Mythic Viking Navigation Crystal May Have Been Found In Shipwreck

The first ever found remnant of a sunstone, a crystal which legend says was behind the Vikings’ incredible feats of oceanic navigation? Via CBS News:

A rough, whitish block recovered from an Elizabethan shipwreck may be a sunstone, the fabled crystal believed to have helped Vikings and other medieval seafarers navigate the high seas, researchers say.

In a paper published earlier this week, a Franco-British group argued that the Alderney Crystal – a chunk of Icelandic calcite found amid a 16th century wreck at the bottom of the English Channel – worked as a kind of solar compass, allowing sailors to determine the position of the sun even when it was hidden by heavy cloud or fog, or below the horizon.

Icelandic legend appears to refers to such a crystal [but] few other medieval references to sunstones have been found, and no such crystals have ever been recovered from Viking tombs or ships.

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  • Sir Legendhead

    That’s amazing. Not only is it a brilliant navigational technique — no pun intended of course — but it also gives some insight as to the origins of Rainbow Bridge mythology. It’s not difficult to see how they’d associate such visuals with a literal gateway to the heavens.

  • BuzzCoastin

    what this really underscores
    is the complete lack of knowledge about anything
    that happened more than a few thousand years ago
    and
    the incredible hubris possessed by the ignorant

    • echar

      I wish someone would invent an energy source that runs on ignorance. That would truly be a renewable.

      • BuzzCoastin

        besides the Theory of Relativity
        Einstein was known for his theory of ignorance
        which is
        Two Things Are Infinite: the Universe and Human Stupidity
        he was unsure if the Universe was infinite
        but he was sure stupidity was

        • echar

          I am pretty sure I have read that quote before.

      • Anarchy Pony

        It would also be theoretically infinite, and thus more trouble than it’s worth, as the exponential increase in its use would lead to global warming from waste heat alone.

      • Anarchy Pony

        It would also be theoretically infinite, and thus more trouble than it’s worth, as the exponential increase in its use would lead to global warming from waste heat alone.

  • Anarchy Pony

    The Vikings; Great Pagan barbarians? Or greatest Pagan barbarians?

  • Anarchy Pony

    The Vikings; Great Pagan barbarians? Or greatest Pagan barbarians?

    • echar

      More like great trade route builders.

      • Anarchy Pony

        LAME! Needs moar raidz on the English coast.

      • Anarchy Pony

        LAME! Needs moar raidz on the English coast.

        • InfvoCuernos

          and more nun-raping!

    • kowalityjesus

      they were really quite something; if not antagonists then challengers.

      Its unfortunate that they just barely didn’t get a colony off in Vinland.

    • kowalityjesus

      they were really quite something; if not antagonists then challengers.

      Its unfortunate that they just barely didn’t get a colony off in Vinland.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001254165979 Eric Superciliousness

    Interesting. But I liked the story better when I first read it a year and a half ago: http://news.discovery.com/earth/navigating-by-sunstone-and-a-sixth-sense.htm

  • http://profiles.google.com/pcwag33 Pete Wagner

    Polarization is also how birds navigate.

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