skeptical of the repeated maps from around the world that have come out "discovering" the Americas"

In this case the map isn't particularly surprising for having part of North America on it. The Vikings are known to have colonized Newfoundland prior to this map's alleged origin.

Re:I'm not so sure. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28747221)

It's pretty simple: If the map is real... where is Vinland then!? Ah? Ah!?

Re:I'm not so sure. (1)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 5 years ago | (#28747379)

You forget that the X is on the other half of the map that's tattooed on some teenage girl's shoulder, and the map lines up perfectly with the tattoo. She can probably be found somewhere in LA, maybe Beverly Hills.

If only history was right (4, Funny)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 5 years ago | (#28746457)

Now in the Americas they should all speak Danish and not Italian!

Re:If only history was right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28746759)

actually, Leiv Eriksson's parents were outlaws from Norway, so he spoke old Norwegian which is more like the Icelandic of today

Re:If only history was right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28747503)

He was born and raised in Iceland, so presumably he spoke Icelandic, which was already a distinct language by the 9th century, and his name was Leifur BTW

Re:If only history was right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28747535)

Actually, Norway has two languages - Norwegian Bokmål ("Book language" - but also spoken - very similar to Danish) and Norwegian Nynorsk ("New Norwegian"). Norwegian Nynorsk might be more like Icelandic than Danish, but Norwegian Bokmål is essentially Danish. I guess it's because Norway was part of Denmark some time ago...

I'm a dane and I speak both Danish and Norwegian (Bokmål). I know some Norwegian Nynorsk, but not enough to carry a conversation. I've heard quite a bit of Icelandic, and I don't understand a word... well... yeah, I know one word... :-)

When it comes to it though, Icelandic is very much like the language spoken in Denmark at the time of the map - if it's real...

Re:If only history was right (3, Informative)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 5 years ago | (#28747745)

Actually, Norway has two languages - Norwegian Bokmål ("Book language" - but also spoken - very similar to Danish) and Norwegian Nynorsk ("New Norwegian"). Norwegian Nynorsk might be more like Icelandic than Danish, but Norwegian Bokmål is essentially Danish. I guess it's because Norway was part of Denmark some time ago...

I'm a dane and I speak both Danish and Norwegian (Bokmål). I know some Norwegian Nynorsk, but not enough to carry a conversation. I've heard quite a bit of Icelandic, and I don't understand a word... well... yeah, I know one word... :-)

When it comes to it though, Icelandic is very much like the language spoken in Denmark at the time of the map - if it's real...

Actually, Norwegians never spoke Bokmal. It looks like Danish, because it essentially is Danish. Norwegians spoke Norse, and wrote in Danish. Much like the middle ages where most of Europe spoke this language or that language, but everything was written in Latin.

Nynorsk was started in order to try and provide Norwegians with a written version of the language that they actually spoke, rather than continuing to force their children to learn a new language just to write in.

Icelandic is much closer to Old Norse than any surviving North Germanic language (which is the Scandinavian languages + Icelandic). Since they were isolated on an island, and were colonists, they tended towards linguistic conservation. A similar situation happened with English in the USA (only on a way smaller historical scale.)

Overall though, Nynorsk is about as similar to Icelandic as Danish/Bokmal, and Swedish are. The three "languages" are reasonably mutually intelligible, and mutually unintelligible with Icelandic.

Re:If only history was right (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28746969)

better not. Did you actually hear danish ? it sounds awful.

Re:If only history was right (1)

JPLR (1404551) | more than 5 years ago | (#28747015)

I don't know for Danish but I find Norwegian or Icelandic souding incredibly beautiful. Some kind of bird language. Unfortunately I don't understand either language.

Re:If only history was right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28747177)

Danish sounds like a Norwegian with a slack tongue and a potato in his throat.

Re:If only history was right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28747555)

Are you sure ?

Swedish is semi tonal so you sometimes hear speakers of other Germanic languages refer to Swedish as "Bird like" and as having "singing qualities" etc , with the exception of a tiny minority that lives close to Sweden Norwegian has no tonal qualities at all. Icelandic has a hard accent on the start of each syllable, similar to Czech only much harder, in fact the hardest such accent you can find giving the language a machine gun like quality, and making an Icelandic accent on English etc quite distinct. Beautiful?

The grandfather post is referring to the guttural sounds in Danish that are similar to the sounds in Dutch, Flemish and the variants of German spoken in the north western lowlands of Germany, they sound strange to English speakers.

hm (1)

Dekker3D (989692) | more than 5 years ago | (#28746491)

actually, this is rather interesting. if it's genuine, what does that tell of this "vinland"? maybe i've got it wrong, but it's written as if it's in the middle of the ocean. suppose it's like atlantis and sunk to the bottom of the sea?

... they don't make land like they used to, do they? *sigh*

Re:hm (4, Informative)

Brown (36659) | more than 5 years ago | (#28746537)

Vinland is recognised by most historians as being a short-lived Norse ('Viking') colony in the Newfoundland area, probably on mainland North America (though the exact location and extent is very unsure). See the Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] .

The map shows it as an island presumably (assuming it is genuine) because the area was explored to a very limted extent and the explorers were unaware that it was part of a much greater land mass.

Re:hm (4, Informative)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 5 years ago | (#28746687)

The map shows it as an island presumably (assuming it is genuine) because the area was explored to a very limted extent and the explorers were unaware that it was part of a much greater land mass.

Huh? The map shows Vinland as an island because it's Newfoundland and Newfoundland is an island. The province people commonly refer to as "Newfoundland" is more properly known as "Newfoundland and Labrador", Labrador being the mainland part of the province (possibly what the Norse called "Markland", as your article noted) and Newfoundland being the island of Newfoundland (site of the only Norse village in North America outside of Greenland).

Re:hm (1)

Brown (36659) | more than 5 years ago | (#28746863)

Newfoundland is one possible site - there are a number of proposed locations in that area, down to Massachusetts. In addition, Newfoundland island is only 17 miles off the coast of Labrador, so it's not really relevant - if they'd explored Newfoundland, or sailed round it, they would clearly have been aware of the much larger land mass.

Anyway, even though the map is not to a fixed scale, the 'island' couldn't really be Newfoundland - it's the size of most of western europe!

Re:hm (2, Interesting)

rve (4436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28747061)

Newfoundland is one possible site

Newfoundland is the only site in the Americas where actual Viking artifacts and remains of a building were found: L'Anse aux Meadows [wikipedia.org]

As for the map, there really wasn't any need for physical analysis of it to know that it cannot be genuine, as it contains information that was unknowable in the 15th century. According to the wikipedia page, the writing on the map also contains anachronisms. Did someone take a genuine map and add Japan, Australia and Newfoundland, or was it a complete forgery from the ground up? I guess it doesn't really matter.

It was not uncommon in the 19th and 20th century, with the emergence of the nation state and nationalism, to forge artifacts with the intention to make ones ancestors look smarter and more important than they really were. Not just in Europe. The Kensington Runestone [wikipedia.org] is an example from the US, and mr Shinichi Fujimura [wikipedia.org] planted forged stone tools in an attempt to 'prove' that human civilization must have started in Japan.

Re:hm (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28747467)

Ahhh yes. Another example of someone taking the word of a Wikipedia article over that of an expert who has closely studied the artifact in question for over 5 years. And who says we're only getting dumber?

Re:hm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28747963)

What are experts' opinions worth anyway? Maybe he just wants to score a lucrative book deal, got "incentives" or is after academic fame. How many experts have lied for one reason or another - especially in archaeology? They're just human.

Unfortunately Wikipedia is more reliable and robust as far as falsehood is concerned, than some guy in some institute. Of course Wikipedia is still of questionable reliability :)

Re:hm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28747985)

AC here. I'm of the opinion that ALL prior knowledge should constantly be questioned--it's the only way to ensure that real progress is made. This includes constantly reviewing our understanding of human history, migrations, settlements, etc. It sounds like that's what this expert is doing (a title, by the way, which is bestowed upon you by others in your field, never one that is self-assigned [as seems to be too often the case]), yet rve up there is saying "No, it can't be real because Wikipedia says so."

Re:hm (0, Flamebait)

rothic (596907) | more than 5 years ago | (#28747809)

Wow, three Wikipedia links in one post. We must be living at the apex of scholarship in the timeline of human history.

Might want to check those facts of yours (4, Informative)

celtic_hackr (579828) | more than 5 years ago | (#28748271)

As for the map, there really wasn't any need for physical analysis of it to know that it cannot be genuine, as it contains information that was unknowable in the 15th century. According to the wikipedia page, the writing on the map also contains anachronisms. Did someone take a genuine map and add Japan, Australia and Newfoundland, or was it a complete forgery from the ground up?

Information that was unknowable? What information?

If you'd bother to look at the map which is part of the Wikipedia article linked in this article, you'd see, there is no Australia on that map. As far as Japan. Japan was certainly known. You know from the Silk road trade routes with China and the spice routes that existed back into antiquity. You know those primitives like the Greeks and Romans and earlier civilizations that all had trade with China. Ever heard of Marco Polo (1254-1324), who lived in the 13th and 14th centuries? He went to China and knew of Japan. Japan was written about as early as his visit and his story was widely and wildly popular in Europe. So to say it was unknowable that Japan existed is the exact opposite of what is true. It would have been almost impossible to NOT know about Japan in the 15th century. I see nothing on the map that was unknowable in the 15th century.

I guess this is part of the reason why you are NOT an expert on ancient maps and forgeries. Although, the first thing that I thought of was, maybe someone added Vinland to a genuine 15th century map. I'm no expert, but if I were that'd be on the things I'd spend five years trying to (dis/)prove.

Re:hm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28747457)

They never charted Markland of helluland. They just settled in Vinland. There are no historical records of there being a second, or any other settlements for that matter. the Ruins of a Norse settlement were found at L'Anse aux Meadows, whcih is in Newfoundland, on Newfoundland island.

Given that there's no records of there being any other colonies, and a colony was already found, and that colony was found on Newfoundland island, what reason is there to believe that L'Anse aux Meaduws isn't Erikson's settlement? Other than debate over the etymology of "Vinland" there really isn't one, and even the etymology debate is a bit teneous, given Norse naming conventions, seeing as Iceland is actually quite pleasant, and Greenland is a frozen wasteland, it makes perfect sense thar even if Vinland was named after grape vines, that there were no grapevines in Vinland

Are you seriously expecting a 600 year old map, redrawn from an 800 year old map, based on 1,000 year old charts to be in proper scale?

It's deductive reasoning, here's a list of suspected sites, and weather or not there was a Nose settlement found there:

  Newfoundland - Yes, at L'Anse aux Meadows.
  Anticosti Island - No.
  Gaspé Peninsula - No.
  Cape Breton Island - No.
  Nova Scotia - No.
  northeast coast of New Brunswick - No.
  coastal Maine - No.
  Cape Cod, Massachusetts - No.
  Follins Pond, between Dennis and Yarmouth - No.
  Waquoit Bay, between Falmouth and Mashpee - No.
  Cambridge, Massachusetts - No.
  Nantucket - No.
  Martha's Vineyard - No.
  Nomans Land, Massachusetts - No.
  Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island - No.
  Merrimac, Massachusetts, No.

Now, consider, the reference to Vinland 15 years prior to Leaf's voyage, the one that inspired Erikson to go on his voyage in the first place.Bjarni HerjÃlfsson was blown off course on his way to visit his father in Greenland, where he spotted an uncharted landmass covered in forests. This was in late summer, not wanting, nor being equipped to brave a winter on this new land, he corrected his course, and made it back to Greenland before Winter, where he told of his story and sold ships to one Leif Erikson. Consider that this landmass would have to be close enough to Greenland to make it back and forth within such a short timespan,

Baffin Island is close enough, but he'd have had to have already past the southernmost tip of Greenland to be blown off course toward there, since its southernmost tip is further north than that of Greenland, Labrador or Newfoundland makes a lot more sense, one is Markland, one is Vinland, one is heavily wooded, the other was colonized.

Masachussetts is way to far for HerjÃlfsson to have made it back and forth in such short time, and he'd have to have passed around New Brunswick and Newfoundland on the way to Greenland. Furthermore, consider that HerjÃlfsson left for Greenland from Iceland. Now look at a map of the North Atlantic. How does heading southwest from Iceland, and being blown off course to massachusetts make sense, yet further, and look at a map a map again, how does Leif Erikson leave from the southernmost tip of Greenland and end up in Massachusetts without running into Labrador and Newfoundland first?

Re:hm (1)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 5 years ago | (#28748317)

Apparently the name "new found" is misleading

Re:hm (1)

AndrewElms (1476587) | more than 5 years ago | (#28746837)

The settlement has been found at Lanse Aux Meadows and is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Re:hm (1)

xZgf6xHx2uhoAj9D (1160707) | more than 5 years ago | (#28747145)

No, a settlement has been found at Lanse Aux Meadows. If I'm not mistaken, the currently prevailing opinion is that Vinland was south of Lanse Aux Meadows and that Lanse Aux Meadows was never documented by the Vikings (that we know about).

Re:hm (1)

Dekker3D (989692) | more than 5 years ago | (#28747303)

ah, thanks for clearing that up. so basically, it means people knew the place long before we thought they did?

i love this kind of thing. it's always nice to hear about some group in history being smarter than we thought.

Re:hm (1)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 5 years ago | (#28746539)

I know it's not cool on Slashdot to read the article or any links from the summary, but "Vinland" is Newfoundland, and that's basically why people consider this map important.

Re:hm (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 5 years ago | (#28746579)

"if it's genuine, what does that tell of this "vinland"? maybe i've got it wrong, but it's written as if it's in the middle of the ocean."

Well, with our current geographical knowledge, what's west of Iceland? I'd say it's a mass of land in the middle of the ocean. Certainly it's a bit bigger than how it's depicted in that map (it might be that vikings didn't have the time to visit it all around, you know, America is quite big), but it *is* a landmass in the middle of the ocean.

Larsen != Larson (5, Informative)

Zenzay42 (1150143) | more than 5 years ago | (#28746531)

The experts name is most probable not Rene Larson but René Larsen. As a Dane living in the UK, having a surname ending with sen, I'm proper fed up with having to spell my surname to everyone taking my name down. To me Larsen sounds Danish and Larson sounds Swedish. Sorry for rambling.

Re:Larsen != Larson (1)

rbrausse (1319883) | more than 5 years ago | (#28746563)

rtfa. and you're right, the guy is called Rene Larsen

Re:Larsen != Larson (5, Informative)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 5 years ago | (#28746585)

The source has him as Larsen, also here is his work page [www.kons.dk] .

Re:Larsen != Larson (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 5 years ago | (#28746637)

Yet they both mean exactly the same, son of Lars.

Re:Larsen != Larson (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28747005)

Yet they both mean exactly the same, son of Lars.

Obviously Lars was leading a double life with a family in Sweden and a family in Denmark.

Re:Larsen != Larson (5, Funny)

jgrahn (181062) | more than 5 years ago | (#28746661)

As a Dane living in the UK, having a surname ending with sen, I'm proper fed up with having to spell my surname to everyone taking my name down. To me Larsen sounds Danish and Larson sounds Swedish. Sorry for rambling.

The normal Swedish spelling is Larsson.

Larsen is a danish or norwegian guy. Larson is a scandinavian immigrant to the US, or a swede who wants to insinuate he has more money than some random Larsson. Larzon is a swede who's in the sleazier part of the entertainment industry.

Re:Larsen != Larson (2, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#28747193)

Larzon is a swede who's in the sleazier part of the entertainment industry.

From the same people who gave us Zed from Zardoz?

Re:Larsen != Larson (5, Funny)

Bill Currie (487) | more than 5 years ago | (#28746713)

Don't think you're the only one. Everybody thinks I'm a food. I even had the nickname MC in university. There has been maybe two times I didn't have to spell my name for somebody.

Re:Larsen != Larson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28746883)

You think you had problems??? - Ralph Shithead

Re:Larsen != Larson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28748009)

I used to dream of having a normal, inoffensive last name like Shithead. - Roger Killallthejews

Re:Larsen != Larson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28747081)

Yo, MC, whatyo here to say?

Re:Larsen != Larson (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28746731)

Population of Denmark: 5.5 million
Population of Sweden: 9 million

Out of curiosity, without scurrying off to wikipedia, could you differentiate a Punjabi name (130 million) from a Bengali (230 million) name?

Or, not even leaving Europe, how about the difference between Ukrainian (50 million) and Russian (100 million)?

Re:Larsen != Larson (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28746807)

We don't care about third world citizens, faghat.

Re:Larsen != Larson (2, Insightful)

Anders (395) | more than 5 years ago | (#28746901)

Population of Denmark: 5.5 million Population of Sweden: 9 million

Out of curiosity, without scurrying off to wikipedia, could you differentiate a Punjabi name (130 million) from a Bengali (230 million) name?

Or, not even leaving Europe, how about the difference between Ukrainian (50 million) and Russian (100 million)?

You don't have to look anything up in Wikipedia, you just need to copy/paste correctly from the article that you are submitting.

Maybe even submitters do not RTFA?

Re:Larsen != Larson (1)

oxygen_deprived (1127583) | more than 5 years ago | (#28747365)

Out of curiosity, without scurrying off to wikipedia, could you differentiate a Punjabi name (130 million) from a Bengali (230 million) name?

The only last names common between a bengali and a punjabi are Dutt and Singh, and in its phonetic form, they are indistinguishable. To get around that the bengalis accent Dutt as Dutta/Datta, and Punjabis dont. Bengalis use Sinha for Singh, and pujabis stick to Singh.

Re:Larsen != Larson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28747917)

The Russian/Ukrainian thing I could.
Alot of Ðz's in Ukrainian become Ð's [ÐzÐÐÐÑÐнÐÑ --> ÐÐÐÐÑÐнÐÑ]
Ð (I) is used. but not as much as Ð (JI) which takes it's place most of the time
Ð" is "H" in ukranian, and "G" in Russian.

Re:Larsen != Larson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28747227)

Yup, found him

http://www.kons.dk/dk/site.aspx?p=176 [www.kons.dk]

Fake. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28746575)

Zoom in and look at the UK. The South coast is just a hastily drawn zig zag. It looks like a fake.

Re:Fake. (4, Insightful)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 5 years ago | (#28746755)

Zoom in on the actual southern coast of England. It looks like a hastily drawn zigzag. England must be fake.

In all seriousness, if authentic, the map predates the effective computation of longitude. You notice how the East/West elements of the map are stretched and skewed, far more than the North/South elements? You try accurately illustrating a fairly complex coastline when you can't say where you are on the East/West axis except by dead reckoning.

Re:Fake. (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 5 years ago | (#28746921)

Note: the map predates the *known* effective computation of longitude. The Vikings could probably do it. Of course, they didn't try to sail across the middle like some impulsive Italian trader apparently did without thinking in advance: "hmm. maybe hitting islands along the way that I know about would be easier."

Re:Fake. (5, Insightful)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 5 years ago | (#28746965)

You're saying the Vikings managed to develop clocks that could work at sea, didn't tell anyone, and then forgot about it for 500 years? Because prior to GPS, that was *still* the only way to get an accurate reading on longitude. Yes, there are other methods, but they don't work at sea, they only work at the time of known planetary events, and they are crude even when used correctly (far too crude to provide the resolution needed for detailed coastlines).

And yet somehow, the Vikings could "probably" do it. With no supporting evidence whatsoever, you leap to "probably." Wow... Just wow...

Re:Fake. (1, Interesting)

fizzup (788545) | more than 5 years ago | (#28747187)

I'm not claiming that the Vikings actually pulled this off, but there were accurate celestial clocks available in antiquity. Gavin Menzies described the method in his book about early Chinese exploration, 1421. Off topic, but this is how it works:

0. Develop the ability to predict lunar eclipses.

1. Draw a crappy map using the stars to determine your latitude and speed over water to determine your longitude.

2. Build and staff celestial observatories along the coast at intervals.

3. Note the star that transits directly overhead each observatory at agreed-upon events of a predicted lunar eclipse.

4. Collect all the observations, and note the difference in angle (longitude) between the transiting stars.

5. Interpolate the longitude of the points between the observatories to update your crappy map.

Re:Fake. (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 5 years ago | (#28747485)

Gavin Menzies described the method in his book about early Chinese exploration, 1421.

Ah, yes, because that's certainly a book I'd want to trust about, well, anything.

Re:Fake. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28748107)

Just go back to Mad Magazine, ok? It's more up your intellectual alley.

Re:Fake. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28747321)

The Irish were an advanced civilization until whiskey was invented.

Re:Fake. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28748061)

The wheelbarrow was invented to teach the Irish to walk upright.

Re:Fake. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28747693)

You do not need a clock, you need a piece of string, it is described in passing in the Sagas

Wonderful how modern humans demand mechanical contraptions where there forefathers used logic and elementary math

Viking sun dial and sun (2, Interesting)

carabela (688886) | more than 5 years ago | (#28748323)

From http://www.physorg.com/news91798327.html [physorg.com] "Viking navigation hypothesis under foggy and cloudy skies requires more light" This article speaks of the Viking sun-dial for sunny days and a less-known sunstone for the foggy ones. Interesting theory, if anything.

Re:Fake. (3, Informative)

rve (4436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28747155)

Note: the map predates the *known* effective computation of longitude. The Vikings could probably do it. Of course, they didn't try to sail across the middle like some impulsive Italian trader apparently did without thinking in advance: "hmm. maybe hitting islands along the way that I know about would be easier."

You are under the impression that Columbus was acting on impulse? He didn't just happen to have three well supplied ships and crew.

The Turkish empire was in control of the land route to India and China, and the Portuguese seemed in control of any eastern route around Africa. Like astronomers and scientists did at the time, Columbus knew the earth was round, and knew he could get to 'India' via the western route. He tried to sell this idea to investors in various places, until he found the queen of Spain willing to finance an expedition.

He did underestimate the size of the Earth and thus the length of his journey, even though Eratosthenes [wikipedia.org] had calculated it to reasonable accuracy more than 17 centuries earlier. Going through the middle is simply the shortest route by sail, following the prevailing wind.

Re:Fake. (1)

_merlin (160982) | more than 5 years ago | (#28747371)

You are under the impression that Columbus was acting on impulse? He didn't just happen to have three well supplied ships and crew.

Columbus wasn't Italian. He's probably referring to Amerigo Vespucci or someone.

Re:Fake. (2, Informative)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#28747459)

Columbus wasn't Italian. He's probably referring to Amerigo Vespucci or someone.

Eh? There was no nation of Italy at the time, but Columbus came from the area now known as Italy, as did Vespucci.

Re:Fake. (2, Insightful)

hibiki_r (649814) | more than 5 years ago | (#28747885)

While Genoa is Columbus' most likely birthplace, we are not certain of it. You are as wrong affirming that he came from Italy as the grandparent was by saying that he wasn't.

Re:Fake. (1)

VagaStorm (691999) | more than 5 years ago | (#28747811)

His not? Ive always herd he was, adn wikipedia has this: "It is generally, although not universally, agreed that Christopher Columbus was born between 25 August and 31 October 1451 in Genoa, part of modern Italy."

Re:Fake. (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 5 years ago | (#28747873)

Columbus wasn't Italian.

Columbus was from Genoa (probably), which was an Italian city-state. So he almost certainly was Italian.

Re:Fake. (1, Interesting)

Schmorgluck (1293264) | more than 5 years ago | (#28747565)

Some historians note that Colombus spent a lot of time in the libraries of the Order of Calatrava, a Spanish knights order. When the Order of the Temple was dissolved, many Templars of the Iberian Peninsula joined the Order of Calatrava (and the Order of Alcantara, too).

At the peak or their power, the Templars were known to have "de l'argent", which nowadays in French means money but at that time may have meant simply "silver". And silver was rather rare in Europe (and even rarer in Middle East, where in some place it was more precious than gold), the German mines hadn't been discovered yet. But silver mines were already exploited in North America. Add to this the fact that six main Templar Roads (networks of pathways protected by Templars) led to La Rochelle for unknown reasons, some historians speculate that maybe the Templars had settlements or commercial counters in the Americas.

I know, this is starting to sound crazy. Let me tell you I don't believe these theories. I just find them worth some thought, or some dreaming (I'm not an historian so I don't need to be rational about this). Even crazier-sounding is the theory that the Templars found America thanks to old Irish tales, notably the Ulster Cycle, with its mention of Cù Chulainn's travel to Tìr na nÒg, which may have been America. Some even go as far as to point the similarity between "Cù Chulainn" and "Kukulkàn", one of the names of the deity better known as Quetzalcoatl. As far as I know, no satisfactory explanation has been found for the south-Americans' welcoming of Europeans, who went as far as treating them like gods. The theory of a previous, unrecorded contact has never been invalidated. Add to this an inch of evhemerism and maybe...

All this to say that I agree, there are plenty of clues that Colombus knew there was a reachable land ahead of him. He didn't know what it was, but he most likely knew that it was there.

Re:Fake. (1)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 5 years ago | (#28747767)

And the Templars somehow did this without spreading smallpox to the natives or leaving any tangible evidence of European mining technology or metalwork?I am highly skeptical.

Re:Fake. (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 5 years ago | (#28747843)

He did underestimate the size of the Earth and thus the length of his journey, even though Eratosthenes [wikipedia.org] had calculated it to reasonable accuracy more than 17 centuries earlier.

I suspect he knew perfectly well how big the Earth was. But telling the Queen of Spain that he intended to cross 12,000 miles of ocean to get to India would have gotten him laughed at.

So he lied, to get funding. Hmm, sounds like some startups I've heard of....

Re:Fake. (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 5 years ago | (#28747813)

Zoom in on the actual southern coast of England. It looks like a hastily drawn zigzag. England must be fake.

In all seriousness, if authentic, the map predates the effective computation of longitude. You notice how the East/West elements of the map are stretched and skewed, far more than the North/South elements? You try accurately illustrating a fairly complex coastline when you can't say where you are on the East/West axis except by dead reckoning.

Actually, this provides some of the best evidence against it being authentic (ok, solely in my opinion.)

The reason why? Everything in Europe is distorted incredibly, however Greenland is about 90% accurate. So, either the Vikings never bothered to measure their own peninsula, or Britain properly, yet totally managed to survey Greenland with nearly modern accuracy... or, it's likely a fake.

Absolutely Fake. (1)

DingerX (847589) | more than 5 years ago | (#28747931)

The Vinland map is a classic case of well-funded idiots who can't consider all the data.

Yes, the parchment is authentic. Yes, most of the map is authentic. No, there is no way in Hell the "Vinland" section is.
The rest of the map illustrates the travelogue (of journeys to the East) contained in the same codex. It's entirely consistent with the material in the book, with contemporary maps, and with what one would expect. It ain't a perfect representation, but more a spatial arrangement that coheres with the text. In other words, it's what you'd get if you took the book and sketched out a map from it.

The "Vinland" section is crammed into the left, and is laughably realistic: there's no medieval text from which you could construct a similar map. Hell, nobody circumnavigated Greenland until much later. Moreover, the saga of Erik the Red was not exactly a medieval best seller. It survived in a couple manuscripts, and Norse was not a language that the scribe of the map would have known. The codex, content and hand are all consistent with a scribe around Basel, if I recall correctly

So all this nonsense about carbon dating is beside the point. You can argue the ink composition all you want, but every single linguistic, codicological, paleographical and cultural historical indicator points to this being an obvious and bad fake.

And get off my lawn.

Fake - McCrone says so, good enough for me (-1, Flamebait)

camg188 (932324) | more than 5 years ago | (#28747921)

Fake because Walter McCrone says it's fake. He is a genuine scientist that can be trusted, not some kind of huckster. I had the chance to attend a conference where he gave a lecture about his examination of the Shroud of Turin. His methods were scientifically rock solid and convincing.

J. Lawrence Whitten... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28746587)

the man who is credited with discovering the map in question, was a friend of my family's in New Haven, CT during the time of the map's prominence in the '50s. I remember as a kid listening to him tell the story of his fame (he was a fulltime accountant as well as a part-time lecturer or professor at Yale and not used to nationwide headlines); I remember being left with the strong impression that the work was his own forgery and that he was bragging about it in a small way to my dad, who, as a friend and client, knew about the scam.

I was probably ten or twelve at the time, and practiced ageing materials myself, using lemon juice, an iron, and various forms of primitive inks to promote fading and the browning of old paper, as I imagined Whitten had done.

So it was no surprise when the ink was shown to be more modern than the document appeared to be.

I am still left with the impression that "Larry" Whitten had forged the map, regardless of modern forensics.

Re:J. Lawrence Whitten... (1)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 5 years ago | (#28746659)

You forgot to mention how he obtained it from the Thule Society.

Re:J. Lawrence Whitten... (3, Informative)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 5 years ago | (#28746691)

Aside from being generally suspicious of a person anonymously bashing a guy on /., your inability to get even basic facts straight makes me skeptical of your arguments. The map's prominence dates to 1965, after the initial authentication work was completed; prior to that point virtually no one knew of it, so there would be no story of his fame, and definitely no nationwide headlines. Mods, please drop this guy to oblivion.

Important viking discoveries (4, Funny)

jlar (584848) | more than 5 years ago | (#28746695)

I remember some years ago learning about a Viking who were one of the first to visit Greenland (I do not recall who). It was written "en passant" in one of the sagas that he had reported back in Island that curiously enough if you stab an Inuit with a sword he just keeps on bleeding (due to the extreme cold Inuits are genetically adapted to have blood that does not coagulate easily).

And who says that these Vikings were brutal warriors and not peaceful traders?

Re:Important viking discoveries (1)

sFurbo (1361249) | more than 5 years ago | (#28746775)

I thought it was the huge amount of seafood they consumed thinning the blood... Oh well

Re:Important viking discoveries (2, Funny)

boaworm (180781) | more than 5 years ago | (#28747389)

It sounds to me that my ancestors were very keen on performing scientific experiments, with rigorous field testing to back up the scientific data!

Re:Important viking discoveries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28747669)

They were both; their trading empire stretched at least to the Mediterranean; they got to Rome long before Rome came to Scandinavia intent on destroying local cultures

Re:Important viking discoveries (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28747797)

The problem with that anecdote is that while there are definitely Inuits in modern Greenland they are relative newcomers to the island, and only started to appear in the 14th century, long after the Viking age

The Vikings never mention Eskimos of any tribe, the Skraelingjar are obviously not Eskimos and are found in Vinland ie North America, not Greenland

Re:Important viking discoveries (3, Informative)

jlar (584848) | more than 5 years ago | (#28747991)

Well, Wikipedia does not agree with you:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Greenland [wikipedia.org]

I have found a reference to the story. It is from Historia Norwegia and the quote I was looking for is for example referenced in this NYT 1911 article:

http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?_r=1&res=9D02EFDC1E31E233A25755C2A9679D946096D6CF [nytimes.com]

So the full quote was actually (about the Skraelings of Greenland):

"...they are struok with weapons when alive, their wounds are white and do not bleed, but when they are dead the blood scarcely stops running."

Re:Important viking discoveries (1)

bytesex (112972) | more than 5 years ago | (#28748131)

Not to be a killjoy, but they might have been both. The bleeding incident may have come from an encounter that wasn't the reporter's fault. Now the fact they reported it, both this and this map, that points to a scientifically inclined culture.

Vinland...FInland (1)

mcfar45 (1286990) | more than 5 years ago | (#28746711)

Is it just me or does Vinland seem as if it became Finland...in name only of course. :D

Re:Vinland...FInland (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28746777)

It's just you.

Re:Vinland...FInland (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28746925)

Any maybe people call you a faggot because you are a fag. How about a nice hot dick in your ass. I need to fuck and you're a big enough bitch. I promise to be gentle. I know you love it when I cum in your ass too.

Error in logic. (0)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28746897)

All the tests that we have done over the past five years -- on the materials and other aspects -- do not show any signs of forgery,

Sounds to me like

All the tests that we have done over the past five years -- on the software and other aspects -- do not show any signs of security holes,

Which of course does not mean that there are none. :)

Proving that the map is genuine, is something different, that he can never arrive to, trough only searching for signs of forgery. He should search for something that proves it can only be old.

Re:Error in logic. (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28746923)

Oh, I forgot: What when it just was created as a fantasy map, back it those very old times? Like for a cult, where Vinland was some holy place. Very unlikely, yes. But hey, who knows...

Now find the drawer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28746971)

So we can give him an F in Geography.

Whoever drew that map must have sucked at drawing.
I mean, come on dude, at least add some decent coffee stains and not some "coffee stain stamp". (see map [wikipedia.org] )
Seriously? Rectangular stamp marks or what?

Kids these days.

"Magnae Insulae Beati Brandani Branziliae Dictae"? (4, Funny)

pdh11 (227974) | more than 5 years ago | (#28747031)

Look at those large islands to the west of the Canaries. They're labelled Magnae Insulae Beati Brandani Branziliae Dictae: St Brandon's Large Islands, Called The Branzillas. Branzillas? Nobody used -zilla to mean "large" before Godzilla, and it didn't become really popular until Mozilla. The whole thing is clearly a forgery by some 21st-century geek, probably a Terry Gilliam fan, trying to mock up a folk etymology of the name "Brazil". ;)

Peter

Re:"Magnae Insulae Beati Brandani Branziliae Dicta (1)

bytesex (112972) | more than 5 years ago | (#28748079)

I thought the expression 'brazillian' didn't become popular (and therefore used on a map) before it meant 'an enormous amount of money', as in 'I've just earned a Brazillion dollars' or something.

Shopped (1, Funny)

yamfry (1533879) | more than 5 years ago | (#28747189)

I don't know. I'm looking at some of those pixels and they don't look quite right. I've also seen a few shops in my day.
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