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Did the Viking 'sunstone' actually exist ?

Posted on Sunday, 10 March, 2013 | Comment icon 11 comments | News tip by: Loggins

Image credit: Jason Vanderhill

A mythical crystal said to be used by Viking sailors to help them navigate might have actually existed.

The sunstone is referenced in Norse mythology as a magical crystal that when held up would point sailors in the direction of the Sun even when it was obscured by clouds. One Icelandic saga tells of how King Olaf used one of the stones to locate the position of the Sun during snowy weather. But were the sunstones bound purely to the myths of old or was there a basis for them in reality ?

A mysterious crystal recovered from the wreck of an Elizabethan ship sunk off the Channel Islands is thought to hold the answer. While not a Viking era find, there is strong evidence to suggest that the object is the same type of stone that the Vikings would have used. Made from a calcite substance known as Iceland spar, the stone was found to be a remarkably precise navigational aid.

"For centuries, it has been a crystal of legend locked in the verses of Norse myth with little or no evidence that it was ever real."

  View: Full article |  Source: Independent

  Discuss: View comments (11)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by krypter3 on 10 March, 2013, 15:19
Because they are one in the same xD
Comment icon #3 Posted by MissMelsWell on 10 March, 2013, 16:07
Here's an actual picture of the stone.... I read this article earlier this morning. haha.
Comment icon #4 Posted by pallidin on 10 March, 2013, 17:14
I guess I can understand it, a little bit... not much, though.
Comment icon #5 Posted by chopmo on 11 March, 2013, 0:46
I laugh when the try shoot holes in the theory by saying it's the only one to be found. Sooo... becuase Vikings and early Sea-travellers had a sence of worth not to discard of something so usefull as it was just another common item, it's fringe. It does what it's supposed to according to lore. Why shoot holes lol. I remember Viking lore, telling of their men being able to open the skys of Valhalla to assist them in their travels. It doesn't reference a sunstone directly, it still fits the shoe. A device to be guided by the heavens at all times.
Comment icon #6 Posted by marcos anthony toledo on 11 March, 2013, 14:33
The Sun Stones would be too valuable to be place in a burial so that why they not been found more often.
Comment icon #7 Posted by acute on 11 March, 2013, 20:54
Call me thick, but I don't understand what the article is saying. Is it saying that this form of calcite is rare, or to find some fashioned into a sunstone is rare, or discovering a Viking sunstone is rare?
Comment icon #8 Posted by DieChecker on 12 March, 2013, 2:36
Just like the Romans had bazookas, because they were so valuable that they never misplaced or buried any of them.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Aus Der Box Skeptisch on 14 March, 2013, 9:03
I recall a similar article being posted within the last year .... Here posted by stillwaters
Comment icon #10 Posted by Aus Der Box Skeptisch on 14 March, 2013, 9:04
OK so it was longer than a year ago... oh well LOL
Comment icon #11 Posted by keithisco on 14 March, 2013, 19:37
This thread is becoming a bit boring... Icelandic Spar is well known and the Vikings would certainly be aware of its double diffraction qualities. When it became too dark to use the Spar then they had the Stars to be guided by, or if cloudy , then they could use the Lode Stone (Magnetite) to find Magnetic North. So please...Icelandic Spar in cloudy / twilight situations, then Lodestone / stars during night travels...heck, Lodestone by itself would give sufficient bearings to reach the landmass they were aiming for.

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