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Dark Age Obscured (History)
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Mick Harper
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Harriet Vered: Is it possible to trace which iron mine it came from? Can iron, unlike other metals, even be dated? I know of no Irish missionaries travelling to Bavaria, with or without bells. Do you perhaps know of contemporary records to support this theory?

Anna treats these questions with the contempt they deserve. She points out that it must have taken a great many people to lug chuch bells around Europe

Anna Dorofeeva: There were a lot of missionaries. The wiki article has some starting info+biblio (which in turn discusses the original sources): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiberno-Scottish_mission#Columba_to_Columbanus_(563-615)

As for which Irish iron ore mine, and which of the Ionan drop hammer forging furnaces was used for this particular bell, she tells Hatty to do her own research

…. Iron can be located to precise mines, but for historical artefacts it's the make, decoration & shape that indicate date+place.

Personally I would have pointed out that bells have no iron content whatsoever, being typically eight parts copper to one part tin, but I never get invited to these shindigs

Harriet Vered: Make, shape, decoration etc. can be, and is, done at any time, in any place. These are not accepted as diagnostic tools in scientific terms.

Anna is patience personified.

Anna Dorofeeva: And bells are very well known to have been part of the liturgical baggage of Irish monks, both missionary and otherwise
(Source: https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/4466223.pdf

Hatty is lameness personified
Harriet Vered: Are you saying this is a contemporary record? It doesn't have a 8th century ring to it.

and is summarily dismissed for being a scientific illiterate

Anna Dorofeeva: Well, I don't know what to tell you in that case. The info above is what we know from decades of historical and archaeological research. If you don't accept the methods of these disciplines as scientific, I can't convince you.

Clang, clang, clang went the Irish
Ding, ding, ding went the bell
Down, down, down came the curtain
Twixt Hattie and Arthur Westwell
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Hatty
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In: Berkshire
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Anna Dorofeeva: The info above is what we know from decades of historical and archaeological research.

Anna Dorofeeva comes across as either disingenuous or slapdash. The earliest parts of the church, which underwent 'major renovations' in the 15th and 17th century, are dated 14th century. Information on the historical/archaeological background is laid out in (German) Wiki and it's quite clear the legend isn't supported by either documentary or archaeological sources

the local legend goes back, the bell came from the middle of the 8th century and had been brought by Irish-Scottish monks traveling to Upper Bavaria. It is not believable, the bell is rather associated with the church and monastery of St. Michael on the island of Wörth in the Staffelsee. There is also an indication of an unspecified bell from the 10th to 12th centuries in the nearby area whose whereabouts are not known there.




…. Iron can be located to precise mines

This airy claim of Anna's has no basis in fact. In 2016 a group of scientists wrote up a project, "First approach of the use of iron isotopes for ancient iron metal tracing", to attempt to establish provenance for iron artefacts

Elemental and isotopic tracing methods used so far for iron metal provenance studies showed some limitations, and the development of new additional tracers are needed. Since the last decade, the rise of cutting edge analytical techniques allows for the development of new isotopic tools for this purpose. The present study explores for the first time the use of iron isotopes analyses as a potential method for ancient iron metal tracing.

So far, according to the report, they've tested the slag and ore compositions of just two experimental reconstitutions but it's a start, even if not as yet useful in a practical sense

no significant Fe isotope fractionation occurs along the chaîne opératoire of iron bars production, even if slight isotopic differences might be found in blooms before refinement. This fact, combined with the natural isotopic variability of iron ores, as reported in the literature, may allow the use of Fe isotopes as a relevant tracer for archaeological iron metals. This new tracing approach offers many perspectives for provenance studies. The combination of elemental and Fe isotope analyses should thus be useful to validate origin hypotheses of ancient iron artefacts.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0305440316301480?via%3Dihub
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Hatty
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In: Berkshire
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The shape of the Staffelsee bell in the photo reminds me of a cow bell but anyway Mick pointed out that bells aren't made of iron but of bell metal. It turns out that cast iron bells were made in the nineteenth century and are "particularly brittle and prone to cracking".

Cast iron bells last longer if free of rust

old cast iron farm bells made before and after the 19th century are sturdy bells with a great deal of charm. Meant to call the workers in from the fields at the end of the day, or summon help in an emergency, these bells can last forever. They need to be protected against rust, and moving pieces like clappers repaired, but the structural integrity of iron bells is strong.

Damp places, lakes
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Hatty
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In: Berkshire
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Some waterlogged lore from Facebook

both the Wye and the Severn, which arise on the same mountain in mid Wales and both end at the Bristol Channel, were considered to be sacred rivers by both the incoming Romans and the indigenous population and so it seems by the Saxons insofar as they discovered these rivers. The fact that these two rivers begin and end at the same location make them unique in Britain.

Disregarding the nonsense about sacredness, anything unique is of interest especially when it just so happens to concern the Bristol Channel. Will do some digging.
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Hatty
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The Severn takes a very roundabout route to reach the Bristol Channel. In the map provided by Wiki it's a darker blue but quite hard to make out



Its course goes north, then east, turns south and then west, in contrast to the Wye which has more or less the same starting point

Only in the SSW-NNE aligned valley either side of Welshpool is there any obvious relationship to geological structure; the valley follows the lines of the Severn Valley Faults. For much of the rest of its course it runs directly across geological structures.

The anomaly is blamed squarely on glaciation though why it only disrupted the Severn's course and ignored the other rivers isn't clear

It was first proposed in the 1900’s that the former northerly course of the upper Severn was disrupted during the course of the ice age by the blocking of its access to the Irish Sea through Cheshire causing a large lake to develop across much of Shropshire. It was supposed that this lake, named as Lake Lapworth, overtopped its southern margin and rapidly cut down to form the Ironbridge Gorge providing the Severn with a southerly exit to the sea as remains the case today.

Prior to the 19th century a worldwide Ice Age was pooh-poohed by British geologists; anyone now questioning the concept will be automatically labelled a Creationist

E.E.L. Dixon of the Geological Survey of England & Wales (now the British Geological Survey) suggested a vast ice-dammed lake had filled up here (Dixon, 1920; 1921), later named “Lake Lapworth” by Leonard Wills (1924). This supposedly overflowed to form the Ironbridge Gorge and thereby establishing a new route for the river, southwards instead of northwards to the Dee Estuary as hitherto.

Although the “Lake Lapworth” model is associated with Wills, it was really the Geological Survey who promoted it, following contemporary ideas influenced by examples in North America. They subsequently extended the lake as far as Manchester in order to explain the distribution of Superficial Deposits that they had mapped, but this has shrunk considerably in recent years!

Above the Ironbridge Gorge the 'natural' flow of the Severn would seem to be north-west rather than south-east. This puzzle is also explained by glaciation. It is somewhat troubling that no-one has considered the possibility or indeed likelihood of human interference.

The origin of the valley at Leighton puzzled Wills as its rock floor appeared to slope west. It is now appreciated that it was the product of subglacial erosion and forms part of a network extending westwards to Shrewsbury and beyond where it lies buried and hidden from view.
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Mick Harper
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Without wishing to rain on anyone's watershed, what is so unusual about a tributary (the Wye) flowing into the main river (the Severn)? The fact that they start in the same place and only join up at the estuary is unusual, but I don't know how unusual. The ones I know that do are the Tigris and Euphrates but they run suspiciously in parallel rather than these Welsh weirdos setting off in opposite directions, their mutual destiny to seek. [I could have been a poet but I went to a state school.]
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Hatty
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The Wye isn't classed as a tributary of the Severn as the two rivers run entirely separately. They only join up at the estuary.

We noted a case of parallel rivers nearer home

The Piddle flows south and then south-easterly more or less parallel with its bigger neighbour, the River Frome, to Wareham, where they both enter Poole Harbour via Wareham Channel.

Poole Harbour is the largest, purportedly natural, harbour in England. It is officially 'a drowned ria' formed at the end of the last ice age. This far south your actual glaciation can't be blamed.

So we have two unusual estuaries, one with the second highest tidal range in the world and the other with 'the second largest natural harbour in the world'
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Mick Harper
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Anglo-Saxon churches come, like the animals in Noah's Ark. two-by-two. Or maybe it's more like a 3-D photo-copier. Here, to the untrained eye, is a fairly standard bit of Gothic Revival pastiche done to jazz up an Ipswich parish church in the nineteenth century


which gains the approval of an old friend of ours

Thijs Porck
Happy Michaelmass! Here is an 11th-c. Anglo-Scandinavian plaque showing St Michael fighting a dragon with an Old English inscription "HER SC̄E MIHAEL FEHT WIÐ ÐANE DRACĀ" [Here St Michael fights against the dragon]

but not of an old enemy of ours
Harriet Vered
You seem to have your dates in a twist. St Nicholas church didn't exist before 1300.

But someone who describes himself as a dabbler in "Classical Philology, Folklore & Mythology" is on the side of the dragons

Stuart Pace
It has to be a stone from an earlier construction then, perhaps displayed in the church museum? It’s definitely from the Anglo-Saxon period..... Ah. I found it. The previous church on the site was dedicated to St. Michael, and this relief was salvaged & built into the wall of the new church.

But not this old dragon

Harriet Vered
Thank you for checking though clearly the carving can't predate the actual church. Oddments of Saxon pottery were dug up, presumed by the archaeologists to have been 'for domestic use' since no earlier church has been found.

Now we come to a new piece of circular reasoning. The carving is evidence of an Anglo-Saxon church which must be Anglo-Saxon because it's got an Anglo-Saxon carving

Stuart Pace
Even if no other evidence is found, the block itself attests to the existence of an earlier church. Whatever the provenance, the relief and inscription were certainly carved long before St. Nicholas was built. The Archaeological Service’s Field Team considered this piece and others “compelling evidence, in the form of architectural fragments identified re-used in the later wall fabric, to suggest that the building may have had a Saxon, pre-conquest, predecessor.”

but since there is no Ango-Saxon religious archaeology, that means it was elsewhere which can only mean two Anglo-Saxon churches elsewhere

Stuart Pace
There are apparently two “missing” Saxon churches in Ipswich, All Saints and St. Martin. The older materials preserved in the walls of St. Nicholas could have been taken from either, both or neither, and as you correctly imply, cannot indicate the site of the earlier churches.
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Wile E. Coyote


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This line of ortho occurs because of the need to justify huge sums spent by Local Govt archaeology departments to try and uncover evidence of Anglo Saxon wic's in London, Southampton and Ipswich. The so-called English emporia. Where there is a wic there is a way.
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Mick Harper
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Not our Dark Age this time but the Greek Dark Age. This hilarious piece https://medium.com/history-of-yesterday/what-destroyed-all-of-the-major-bronze-age-cities-c07cd434aeaf tells you everything you need to know about both historians and archaeologists. Because they got saddled with a spurious five hundred years by misunderstanding Manetho's Egyptian king-lists a century and more ago, they have to spend most of their time explaining why everything that was around in 1250 BC went up in a puff of smoke and then the same things started up again in 750 BC as if nothing happened. Read it and weep for their souls.

Hatty and I would have brought out our book on the subject only we keep falling onto the floor helpless with laughter.

PS It's why there is a Bronze Age and an Iron Age. If you can't find the join pretend they're two different things. Our own buffoons did the same thing with a twist: they pretend the Dark Age is the Early Middle Age. Even neater.
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Hatty
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This mass destruction, judging by the piece, occurred in the space of a hundred years, which is three generations, i.e. within living memory. He's not claiming that every single person in the Middle East was wiped out, is he?

Have we got the 'Sea People' in our list of evidence-destroying raiders?
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Mick Harper
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Velikovsky says they're just the Greeks but whether they destroyed anything is another matter. But, yes, historians use them as Viking-style agents of mysterious disappearances.
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