Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 19, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
TuMday, February 1t, 1t74-THI LETHtfUDOE HERALD -5 Map forgery no surprise to Scandinavians By Roland Huntford, London Observer commentator COPENHAGEN The people least surprised by the recent revelation that the Vinland Map, a supposedly pre-Columbus record of Norse landings in America, is considered to be a forgery, were Scandinavian scholars but not because of technical questions of the composition of the ink which it is now claimed contains a chemical compound in commercial use only since the 1920s. Ever since its Yale University possessors described it as the most exciting cartographic discovery of this century, many Scandinavians displayed a thinly-veiled skepticism based on internal evidence. A leading exponent of this school of thought has been Dr. J. Kjellbo, curator of maps at the Copenhagen Royal Library, an authority on medieval cartography. From the outset, he maintains that if, as was claimed, it purported to represent Norse voyages from Norse graphic sources, it was difficult to accept it as genuine. He reasoned that in the mental world of the Norsemen the map had no place. They were accomplished navigators of that there is no shred of doubt but they sailed by rutters (detailed pilot books) or oral instructions. There is not a single known contemporary map attributable to the Norsemen of the 10th and llth centuries, when they were carrying out their Atlantic voyages. Nor is there a reference to one in the Icelandic sagas or other literary sources. This is perhaps more significant since these sagas are almost without exception of the 13th century or later, when the maritime chart, a typically Mediterranean concept, had already appeared in the North. On the other hand, "rutters" are referred to. It may be safely assumed that if the Vikings had used maps, they would have been mentioned. For the authenticity of the Norse historical sources is now accepted. There are three known 16th century maps (two Icelandic, one Hungarian) depicting Vinland, which is what the medieval Norse called their main American landfall. But all clearly represent the literary information gleaned from the sagas in a graphic form with the benefit of later cartographical developments. But other reasons, beyond the pure scholarly, induced coolness towards the Vinland Map in Denmark and Norway. Proving that the Norsemen did indeed discover America 500 years before Columbus has been bedevilled and partially discredited by fraud and unenlightened enthusiasm. In the late 19th century, for example, there was Professor Ebenezer Horsford, who saw Boston as the landfall of Leif Ericson, the Norse discoverer of America (mentioned on the Vinland and put up a monument to prove it, but that remains the only archaeological evidence. Then, came the so-called "Beardmore which turned out to be genuine medieval Norse artefacts "planted" in Minnesota by some Norwegian immigrant anxious to secure the honor of prior discovery for his forefathers. And, most celebrated of all, is the "Kensington Stone." This is a boulder with runes (the ancient Norse alphabet) supposedly recording the inland travels of medieval Norwegians and Swedes. It, too, comes from Minnesota, and has been pronounced a forgery by competent authorities. There was one odd circumstance about the Vinland Map. It appeared just after the first conclusive archaeological proof had been uncovered of the Norse landings on the American continent. This came from the excavations started in 1961 by the Norwegian archaeologist, Dr. Helge Ingstad, at L'Anse aux Meadows, on the northern tip of Newfoundland. Ruins of Icelandic-style buildings, artefacts, and carbon 12 dating indicated Norse finds of about the beginning of the llth century AD which agreed with the historical evidence. At the time, Dr. Ingstad was cautious about the Vinland map. He considered it irrelevant to his own work. He, too, excluded the possibility vuat the map was based on ancient Norse cartographical sources. He suggested rather that it was a sketch produced by Franciscan monks to drum up ecclesiastical support for a mission in the North. He drew this conclusion from the fact that the map was supposed to date from the middle 15th Book reviews century, and originate from the upper Rhine, probably Basel, in Switzerland. It was the period of the Council of Basel, which was concerned with church reform and the suppression of heresy. The New World section of the Vinland Map showed Greenland as an island, much as it appears on modern maps. But the Norse geographers all considered Greenland to be a promontory joined to Vinland of North America as indeed it was believed until much later. The Vinland Map could not have been drawn from available knowledge so the sceptics reasoned until more than a century later. But the map appeared as Dr. Ingstad's work was gaining credence. The Norse Atlantic voyages were enjoy- ing a certain vogue, and the Norse pre-discovery of America had been firmly established. In other words, the market was right. Much money has reputedly circulated around the map. False or genuine, it has always seemed a red herring to many Scandinavian protagonists of the Viking voyages to North America and the latest development seems merely to have confirmed their doubts. Growing old gracefully By Chris Stewart, Herald staff writer First World War recollections "Three Cheers for and "That's Me in the by Donald Jack, (Doubleday, 279 pages and 300 pages respectively, each) In these books, the first and second volumes of "The Bandy is a complete collection of often tremendously funny First World War recollections, and experiences. In Three Cheers for Me, Bartholomew Bandy, son of a strict minister in a small Canadian town, marches off to war with bis huge family Bible filling almost completely his old kit bag. He leaves his home and his father's congregation with loads of advice such as: "Don't forget you are a minister's son and kill a few Huns "Spurn the triumvirate of evil- intoxicants, gambling, and the opposite sex. "Keep warm and your feet in good condition How he acquits himself in the front line after helpful friends filled his water canteen with rum, how he manages to capture his own colonel during his first night patrol, attacking his own lines, is worth reading. Somehow, even when transferred from the trenches to the Royal Flying Corps, he keeps falling on his feet, becomes an ace, gets a citation and promotion in spite of ditching his plane inside headquarters and running over the colonel on his horse in the process. The excitement and dangers of flying and even the brutality and horror of life in the muddy trenches of that long ago war are sometimes made very clear but, like most stories told and re-told by the men who took part in it, the miseries of war are subdued and the fun and comradeship remembered grow with the years. In "That's me in the Bartholomew Bandy, who by now, is a Lt. Colonel in spite o'f "himself views the war from behind a staff office desk in London. That his office is a converted WC and these letters on the door were left due to an oversight, only adds to the hilarity of Jack's story. Again, Bandy as a liaison officer, gets himself into impossible situations but it would spoil the reader's fun if I revealed too many of the details except perhaps that his You don't lose touch with service when your _ private mobile telephone system comes from AGT Look what you have going for you when you depend on AGT for private mobile telephone service: You maintain constant contact with your staff, using a system professionally engineered to your needs. We maintain your system at no extra cost. Fast, efficient service at mobile centres throughout Alberta. We're not restricted to any one equipment supplier. So you're assured of the system that's right for you no matter who makes the "hardware." And it's all yours at low rental cost. Short-term rental agreements can be arranged. No large capital expenditure. Talk with a Communications Consultant Keeps you in (ouch anywhere Edmonton: 425-2110 261-3111 Otter: '0' (Zero) and asfc for Zenith 33000 ToW Free meetings with historical figures like Lloyd George, Winston Churchill and Lester Pearson are just as funny as those with nasty-minded school boys on the occasion of Bandy's first public speech or with a poverty-stricken Russian spy who forces him into buying a painting by Matisse for a few dollars although Bandy protests the painting to be gaudy and Matisse an upstart. Somehow, chosen by civil administration to denounce the British chief of staff's shortcomings as a general, he fails in this mission and is packed off back into the trenches in France where he joins a bicycle brigade. He survives that too with unfailing good humor and unexpected experiences that could not happen to anybody but Bartholomew Bandy. By now, my diaphragm is sore from laughing at some of the stories, and I am looking forward to Volume in of "The Bandy now well on its way to publication. Both of these books can be thoroughly recommended to anybody who likes a good laugh and appreciates a nostalgic memory. However, they are certainly to be taken with a pinch of salt by anyone too young to know what war is really like, or anyone looking for a true historical account of events. EVA BREWSTER The rather startling figure that two-thirds of those over 65 years of age own their own homes would be a very happy statistic if it weren't for the fact that many would be healthier and safer living elsewhere and happier too, except that they need to hold on to something familiar. Once sprawling family homes provided room for matriarchs but today's split-level houses and efficiency apartments leave litue .room for grandparents. These days they are usually on their own. Some who foresaw this turn of events and prepared for it are happy with their freedom and independence. They have had their quota of worry and heartache in raising their own families and are often happy to escape a new set of parental respon- sibilities. Some choose to move to more moderate climates or enter group or public housing developments. Others rent apartments and some choose to live with friends or relatives. As- a result many grandchildren rarely see their grandparents and miss completely the valuable experience of being exposed to such important family members. They will likely seldom know the joy of listening to grandfather's wisdom or their grandmother's valuable advice and may never realize that their grandparents aren't old fogies, after all, but very warm, loving in- dividuals whose experience and counsel should be valued. Many grandparents-want to remain close to their families. They need to be needed, to be loved and assured they are still important to the workings of the family. They don't want their roots disturbed, to be huddled off to dor- mitory living, removed from the everyday happenings of their offspring. They could be crying silently, "Doesn't anyone want me or even need The older person's acceptance or rejection by family and friends will depend, in large measure on himself he must first earn it by showing respect and consideration to others. The ability to enjoy one's senior years is not something wrapped in a pretty package presented by a friend, relative or social worker. Oldsters won't be loved and respected simply because they are old. This was the case perhaps in great grandfather's day, but not now. It is no longer any great feat to attain old age. Nearly everybody's doing it. It requires an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding, a willingness on everybody's part to share responsibilities and to plan realistically. Housing quite frequently turns out to be the reef that wrecks old age. Often an elderly parent, suddenly left alone, finds it easier to go along with plans made by sons and daughters than to assert his own wishes. And sometimes families, eager to guarantee their own freedom and oblivious to the fact that in a few brief years they too will be old, make snap decisions for their widowed parents, forcing them into arrangements that strip them of their independence and the comfort of familiar things. The geriatrics authority called in by two sons to convince their mother she must go to a home because they feared, living alone at 80, she might break an arm or leg, disagreed with their plans, saying, "If you send your mother to a home against her will you will be protecting her against broken bones at the ex- pense of a broken heart." Thoughts prompted by Kohoutek By Don Oakley, NEA Service Books in brief "A New Pictorial History of the Talkies" by Daniel Blum. (Longman Canada Ltd., 379 pages, Featuring over photos of stars and film clips, this highly enjoyable journey down moviedom's memory lane should have everyone's favorite star or film included in it at least once if not, then you've been watching movies exclusively produced in Siberia. GARRY ALLISON "Polly Priadte's Book of American Patchwork Quilts" by Alice I. Gunmel (George J. McLeod Ltd., 238 pages, Any novice or quilting pro will find inspiration and endless delight in Alice GammeU's book.. The present day revival in quilting has brought the craft into clothing, cushions, and wall hangings. The author, a primitive painter as well as a quitter, has produced some of the oldest and most unusual patterns from her collection which can be adapted to any of these. From a choice of fifty full size patterns including six borders, one can pick very simple designs to the more intricate appliqued ones, including the very lovely Rose of Sharon. Instructions are simple and complete including yardage requirements as well as short- cuts to quilting. The colored photos are an added bonus to this excellent book. ELSIE MORRIS "If YOB Were An Ant" by Barbara Fred Brenner (Fitthenry Whiteside Limited, 30 pages, What would it be like if you were an ant? You would have to adjust to a different size, change your eating habits, and watch out for some deadly enemies. There would be other changes too and all are explained very clearly in this beautifully illustrated little book. Suitable for younger readers. TERRY MORRIS The only trouble with the "comet of the' century" was that they forgot to specify which century. The sad news for all of us who had hoped to get a look at our very first real, live, naked- eye comet is that seldom in the annals of astronomy have so many become so excited for so little reason. At a time when Kohoutek was supposed to be at its most spectacular, even astronomers with high-powered telescopes are having trouble locating it as it begins receding into the vast outer reaches of the solar system where comets dwell. They say it began its journey years ago. One might well ask, "Was this trip A book now on the newsstands proclaims on its cover that "The world's most spectacular new comet has arrived! Is it a messenger of doom from outer space or a scientific clue to the birth of our You don't have to read the book to know that Kohoutek is both of these things. The only trouble with the messenger part is that, as noted above, the time element is a little hazy. Those members of the Children of God who carried signs in front of the United Nations announcing the end of the world coin- cident with Kohoutek's arrival weren't wrong, just premature. For the cometologists, Kohoutek was indeed a notable event. It was probably the best-studied comet of all time, and certainly the first one to be directly observed and photographed in space itself, by the astronauts aboard Skylab 3. As far as the rest of us are concerned, however, we will have to wait until 1986 for a comet worth getting up from the television set and stepping outside to see. This is when Halley's comet is due to return, and it has been a faithful crowd-pleaser since at least a couple centuries B.C. (although back then they didn't know it belonged to Mr. But speaking of modern and ancient forms of entertainment, this business about Kohoutek reminds us how very, very distant we are psychologically from our early ancestors. For those who have never seen a comet and probably never will, it is hard to believe that kings once trembled when one was sighted. Those whose knowledge of the stars is limited to picking out the Big Dipper find it difficult to understand how the ancients could have peopled the firmament with the figures of gods and animals. Ancient man was much closer to the sky than we, who have made it just another highway for our machines. If the Christmas Star were to appear again, how many of us would be "abiding in the fields" and see it? Even if we saw it, how many of us would have the wisdom to follow it? Housing problems for Indians By Geraldine Weasel Fat From tbe Lethbridge Community College Endeavor The housing situation in Lethbridge is atrocious. Most citizens in Lethbridge are leery of renting out to Indians. It's quite obvious that most of the upright citizens of Lethbridge will turn their heads the other way and say "Oh no, how could you possibly say this! It's all in your head. You're just a power-hungry little Indian, there's no such thing as prejudice in southern Alberta." This is ridiculous! You, the general public, don't even begin to know how it feels to be continually insulted, refused rooms, or given evasive answers when trying to get a decent place to live. How many times when phoning for accommodations have you heard, "No, I don't rent out to Indians." When your surname happens to have an Indian twist to it you have suspicious looks given to you. If your skin doesn't happen to match with their own, you can expect poor treatment Or what about those famous answers such as: "I had Indian tenants before but you people have so many don't know if I can take you, because I don't want any trouble around here." Makes you sick to hear the name Injun. There are a lot of people of different nationalities that abuse their living quarters. But must we be subjected to continuous degradation when applying for a place to live! Most of the Indian students attending Lethbridge Community College have difficulties in obtaining decent living accommodations due to the negative attitudes of some of the citizens of Lethbridge. You might think we're belly-aching over nothing but why don't you look at it objectively? Spread the word that we are not all that bad. Rhetoric and reasoning From Tbe Wall Street Journal Educators are baffled that scores on two major college admissions and placement tests for high school seniors have dropped steadily and significantly over the past decade. Tbe Scholastic Aptitude Test, span- sored by tbe college entrance examination board, has recorded a drop of W per cent to verbal score tests during tbe past decade, a seven per cent drop in math scores. Scores on tests given by tbe American college testing program fell by a full point, on a scale of 1 to 36, between the years 196W5 and 1971-71 Many educators have hastened to explain that the decline does not necessarily reflect a corresponding deterioration of academic standards in American secondary schools. Any number of reasons may account for the dropoff. For one thing, many more students have been taking the tests each year, including many who previously would not have qualified financially or academically for college. Nevertheless, tbe trend does raise some fundamental questions, particularly whether schools are placing too much emphasis on social courses and not enough on such basic academic studies as English, math and science. It also calls into question the widespread assertion, so popular only a few years ago, thatstudents were steadily becom- ing more intelligent and presumably wiser. Where this latter judgment wasn't an attempt to ingratiate oneself with students, it often reflected a tendency to attribute special virtues to students who expressed social and political views compatible with one's own. Or it reflected a tendency to equate radical rhetoric with the reasoning process. Whatever else tbe college admissions and placements tests may prove, they simply do not bear that oat We suspect that today's students are no more or less wise or intelligent than their predecessors-at least if intelligence is defin- ed as the capacity to assimilate as well as ac- quire knowledge, and if wisdom denotes a capacity for sound judgment Ultimately what is important is not so much bow much one knows, but bow wen and to what ends be employs that knowledge.