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Chambered Tomb


Here is some information about the 12th century Viking inscriptions at Maeshowe:

There are some pictures - a dragon, a walrus and a serpent, but also also quite a lot of graffiti, in runes. I say graffiti because most of it recalls the type of thing you find written on modern bus shelters: 'Thorfinn wrote these runes.'; 'Thorni fucked. Helgi carved'; 'Ingigerth is the most beautiful of all women'; 'These runes were carved by the man most skilled in runes on the Western Ocean with the axe that killed Gaukr Trandkill's son in the South of Iceland.' Though there is some that sounds a bit more exciting: "A long time ago was a great treasure hidden here. Lucky will be he who can find the great fortune. Hákon single-handed bore treasure from this howe."

Maeshowe is also mentioned in one of the Viking sagas from the same period - the Orkneyinga Saga (this version in penguin translated by Hermann Palsson and Paul Edward):

"Earl Harald set out for Orkney at Christmas with four ships and a hundred men. He lay for two days off Graemsay, then put in at Hamna Voe on Mainland (Stromness), and on the thirteenth day of Christmas they travelled on foot over to Firth. During a snow storm they took shelter in Maeshowe and there two of them went insane, which slowed them down badly, so that by the time they reached Firth it was night-time."

Perhaps it's best not to spend too long in there, eh.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
3rd October 2002ce

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