Sutton Hoo bitumen links Syria with Anglo-Saxon England

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Re: Sutton Hoo bitumen links Syria with Anglo-Saxon England

#21  Postby Weaver » Dec 05, 2016 2:52 pm

Here's a comparison between the Mediterranean Sea and the central Pacific Ocean for scale - the blue line represents the linear distance, West to East, across the Med (the greatest possible expanse of "open sea" journey for someone travelling from the British Isles to Syria).

The program corrects for projection distortions, so scaling is accurate.

http://mapfrappe.com/?show=44651

Note that the Med distance barely accounts for the travel distance from New Guinea to Micronesia - and is between 1/2 and 1/3 the distance needed to get to Hawaii.

No, it is certainly not easier to travel over the open ocean.
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Re: Sutton Hoo bitumen links Syria with Anglo-Saxon England

#22  Postby jamest » Dec 05, 2016 2:59 pm

Weaver wrote:
jamest wrote:Yeah but we're talking about 5,000 years ago. I'm no expert but suspect they had nothing like that back then. Plus the Pacific is open water, whereas the route between Britain & Syria would have required more precise navigation (several turns etc.)... to be done on a regular basis.

Do you really think it's easier to navigate over open water to small landing sites (islands in an ocean) than it is to navigate within range of shore sightings to confirm position and other needed references?

If we're talking about established/regular networks of travel & trade then the navigational expertise required for a straight route between two points would be much simpler, yes. But if we're just talking about blind sailing/rowing, then you can't establish regular networks of travel in open water. You could of course follow the coastline to establish routes, but that's a lot of coastline [between Britain & Syria] to row just to buy or sell a small boat-load of whatever. Notwithstanding the supplies one would need to get there and back. It just doesn't seem like a viable option at that time.

And the Polynesians completed their expansion/migration about 3,000 years ago - but didn't have the advantages of the Bronze Age technological advancements or the multiple cultures with which to engage in trade in knowledge and materials. They did it all with Stone Age technology.

Of course, no mean feat.
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Re: Sutton Hoo bitumen links Syria with Anglo-Saxon England

#23  Postby Weaver » Dec 05, 2016 3:17 pm

You seem to think that the trade was direct - from Britain to Syria, with no stops in between - and that it was isolated to single-cargo trades.

You are totally wrong on both counts.

Syrian material ending up in Britain doesn't mean it went there directly via a single boat journey (although, again, it would be MUCH easier in the Med, with multiple port stops and the ability to resupply, than it would be on the open ocean) - it is far more likely that material from Syria gradually spread across the Med as trade technology improved, eventually resulting in short-distance trades between the British Isles and coastal France.
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Re: Sutton Hoo bitumen links Syria with Anglo-Saxon England

#24  Postby jamest » Dec 05, 2016 3:48 pm

Weaver wrote:You seem to think that the trade was direct - from Britain to Syria, with no stops in between - and that it was isolated to single-cargo trades.

You are totally wrong on both counts.

Syrian material ending up in Britain doesn't mean it went there directly via a single boat journey (although, again, it would be MUCH easier in the Med, with multiple port stops and the ability to resupply, than it would be on the open ocean) - it is far more likely that material from Syria gradually spread across the Med as trade technology improved, eventually resulting in short-distance trades between the British Isles and coastal France.

Don't forget, we're talking 5,000 years ago. Do you think that trade was that complex, even then?
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Re: Sutton Hoo bitumen links Syria with Anglo-Saxon England

#25  Postby Weaver » Dec 05, 2016 4:13 pm

jamest wrote:
Weaver wrote:You seem to think that the trade was direct - from Britain to Syria, with no stops in between - and that it was isolated to single-cargo trades.

You are totally wrong on both counts.

Syrian material ending up in Britain doesn't mean it went there directly via a single boat journey (although, again, it would be MUCH easier in the Med, with multiple port stops and the ability to resupply, than it would be on the open ocean) - it is far more likely that material from Syria gradually spread across the Med as trade technology improved, eventually resulting in short-distance trades between the British Isles and coastal France.

Don't forget, we're talking 5,000 years ago. Do you think that trade was that complex, even then?

Do you think it is simpler to travel many hundreds of miles past lots of potential trading sites?

You're looking at it in the manner a creationist looks at evolution - it isn't as though the end-state (trade in goods between Syria and the British Isles) was a pre-determined destination - it is simply the place things arrived after a lot of small steps along the way.
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Re: Sutton Hoo bitumen links Syria with Anglo-Saxon England

#26  Postby Corneel » Dec 05, 2016 4:59 pm

jamest wrote:
Weaver wrote:You seem to think that the trade was direct - from Britain to Syria, with no stops in between - and that it was isolated to single-cargo trades.

You are totally wrong on both counts.

Syrian material ending up in Britain doesn't mean it went there directly via a single boat journey (although, again, it would be MUCH easier in the Med, with multiple port stops and the ability to resupply, than it would be on the open ocean) - it is far more likely that material from Syria gradually spread across the Med as trade technology improved, eventually resulting in short-distance trades between the British Isles and coastal France.

Don't forget, we're talking 5,000 years ago. Do you think that trade was that complex, even then?

Apparently:
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Re: Sutton Hoo bitumen links Syria with Anglo-Saxon England

#27  Postby jamest » Dec 05, 2016 8:38 pm

Weaver wrote:
jamest wrote:
Weaver wrote:You seem to think that the trade was direct - from Britain to Syria, with no stops in between - and that it was isolated to single-cargo trades.

You are totally wrong on both counts.

Syrian material ending up in Britain doesn't mean it went there directly via a single boat journey (although, again, it would be MUCH easier in the Med, with multiple port stops and the ability to resupply, than it would be on the open ocean) - it is far more likely that material from Syria gradually spread across the Med as trade technology improved, eventually resulting in short-distance trades between the British Isles and coastal France.

Don't forget, we're talking 5,000 years ago. Do you think that trade was that complex, even then?

Do you think it is simpler to travel many hundreds of miles past lots of potential trading sites?

You're looking at it in the manner a creationist looks at evolution - it isn't as though the end-state (trade in goods between Syria and the British Isles) was a pre-determined destination - it is simply the place things arrived after a lot of small steps along the way.

Fair enough, I understand your point, it's just that I didn't imagine so much organised trade would be going on 5,000 years ago.
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Re: Sutton Hoo bitumen links Syria with Anglo-Saxon England

#28  Postby kiore » Dec 06, 2016 2:29 am

Weaver wrote:
jamest wrote:Yeah but we're talking about 5,000 years ago. I'm no expert but suspect they had nothing like that back then. Plus the Pacific is open water, whereas the route between Britain & Syria would have required more precise navigation (several turns etc.)... to be done on a regular basis.

Do you really think it's easier to navigate over open water to small landing sites (islands in an ocean) than it is to navigate within range of shore sightings to confirm position and other needed references?

And the Polynesians completed their expansion/migration about 3,000 years ago - but didn't have the advantages of the Bronze Age technological advancements or the multiple cultures with which to engage in trade in knowledge and materials. They did it all with Stone Age technology.


Indeed, Polynesian sailors crossed the Pacific west to east to Peru/Chile bringing back the potato east to west as far as New Zealand.
There is evidence of significant pre iron age trade between Europe and the British Isles, and not just by canoes but by skin covered boats (coracles) which even carried livestock. I think we underestimate the capacity of prehistoric peoples and the value of rare commodities like precious metals, jewelry, new bloodstock and 'oddities' such as tar from Syria.
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Re: Sutton Hoo bitumen links Syria with Anglo-Saxon England

#29  Postby crank » Dec 06, 2016 5:33 am

Weaver wrote:Here's a comparison between the Mediterranean Sea and the central Pacific Ocean for scale - the blue line represents the linear distance, West to East, across the Med (the greatest possible expanse of "open sea" journey for someone travelling from the British Isles to Syria).

The program corrects for projection distortions, so scaling is accurate.

http://mapfrappe.com/?show=44651

Note that the Med distance barely accounts for the travel distance from New Guinea to Micronesia - and is between 1/2 and 1/3 the distance needed to get to Hawaii.

No, it is certainly not easier to travel over the open ocean.

It's always amazed me how far they were traveling, especially the first ones to make it somewhere. The article discusses reading the waves and the wind etc, to navigate and know where islands are that might be 100s of miles away even though they had never been anywhere near the area before. That 100s of miles is from other things I've read, I don't think the article got that specific. The article sounds kind of mystical, and such art is almost mystical.
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Re: Sutton Hoo bitumen links Syria with Anglo-Saxon England

#30  Postby Sendraks » Dec 06, 2016 10:20 am

jamest wrote:
Fair enough, I understand your point, it's just that I didn't imagine so much organised trade would be going on 5,000 years ago.


In fairness to jamest, I expect most people don't imagine that people 5000 years ago were that organised. In my lifetime, there have been any number of discoveries about the sophistication of ancient civilisations that have surprised the scientific community and prompted re-evaluation of what was going on in stone age/bronze age societies. Like most things, this takes a while to filter through and become common knowledge and that has to overcome the assumed knowledge already in the populations minds, which is a product of decades of education on how people lived all those millennia ago.
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Re: Sutton Hoo bitumen links Syria with Anglo-Saxon England

#31  Postby laklak » Dec 06, 2016 7:57 pm

I think Neolithic people were, like dogs today, a fuck of a lot smarter and more sophisticated then we give them credit for.
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Re: Sutton Hoo bitumen links Syria with Anglo-Saxon England

#32  Postby tuco » Dec 06, 2016 8:16 pm

Yeah, they liked trinkets the same we like them today. We are as smart as they were, just we have Google, cars and gas stations with shops.
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Re: Sutton Hoo bitumen links Syria with Anglo-Saxon England

#33  Postby monkeyboy » Dec 06, 2016 9:57 pm

tuco wrote:Yeah, they liked trinkets the same we like them today. We are as smart as they were, just we have Google, cars and gas stations with shops.

Not just did they like trinkets but they liked unusual trinkets, like we do today. Except some of the stuff we kind of take for granted from exotic places these days would have been rarer than rocking horse shit back then. I imagine that stuff from Asia and the Middle East would have been seriously weird stuff and have a colossal curiosity value attached.

As above, it's highly unlikely that anyone was commuting from East Anglia to the middle east on any sort of regular basis back then. Chances are that hardly an individual had made the journey but the merchants in between A and B only had to each make part of the journey for the goods to travel. We don't expect each parcel delivered to our door was collected from source by the man in brown and brought by just the one guy (though judging by the time some free deliveries from a certain company named after a big river take, I sometimes wonder). No need for any individual to he making the journey back then.
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Re: Sutton Hoo bitumen links Syria with Anglo-Saxon England

#34  Postby igorfrankensteen » Dec 07, 2016 4:17 am

Some of the notions to wrestle out of ones thinking, include the myths of the "dark ages" in particular, but there are lots of biases in the common telling of histories, that contain assumptions about the past, designed to make current day folks feel better or to support their prejudices or anxieties, rather than to create truly realistic appreciations of the past. Another one, is the idea that "complex trade requires complex social organizations."

Weaver is especially correct about these kinds of things.

Remember too, that not all trade was really "trade." Sometimes it was theft, followed by bribery. Or just sequential theft.

By the way, a truly scientifically disciplined version of Archaeology (required to confirm as well as unveil the past) is a VERY recent phenomenon/exercise. One thing which has been fairly constant, however, has been that propagandists of various kinds, have used biased histories to try to shape and control the peoples who they tell them to, since the idea of communication first occurred.
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Re: Sutton Hoo bitumen links Syria with Anglo-Saxon England

#35  Postby crank » Dec 07, 2016 8:48 am

I've heard a lot of defenses of Europe during the dark ages and just don't buy it. What exactly was so undark that makes the general consensus misinformed?

In Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond makes the case for New Guineans being smarter than the average Westerner. It's based on the intellectual requirements to not get dead there and how less likely is is for westerners to face serious danger requiring wits to elude.
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Re: Sutton Hoo bitumen links Syria with Anglo-Saxon England

#36  Postby Weaver » Dec 12, 2016 9:17 pm

More interesting information about Anglo-Saxon era trade I ran across recently, on a FB page dedicated to sword construction and reproductions (accurate ones, not flash and trash).

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https://www.facebook.com/groups/1608444 ... 437601542/


The sword on the left was found in the Staffordshire Hoard, consisting of 7th and 8th century artifacts laid down up to a century later. In the middle is a reproduction of the sword, with hilt parts on the right.

Of key note are the red objects in the hilt - they are not enamels, but instead finely fitted bits of garnet - from India.

The hell with Syria - trade goods were arriving from INDIA.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Staffords ... d#Weaponry

http://www.staffordshirehoard.org.uk/
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Re: Sutton Hoo bitumen links Syria with Anglo-Saxon England

#37  Postby felltoearth » Dec 13, 2016 4:20 am

A strong connection has been found between the Neolithic Irish and Near Eastern peoples in genomes from 5000 yr old burial sites.

Abstract
The Neolithic and Bronze Age transitions were profound cultural shifts catalyzed in parts of Europe by migrations, first of early farmers from the Near East and then Bronze Age herders from the Pontic Steppe. However, a decades-long, unresolved controversy is whether population change or cultural adoption occurred at the Atlantic edge, within the British Isles. We address this issue by using the first whole genome data from prehistoric Irish individuals. A Neolithic woman (3343–3020 cal BC) from a megalithic burial (10.3× coverage) possessed a genome of predominantly Near Eastern origin. She had some hunter–gatherer ancestry but belonged to a population of large effective size, suggesting a substantial influx of early farmers to the island. Three Bronze Age individuals from Rathlin Island (2026–1534 cal BC), including one high coverage (10.5×) genome, showed substantial Steppe genetic heritage indicating that the European population upheavals of the third millennium manifested all of the way from southern Siberia to the western ocean. This turnover invites the possibility of accompanying introduction of Indo-European, perhaps early Celtic, language. Irish Bronze Age haplotypic similarity is strongest within modern Irish, Scottish, and Welsh populations, and several important genetic variants that today show maximal or very high frequencies in Ireland appear at this horizon. These include those coding for lactase persistence, blue eye color, Y chromosome R1b haplotypes, and the hemochromatosis C282Y allele; to our knowledge, the first detection of a known Mendelian disease variant in prehistory. These findings together suggest the establishment of central attributes of the Irish genome 4,000 y ago.


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Re: Sutton Hoo bitumen links Syria with Anglo-Saxon England

#38  Postby Clive Durdle » Dec 15, 2016 6:59 pm

You get to Syria from Britain by river. Probably longest bit away from land is channel, the boats in Dover and Falmouth are large
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Re: Sutton Hoo bitumen links Syria with Anglo-Saxon England

#39  Postby Onyx8 » Dec 16, 2016 2:02 am

Yeah, the vikings used to carry their boats over the mountains to the next river system.
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