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For teaching purposes only;
[ References for this review may be found at <Fell> ]
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The Tifinag Alphabet at Peterborough, Ontario
†† ††††The alphabet used by scribes at Peterborough, Ontario was detailed by Fell (1982) as follows:† "Using Table I, the comparisons of the Tifinag alphabet with the short inscriptions found in Sweden and Denmark, and supplementing these by the much more extensive material now recognized in America, it is not difficult to reconstitute King Woden-lithi's own alphabet [at Peterborough].† It is given in Table 2."
†††††† It is now possible for anyone who cares to do so to visit the site at Peterborough, Ontario, with [the present information]... in hand, and perhaps a copy of Geir T. Zoega's Dictionary of Old Icelandic (Oxford University Press, 1910) as an independent check, and to see and read the inscriptions the king had cut, and thus for the first time ever hear the words of a Bronze Age language that stands in the direct line of descent of English and the other Norse tongues.† Although nearly 4,000 years stand between us and King Woden-lithi, we can still recognize much of his language as a kind of ancient English.† It is an eerie feeling to realize that we are reading, and hence hearing, the voice of the ancient explorers of Canada whose thoughts now come to us across the space of forty centuries, yet still with familiar words and expressions that remain a part of the Teutonic heritage.
†††††† This is not the place to instruct readers in the grammar of Old Norse, let alone the still more obscure grammar of Bronze Age Norse, but it is quite within the realm of practical life for visitors, including teachers and their students, to examine for themselves at least the more conspicuous and best preserved of Woden-lithi's recorded comments.† The diagrams.... will make this task relatively easy.† And for those who wish to make independent checks, or to translate parts of the text that are not included [here] , there can be no better guides than Zoega's Dictionary, a grammar of Old Norse such as E. V. Gordon's (Oxford University Press, 1927), and a camera to record the inscriptions for more detailed study at home.† For many of the words and Anglo-Saxon dictionary will also aid recognition.
†††††† The easiest parts of Woden-lithi's text are, of course, those where the letters are engraved on the largest scale, and that therefore have suffered least from the erosion of time and the elements.† One of the clearest sections is located about 30 feet to the west of the central sun figure.† The individual letters are from 20 to 40 cm high, and they form a horizontal band about 5 feet (1.5 m) long.† The inscription lies directly beneath the Fig. of the god of war, Tziw, and it is in fact a dedication to this god.† The god can be recognized from .... Fig. 111 and Fig 112, and by the fact that he stands beside the Fenrir wolf, which has just bitten off his left hand.... [see later section].† For the present we will restrict ourselves to the line of dedication, shown in.... Fig 112.† With the exception of the ornamental capital TZ† [or TS] that begins the name of the god, all the letters are easily recognizable from the table of Woden-lithi's alphabet.... [Table 2].† Remember that vowels are nearly always omitted in all Bronze Age inscriptions except when they occur at the beginning of a word, or where possible confusion of meaning might result.† The line of text of the dedication reads:
w-k†† h-l-gn†† tz-w†† w-d-n-l-t-ya
The last two letters are written in ogam and form a rebus of a ship, on the right, all the others are in Bronze Age Tifinag.† The meaning of the text is "Image dedicated sacred to Tziw by Woden-lithi."† The individual words are as follows.
†††††† W-K, matching Old English (Anglo-Saxon) wig, a heathen idol, in this case a bas-relief ground into limestone, depicting the god.† Probably we have to supply the same vowel, i, to make the letters w and k pronounceable, g and k are related consonants, both formed in the throat; the only difference is that g requires the vocal cords to reverberate (as can be felt by placing the fingers on the throat when uttering the sound of g), while in pronouncing k the vocal cords remain inactive, so no vibration is felt on the throat.† Jakob Grimm, the great German philologist, first showed how pairs of consonants, such as g and k d and t, b and p, change (mutate) from voiced to unvoiced if they occur in certain positions in words.† Woden-lithi apparently spoke with an incipient "German" accent, and preferred to use a k at the end of words where we in English are usually content to retain the ancient g sound.
†††††† The next word, rendered by Woden-lithi's scribe as H-L-GN means hallowed or, as we would prefer to say in Modern English, dedicated.† It is a root that is common to all the Teutonic languages.† Germans, for example, retain it to this very day as heilig, meaning holy, which in turn is another Modern English word derived from H-L-GN.† In the Scandinavian languages the word survives unchanged, as helgen, meaning holy or to make holy, and the Anglo-Saxon form of the word is represented by such old terms as halig (holy), halgan (a saint), halgung (a consecration or dedication), with hallow, hallowing, Halloween (All-Saints' Eve) as surviving English derivatives.† Halloween is the night before the first day of the ancient Norseman winter (November 1), when ghosts are reputed to roam at large.† These spirits could be bought off, by bribes, from any evil intention during the following year, hence our modern surviving custom of given token gifts to children dressed as demons and ghosts.† The children of Woden-lithi's Ontario settlers no doubt carried on the same custom.
†††††† The next word is the name of the god himself, here rendered as TZ-W.† This implies a pronunciation similar to the ancient German name of the god of war, Tziwaz.† Our Anglo-Saxon forebears called him Tiw, and in the Middle Ages the surviving form of the name, in the word Tuesday, became what we still say today, for the god of war is still commemorated by having the second day after the sun god's day named for him.
†††††† The last word is the name of King Woden-lithi himself, and it is written beside a pictograph of a man wearing a robe and crown, to show the reader that the word is the personal name of a king.† Elsewhere in the various texts on the site we find the word king spelled out in Tifinag, and it then has the form konungn, matching Anglo-Saxon cyning, Old Norse konungr and other similar forms in all the Teutonic languages.† Lithi, here rendered as litya, means "servant," thus the king's name is "Servant of Woden."† Woden was the king of the Aesir or sky gods.
†††††† "The dedication to Tziw illustrates the way in which we can use dictionaries of Anglo-Saxon or Old Norse, as well as modern English dictionaries that give the old roots (such as the OED or the American Heritage), not only as a guide to understanding what Woden-lithi is saying, but also as a means of guessing approximately what his language-- our ancestors' language-- actually must have sounded like.
†††††† It is not needful here to continue treating in detail the rest of the numerous texts that lie about the site at Peterborough and at other places such as the sites along the Milk River, Alberta, or in Coral Gardens, Wyoming.† Readers can devise their own philological checks, if these interest them, or ignore the subject if they are more interested in other aspects.† ......" [This discussion is merely to show how to approach the ancient inscriptions].† [Please refer now to Figs. 65, 66, 67, 68, 69 & 70].
†††††† Now that we have seen that the alphabet really does give us the means of reading the various texts that King Woden-lithi had engraved at the Peterborough site, when he selected it for the sacred center of his colony, following are some comments on the origin of this alphabet.
†††††† It is essentially the same alphabet as that used by the Tuareg Berbers.† A possible reason for this surprising circumstance is suggested [later]."† However, none of the scholars who have worked on Tifinag inscriptions in North Africa could ever understand the relationship between the Tifinag alphabet and the Berber language.† It has now become clear that there is no relationship.† Tifinag is not a Berber invention-- instead it is Norse-- and that changes the whole problem.
†††††† The decipherment of any ancient and unknown inscription requires first that the alphabet in which it is written must be solved.† Various methods can be used to achieve this first essential.† In the case of Woden-lithi's inscription Fell found the solution relatively easy, for he had previously traveled widely in the Scandinavian countries, where shorter but similar inscriptions occur on Bronze Age monuments, and he had also carried out research on the ancient scripts of North Africa, including the Tifinag of the Tuaregs.† The Tuaregs had preserved their unique system of writing since time immemorial, and its origin was unknown, though all epigraphers, including me, supposed it to have been their own invention.
†††††† Four thousand years ago the ancestors of the present-day peoples who speak Teutonic languages were all grouped together in Scandinavia, in parts of Germany, and along the Baltic coasts.† They had not yet differentiated into Germans, English, Scandinavians, so we can refer to them only as Norsemen.† Their descendants today not only live in northern Europe but have spread across the world, and most people in North America now speak a tongue directly descended from the Ancient Norse of the Bronze Age.
†††††† Although short inscriptions in the Ancient Norse alphabet have recently been recognized in Scandinavia, that discovery stemmed from the more significant one of Ancient Norse engraved on North American rock.† Thus North America has now become custodian of the oldest and most precious of the ancient records of the Norsemen† peoples, and to Canada is assigned the responsibility of preserving them intact, and the thanks of millions of people must go to the geologists, surveyors, and archaeologists who uncovered the main site and placed it under the protection of the local government.
†††††† Our ancestors of the Norsemen† Bronze Age inherited some of the signs of their alphabet from their Neolithic predecessors, who also spoke a Norse tongue and used a number of signs.† Thus the following signs were already known in northern Europe before the Bronze Age, and we now know that they give us the sounds shown in Table 2.
†††††† As is quite obvious, these are hieroglyphs in which the signs depict recognizable objects, and the sound they stand for is that of the first letter in the name of the object.† Thus, the crescent that is m is obviously the first letter of mŠn, the older form of our modern English moon.† Similarly the circular sign r, or hr, is the first letter of the word hringr, meaning our modern word ring.† So also the circle with a dot in the center, s, is the first letter of sol and of sunu, the two Ancient Norse names of the sun.† The b symbol is clearly the Old Norse buklr, the circular shield with a leather arm-strap, which is still called a buckler in modern English.† These four signs, with the indicated sound values, were needed by the Neolithic wizards to indicate certain words that mean magic (bur- in Proto-Norse), sailing ship (also bur-, though a different root), and the combinations of these two words with signs for the sun and moon, both of which were viewed as celestial gods that sailed their sun ship and moon ship by magic across the heavens.† Simple statements of this kind can now be read, by sound as well as by pictograph, in the Neolithic engravings on rock in Scandinavia and also in North America, as far west as California.
†††††† The German philologist Jakob Grimm traveled among the village communities of Germany and the Baltic lands 150 years ago, and discovered old words such as those have been mentioned.† He used his findings to develop a forecast of modern theories on how language evolves through time.† He also recorded the old names of the constellations.† This is fortunate for us, for when we look at the deciphered Norse alphabet of the Bronze Age we can now recognize more of the origins of the alphabet.† For just as the letter s and m reflect the form of the sun and the crescent moon, so also we now perceive that the dots that make up other letters, in a kind of Braille system, are really the constellations.
†††††† Thus, just as the ancient Irish (noted as Celts) gazed at their fingers and invented a writing system called ogam based on the varying combinations of five strokes above, below, and across a central writing axis, so also the ancient Norsemen† people gazed instead at the sky and saw their letters writ large upon the face of heaven.† No doubt they said their script was divine, sent from the sky by the sky god Woden (Odin), lord of magic and of runes, the secret writing of the magicians.† As this word runes has already been applied to later types of writing developed by the Norsemen after the Iron Age, we cannot use it without some qualification for our Bronze Age alphabet, to which it undoubtedly was originally applied.† So we have to compromise and call the oldest writing of the Norsemen peoples, Bronze Age Runes.
†††† ††There remain a number of other letters that seem to be formed from more commonplace objects of everyday life in ancient times. Table 2, with Fellís suggestions as to these origins, explains itself.
†††††† In Fellís popular books on North American inscriptions he was faced with the difficulty of trying to explain to an English-speaking public the meaning and language of texts engraved in tongues so remotely different from English that it made the tasks both of writing the books and of reading them (as many correspondents have told me) decidedly difficult.
†††††† Now, thanks to King Woden-lithi, these problems all vanish.† he spoke and wrote a language that resounds down the centuries with the age-old familiar tones of all the Norse tongues.† We speakers of English, as well as our cousins in Europe who speak related languages, can all recognize many of the words that Woden-lithi and his Ontario colonists spoke and wrote here seventeen centuries before Julius Caesar first encountered the Norsemen tribes of the Rhineland.
†††††† Although Woden-lithi's site at Peterborough is the first recognizable Norsemen Bronze Age site to be discovered in America, it now appears that there were other visitors from the Norsemen world of that era.† For some years a puzzling inscription has been known from little Crow Island, near Deer Isle, Maine, but it could not be deciphered, nor was the script recognized.† It is shown in Fig. 72 and in Fig. 73 , a provisional reading is given, which suggests that some voyager from Scandinavia, seemingly named Hako or Haakon, visited Maine at a time when the Bronze Age runes were still in use.† [= Ey vik hvi nokkvi leya a vika = "A sheltered island, where ships may lie in a harbor.† Haakon brought his cog here."] This inscription greatly resembles the script called bead ogam, but the resultant text, if it were read as bead ogam, is gibberish, whereas if we treat it as Tifinag script, a Norse text, although rather obscure, emerges.† The lack of associated pictographs or hieroglyphs increases the difficulty of reading the signs.
Servant of Woden's Observatory
†††††† To the discerning eye the solar observatory that King Woden-lithi established at his trading center near Peterborough is one of the wonders of American archaeology.† So surprising do his knowledge of the constellations and his understanding of the motions of the sun through the signs of the zodiac appear that at first it seems impossible that the site could be ancient.† it is more like what one might expect to have been constructed during the early Middle Ages.† However, consideration of what has been discovered about the growth of astronomy shows that it is not at all impossible for Woden-lithi to have known what he did know and yet have lived in an epoch 3,5000 years before our own.
†††††† Until about a century ago, all that we knew about ancient astronomy was what the Greeks and Romans had written.† It was supposed that the Greeks had named the constellations, and that therefore man's knowledge of the stars as mapped in the constellations could not be older than about 2,700 or 2,800 years; for some of the constellations, and their roles in setting the time of year for plowing, sowing and reaping, are mentioned by name in the works of Hesiod, the first Greek writer to refer to them, who lived about 800 BC.
†††††† Then an unexpected discovery was made.† Archaeologists in the Middle East began to uncover tablets of stone in which clear reference was made to constellations, some of them recognizably the same as those we know today, yet the age of the records extended many centuries earlier, into a time antecedent to the Greek civilization.
†††††† An English astronomer, Richard Proctor, devised an ingenious method of finding out when the constellations first received their names.† He plotted on a chart all the constellations known to the ancients.† He then examined the area in the sky, over the Southern Hemisphere, in which no constellations had been recorded until modern astronomers named them, because the ancient astronomers had not explored the Southern Hemisphere.† He found that this southern blank area has its center, not at the southern celestial pole, as one might expect, but in quire a different place:† a point in the southern sky some 25 degrees to one side of the South Pole.† When he realized that this center must once have been the pole, at the time when the constellations were named, he then attacked the related question, the known motions of the poles as the earth's axis has slowly wobbled like that of a spinning top.† He found that the ancient position of the poles he had discovered, for the time when constellations were named, corresponded to a direction of the earth's axis that was correct 4,000 years ago.† Thus, the constellations must have been named some 2,000 years before the time of Christ.† it was then discovered that the description of some features of the sun's motion in the sky, given by a Greek astronomer names Eudoxus, could not possibly have been true at the time when Eudoxus wrote, but would have been correct had he been quoting from sources dating back to 2000 BC.† The position of the sun at the time of the vernal equinox (in March) was recorded by these early writers as lying in the zodiacal constellation of the Bull.† But in classical times, when Eudoxus wrote, the vernal equinox occurred when the sun is in the constellation of the Ram, some 30 degrees away.
†††††† What this means for us is that when the Norsemen farmers first learned the arts of sowing seed by the calendar, and could thereby be sure of seeing the seed sprout instead of rotting in the ground, as would happen if it were not sown at the correct time, this phase of social history in the northern lands matched the rise of astronomy, about 2000 BC.† Evidently the astronomical skills passed along the same trade routs as did the trade goods themselves:† from the Danube and the Rhine there spread outward and northward into Germany, and then Scandinavia, a knowledge of the constellations and the motion of the sun through them.† Observatories would be established to watch for the equinoctial rising of the sun and for other significant astronomical events that could be used to keep the calendar correct and functional.†
†††††† Hence it was one of the concerns of Woden-lithi in America to ensure that his colonists were provided with a practical means of observing the sky and the heavenly bodies, so that they could have always a reliable farmers' calendar.† Certain religious festivals were also regulated by the calendar, such as the spring (New Year) festival in March, and the midwinter or Yule festival held in December.
†††††† To establish his observatory, Woden-lithi had first to determine the position of the north-south meridian of his site.† He probably used the following method.† First, he selected a central observing point, and engraved two concentric circles into the rock (thus forming the head and central "eye" of what later became the main sun-god image).† An assistant then held a vertical rod, centered in the marker circles, on a clear day as the sun approached its noon altitude.† The shadow cast by the vertical rod would grow shorter as the sun rose higher, and then would begin to lengthen again as the sun passed the highest elevation at noon, and commenced to decline.† The direction of the shadow at its shortest length was marked on the rock.† Checks on subsequent days would establish this shadow line more precisely.† The marked lines except for minor errors due to variations in the velocity of the earth's motion (for which no correction could be made in those early days), would be the meridian, running north and south.
†††††† Woden-lithi could now lay out the cardinal directions, north, south, east, and west, by making a right-angle intersection with the meridian line, to give the east-west axis (see Fig. 74).† Instead of cutting lines for these cardinal axes, however, he made sighting points at their extremities by cutting a sunburst figure, as shown.
†††††† The sighting sunburst for due east he then identified by an inscription lettered in ogam consaine, shown on the right side of Fig. 74.† In his Old Norse language it reads M-D† O-S-D-N (Old Norse mot osten, facing east).† The illustration gives a plan view to the scale shown, so the visitor can readily identify these features at the site.
†††††† At this stage in his work Woden-lithi had now provided his colonists with the fundamental tool for regulating their calendar, for, every year at the vernal equinox in March, when the ancient year began for all civilized peoples, an observer standing on the site would see the sun rise at a point on the horizon lying on the line of sight from the "eye" of the central sun-god figure. to the eastern sunburst figure.† On that occasion each year the Norsemen peoples held a festival, named for the goddess of the dawn, Eostre.† The name survives in our modern language as Easter, now of course linked with a Christian festival to which the old pagan name has been attached.
†††††† Ancient peoples also celebrated another festival on the shortest day of the year, called by the Norsemen nations Yule; this pagan festival is nowadays lined with the Christian festival of Christmas, still called Yule (spelled Jul) in Scandinavian countries.† Woden-lithi therefore wished to provide his colonists with a means of determining the day on which the Yule feast should be held, for to the ancient peoples it was a great day of celebration, marking the end of the sun's winter decline and the promise of a new and warmer season ahead.
†††††† Woden-lithi's inscriptions tell us that he remained in Canada only for five months and that he returned to his home in Scandinavia in October.† hence he could not observe the direction in which the sunrise would be observed on the actual day of midwinter, for he was no longer in Canada.† So apparently he estimated the direction, drawing on his experience in Scandinavia.† In southern Norway the precise direction of sunrise on Midwinter Day varies quite considerably, for at the latitudes spanned by the interval between the southern end of the Skagerrak (at about 56 deg. N) and the head of Oslo Fjord (at 60 deg. N), the astronomical equation that determines the sunrise direction gives solutions that range over a span of some seven degrees between the extreme values.† Consequently, since Woden-lithi probably did not have any clear conception of latitude, and would have to judge the situation in terms of his notions of the variations seen in Norway itself and neighboring Sweden, he would probably conclude that the Peterborough site seemed to be comparable with southernmost Scandinavia.† For example, he would have noticed that the midday sun stood higher in the sky at midsummer at Peterborough (when he was present to observe) than it did in his homeland, and he would also know that the noonday sun stands higher in the southern Sweden than it does near Oslo on any given day.† From such knowledge he perhaps estimated the likely sunrise direction for Midwinter Day, and cut his estimated axis into the rock at the site.† This he marked by another sun-god figure (which is labeled Solstice on Fig. 74).† Woden-lithi himself had a label carved into the rock beside this figure.† As can be seen from the illustration, it spells W-L† H-K.† Hoki was the Ancient Norse name of the midwinter festival: the word still survives today in the Scotch word Hogmanay, the traditional name of the Scottish midwinter holiday, now applied to the New Year holiday.† The letters W-L evidently represent the hvil of Old Norse, meaning a time of rest, a holiday from work.† The importance of this Hoki holiday can be judged from the large scale in which the letters have been engraved at the site.† It was, no doubt, the time of the major national festival for all Norsemen peoples, and Woden-lithi undoubtedly intended that the old traditions be kept alive in his trading colony in the New World.
†††††† As we examine the site today, where these ancient instructions for regulating the calendar year and its festivals still survive, it is clear that whereas the critical date for starting the year and determining the correct time of planting seed, the equinox, is accurately set out, the same is not true of the Hoki axis.† it overestimates the southern declination of the sun by several degrees.† Woden-lithi's colonists would find that the midwinter sunrise did not, in fact, ever range quite so far south as the king had predicted, and that the sunrise point would begin to return toward the eastern horizon before ever reaching the southeastern azimuth to which Woden-lithi's Hoki axis now points.† Nonetheless the general tenor of the matter would be clear enough, and since most years the midwinter sunrise tends to occur in banks of low-lying cloud, the error was probably known to only a few of the more meticulous observers.
†††††† Those of us who have made the somewhat hazardous journey to observe the midwinter sunrise at sites in the Green Mountains [Vermont?] that are oriented for this purpose, have discovered the whole area under the deepest snowdrifts.† The same circumstance, no doubt, is true of Woden-lithi's site: the whole inscription area, with all the astronomical axes, would usually lie buried under deep snow, hence invisible and useless for making astronomical determinations of the festival dates.
†††††† An explanation for these conflicts of data is to be sought in our developing knowledge of climatic change.† In Woden-lithi's time the whole earth had a much milder climate than it did one thousand years later [see Climate].† The site at Peterborough may well have been prairie rather than dense needle-forest, as it is a present.† Open views of the distant horizon could be had, the actual sunrise could be observed, and because of the milder climate, the snow, if present at all, could be cleared away from the site.
†††††† Also, as the climate deteriorated with the progress of time, the people here at the end of the Bronze Age, around 800 BC, began to find the snow an increasing impediment to their calendar regulation.† They were forced to construct a new type of observatory, one that could retain its major astronomical axes in a visible and usable state despite the snow accumulations.† These new observatories are probably where the observers could be housed comfortably below ground, with a large living space that could be heated by fire, and with the axis of the entire chamber directed toward the midwinter-sunrise azimuth on the distant horizon, so that the calendar observation could be made simply by sighting from the inner end of the chamber, through the entrance doorway, which was built so as to face the midwinter sunrise point.† Once this practice had been adopted to overcome the ferocity of the winters, reaching its extremes of discomfort as the Iron Age began, the advantages of astronomically oriented chambers would be realized, and soon all observatories, whether based on summer, equinoctial, or winter sunrise directions, would eventually be constructed as comfortable chambers.† The old open-air sites, like that of Woden-lithi, would be abandoned forever, became buried under drifting soil and leaves and then turf (as happened at Peterborough), or would be eroded away by the elements till nothing readable remained, and thus disappear altogether.
†††††† To return to Woden-lithi's site, it is of interest to note that he adopted the ancient Semitic method of naming the south direction.† The Semitic peoples regarded east as the main map direction.† Facing east they would name the cardinal points on either side, so that north became "left-hand" and south became "right-hand."† On Woden-lithi's site w find that he has engraved in very large Tifinag letters the word H-GH-R at the southern extremity of the platform, where he as cut yet another sunburst figure.† The word intended is Old Norse hogr, meaning "right-hand."† The word is still sued today in Sweden where, if you are given street directions in Stockholm or Lund, you are sure to be told to take such and such a turn till hŲgra, "to the right."† The Danes say hFjre, but we who speak English seem to have lost the word, and replaced it by another root.† The Old Norse words for south (sudhra) and north (nord) are nowhere to be found on Woden-lithi's site, so perhaps they had not yet come into use.
†††††† Now, since we find Woden-lithi using the Semitic (Mesopotamian) methods of naming directions by reference to the right and left when facing east, and since east is the only direction that he actually calls by its special name, east (osten in his dialect), it is not surprising that we should find Woden-lithi in possession of so much information on the Babylonian maps of the heavens, as designated in the form of the named constellations.
Constellations Known to Woden-lithi.
†††††† The first hint we encounter on the observatory site that the stars were already grouped into constellations in Woden-lithi's day is given by the northern end of his meridian (see Fig. 74).† Here we find an inscription in Tifinag that reads W-K-N† H-L† A-GH, and it is evidently to read as Old Norse Vagn hjul aka, "The wagon-wheel drives."† Our Norsemen ancestors knew the constellation near the present north celestial pole that we in America call the Big Dipper today, and which Europeans often call the Plow or Wain, as the Wagon.† it was supposed to be an ox wagon (that is, the ancient chariot, before horses had been tamed) and was said to be driven by the god Odin, the Woden of our colonists.† In Woden-lithi's day the north celestial pole was marked by the star Thuban, in the constellation Draco; nowadays it lies some 25 degrees away from the pole.† The Wagon was conceived as wheeling around and around the Pole Star.† The wheeling motion, of course, is caused by the rotation of the earth, but in Woden-lithi's day it was conceived as a rotation of the sky itself.† We have other hints.... about star groups known by name to the peoples of the north in Woden-lithi's time:† the four stars that form the square of Pegasus (Called Hestemerki, "horse-sign," by the Ancient Norse) seem to be the basis of the four dots that make the Tifinag letter h; and the w-shaped group of stars that form Cassiopeia, called Yorsla by the ancient Scandinavians, seem to be the origin of the w-shaped letter that gives the sound of Y.
†††††† To the southwest of Woden-lithi's observatory lies an area of limestone where the constellations of the Norsemen zodiac have been engraved.† These are shown in Fig. 75 and Fig. 76.† We note that some of the Babylonian constellations bear replacement names in the Woden-lithi version.† The ram (Aries) is obviously a bear, and some broken letters beside the image of the animal seem to spell in Tifinag the word B-R-N, a root that appears in all Norse tongues in one form or another, as bjorn in Scandinavian, and bruin in English.† The next sign, the Bull (Taurus) of classical astronomy, is drawn as a moose; it is labeled in Tifinag L-GN, Old Norse elgen, the elk.† The Lion (Leo), though labeled L-N (Old Norse leon), seems to have been carved by an artist who had in mind a lynx.† The Crab (Cancer) looks like a lobster, and it is drawn as if it lies at the feet of the Twins (Gemini), here identified as M-T† TH-W-L-N-GN (Old Norse matig-tvillingr, "the mighty twins").
††† †††The significance to Woden-lithi's people of the zodiac was that it provided a means of describing the annual path of the sun through the heavens.† The sun spends about one month in each of twelve constellations, which together form the so-called zodiac (a word meaning, "girdle of animals").† The vernal equinox, the start of the ancient Norsemen year, occurs at the time when the sun is located in the zodiacal sign for that equinox.† Two thousand years before Christ, when, as we have seen, the constellations received their names, the sun occupied the Bull (the elk in Woden-lithi's zodiac).† Around 1700 BC the slow wobble of the earth's axis (called the procession of the equinoxes) caused the vernal equinox position to move out of the Bull into the neighboring sign, Aries (in Woden-lithi's terminology, the bear).† In Woden-lithi's zodiac map he shows the situation in just that way.† The word W-GN (Old Norse vaegn, a balance) signifies the "balance of night and day," and is set opposite the space between Taurus and Aries.† In addition, as can be seen on the right-hand side of Fig. 75, the sun is shown entering the W-R-M zone of the zodiac at that point.† The word intended is simply our word warm, Old Norse, varm, meaning summer. †On the part of the zodiac corresponding to the sun's positions during the cold months the engraver has written the letters W-N-T, our word winter, Old Norse vintr.† All the indications are, then, that Woden-lithi used a chart of the sky that was appropriate in 1700 BC.† Since his writing system and the style of his inscriptions match so well the inscriptions that Scandinavian archaeologists declare to belong to the early Bronze Age, we may assume that Woden-lithi did in fact live around that time.† Hence, until evidence is found to the contrary, Fell believed that we have to date his visit to America as having occurred around 1700 BC.
†††††† There are other indications that this is a reasonable estimate.† Some archaeologists who have investigated the site have suggested a possible age of 3,500 years, based on the similarity of the art style to that of Europe 3,500 years ago.† At a neighboring site in Ontario where a thousand or so copper artifacts were excavated, radiocarbon dating indicated occupation a thousand years before the time proposed for Woden-lithi;, that is, around 3000 BC.† And some of the radiocarbon dates from the Lake Superior copper mines indicate that the mines were worked between about 3000 and 2000 BC.† All these data suggest that the copper-mining industry was already an old established activity in Canada long before Woden-lithi came to trade for copper.
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