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A thousand years ago a revered and respected elder was laid to rest inside the hull of a timber boat, one crafted with the so-familiar sweeping prow and stern. His shield was laid upon his chest, his sword and spear by his side. He also had a knife and an axe, together with an object archaeologists believe to be a drinking horn. The boat had then been filled with stones and buried beneath a mound of earth. Initially overlooked as nothing more than a clearance cairn—a pile of rocks gathered from the land by a farmer keen to spare his ploughshare from damage—it was not until that excavation of the mound began to reveal its secrets.

The timbers of the boat had long since decayed but their lines were clearly visible, impressed into the subsoil upon which they had lain for a millennium. At just But the fact that its sole occupant was deemed worthy of such treatment in death suggests he was of the highest status—and no doubt a seasoned traveller in life.

Also found alongside him were a whetstone of Norwegian origin and a bronze ring-pin fashioned by an Irish craftsman. I try and picture the scene on that day when his family, friends and followers dispatched him on his final journey. First the sleek little craft was hauled into position out of reach of any tide. The location of the grave was no accident either, no random selection: archaeologists had already found other dead nearby, from other times. Those close to that deceased Viking had decided his mortal remains would lie for ever near both a 6,year-old Neolithic grave and one raised during the Bronze Age.

Here was an unlikely fellowship of death. Then they placed him on board, accompanied by all they thought he might need wherever he was going, and sent him on his way. Ardnamurchan is still a place reached more easily by boat than by road. It feels remote now but there was a time when familiarity with the water would have meant it was close to busy seaways.

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Whether that Viking was a permanent resident or a passing chieftain visiting his relatives may never be known—but my fascination with him lies at least in part in wondering what he really meant to those who saw fit to say their farewells that way. Did they fill the hull with ballast with a view to fixing him in place in a landscape that plainly mattered to them?

We cannot ever know, and why should we? He is not ours. In June archaeologists were called in to excavate a large swathe of land in Dorset earmarked for the building of a new road to improve access to Weymouth and the Isle of Portland. In what proved to be a mass burial pit they found the remains of 51 Vikings—all of them decapitated and butchered. Their bones revealed multiple wounds including defensive injuries to hands and arms. There were separate piles of skulls, ribcages and leg bones. Two heads were missing, prompting the archaeologists to suppose those might have been kept as trophies—perhaps displayed on spikes.


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Scientific analysis showed they were all men, aged from late teens to mid-twenties. Their tooth enamel proved beyond doubt they had grown to adulthood in Scandinavian countries and radiocarbon dates revealed they met their deaths sometime between AD and Taken captive by the local Anglo-Saxons, they were stripped naked and messily executed.

Perhaps they were raiders caught in the act, or wouldbe settlers made unwelcome in the most extreme manner imaginable. Either way, their dismembered remains recall a time when the men from the north were often regarded more as foe than friend. These were travellers who lived and died by swords and they were not always on the winning side.

In I took part in a television project called The Face of Britain. Using samples of DNA collected from volunteers all over England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, a team of scientists sought to find out how much the genetic make-up of the modern population had been affected by migrations and invasions during thousands of years of history. While people came forward claiming all manner of inheritances—Celtic, Pictish, Saxon, Huguenot, Norman and many others—the largest single group of volunteers were those believing or at least fervently hoping they were descended from Vikings.

For many it was based on no more than a family trait of blue eyes or fair hair. Some, however, had a claim based on altogether more intriguing physical characteristics. Dupuytren's Contracture is a deformity that causes the fingers of the hand to curl towards the palm. The condition is also known as 'Viking Claw' and several people came to the trial certain their hands carried proof of ancient Scandinavian ancestry. But despite the nickname, the condition is relatively common all over northern Europe and by no means limited to those whose families hail from Denmark, Norway or Sweden.

Even more interesting than the scientifically provable reality, though, was the passion with which so many people clung to their hopes that the blood coursing in their veins was that of Vikings. There was a time too when every British child learnt the names of at least a few Viking heroes—real men once, but made so famous by their exploits they seem more like figures from bedtime stories or nursery rhymes: Eirik the Red and his settlement of Greenland Whole swathes of Britain's place names are Viking too.

Any ending in 'by'—like Ferriby, Whitby, Grimsby, Selsby and Utterby—recall homesteads established by the incomers. Anywhere with 'thorpe' or 'thwaite' is Viking too. Then there's 'beck' for stream; 'fell' and 'how' for hill; 'holm' for island; 'kirk' for church and 'slack' for stream—the list goes on and on, marbled like fat through the flesh of Britain. Caithness, Scotland's northern quarter, is the way Vikings described the head of the cat. The Great Orme above Llandudno remembers how they saw the headland there like a giant worm swimming out to sea, and just about every village, town, hill, headland, waterway and bay on the islands of Orkney and Shetland bears a Norse name.

Make your way along the passageway of the great burial mound of Maes Howe on Orkney Mainland and your breath will be snatched away first of all by the wonder of the Neolithic architecture in the chamber at its end.

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Spend a little more time inside, however, and faint lines and shapes etched into stones here and there might catch your eye: a dragon-lion, a knotted serpent, a walrus. These were cut by Vikings 4, years and more after the last of the monument's builders were dust on the wind. Then there are the runes—at least 30 sets identified so far. Some are just boyish graffiti like: 'Thorni bedded Helgi', or 'Ingigerth is the most beautiful of all women' the latter beside a rough etching of a slavering hound.

Govoni, co-founder of the Wild Vibes festival. Govoni started the festival three years ago with a couple of her friends. Bound by a love for yoga, music, and art, the women set up the festival at Peirce Island in Portsmouth. After the success of the first two events, Govoni said, they were looking to expand.


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With the bigger space come more activities. In addition to yoga classes and workshops for kids and adults, Wild Vibes is adding a marketplace, paddle-boarding lessons, and more. The organizers were also able to bring on more volunteers to broaden the capabilities of the festival. Both the founders and Uhlig drafted lists of who they would like to see perform at Wild Vibes.

Topping both lists was local band Harsh Armadillo, who will headline the festival. They put in the work, but there is also a coastal connection that makes me see them bigger than other people. Wild Vibes takes place Sunday, July 17, from p. For ticket and more information, click here. The musicians perform stripped-down versions of their songs, played acoustically or with a softened sound to give it a more intimate feeling. The idea was originally intended to bring more customers into the restaurant on nights when there is no show happening in the main performance space at 3S.

The Block Six shows take place from p. Rocci wanted to provide a space for local acts to perform a different type of show than most area musicians are accustomed to playing. The series began in late April, and Rocci has hosted a diverse range of acts since then. Blake Joseph Seale Jr. Mackenzie Keefe, who performed in the series earlier in June, plays with Rocci in his garage-rock band Idling.

In May, Rocci booked the full band Gretchen and the Pickpockets, who played with dampeners and mutes to control the volume of their instruments. Rocci has several more artists booked over the summer.

New Hampshire Goddess Chronicles, Light Your Torch

The next show features Seth Gooby, a folk-country artist and member of alternative rock band The Landladys. Coming up in the pipeline are Jordan Holtz, bassist and co-vocalist for the indie-rock band Rick Rude; Wm. Hexwire, formerly the experimental lo-fi group videosforpictures; and Ezra Cohen, guitarist for punk band Notches and emo-rock band Charles.

Rocci is interested in bringing other acts, including Philadelphia-based indie band Beach Slang, and Notches performing an acoustic set. He would do really well in that room. He said 3S has an upper level that is empty, save for a few boxes of miscellaneous stuff. Though the space is not yet ready to host performances, Rocci said the room could hold about 75 people. Rocci says his ultimate goal is simply to provide more places for up-and-coming musicians to perform their music. Block Six is at Vaughn St.

For more information, click here. During a nearly hour-and-a-half phone conversation, Hart shifted sporadically between a number of bizarre topics, including an alien encounter, the advice he got from Doris Day, a dead frog that haunts him, and his removal from the premises of several organizations. The details are a bit fuzzy, but the incidents have taken a toll on his morale. He then switched topics to complain about the housing department in Los Angeles.

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A devout member of the Christian Science Church, Hart says his interest in music began in the s, when he learned to sing and play traditional Christian hymns. He says he was inspired to use puppets and music to entertain people by his Sunday-school teachers. Those teachers, he says, included Jim Henson and Walter Brennan.

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However, Hart says he is recording a new crop of punk-rock songs with Mociun, which he plans to put out sometime next year. Some of the songs are already finished. Hart says he has some other new projects in the works, as well. He asks anyone who can give him a ride to get in touch.

Black Norse and Big Mess ride along with the undercurrent of metal, but above the surface. Their distinct style breaks into a new wave of sound that reaches far beyond the conventions of the genre. It offers something artier, punker, eerier. The bass-heavy explosions of the guitars and the relentless snapping of the snare drums invoke the sonic weight that metal fans crave, but at the pace of molasses sliding down a wall. The record opens with two tunes from Big Mess, a trio based in Lowell, Mass. These instrumental tracks are built on hypnotic melodies that slowly smolder until they explode into flames at the tap of a distortion pedal.

Wrapped around the assaulting tunes of Big Mess is Black Norse. Without losing the uncompromising power of their record-mates, the Dover-based duo employs catchy verses with a quiet-loud-quiet dynamic. The art of storytelling is so ingrained in Wooden Eye as a band, even their name suggests there is a really good story behind it.

What happened to the real eye? Why make it out of wood? How many splinters have you accumulated from that? The band members have a lengthy musical history on the Seacoast and have collectively absorbed several decades of styles, and it shows on this recording. Like SST Records before them, Salty Speakers has collected a handful of bands that have the same general aesthetic binding them together, but each features its own unique sound.

The trio fills out their power-pop sound with washing cymbals, loopy guitar riffs, and treble-tinged bass. Folk has a lengthy history on the Seacoast, and acoustic music is arguably the most celebrated genre in the area. While many folk artists tend to focus on storytelling and work within traditional sound structures, Slow Coyote , aka Lucas Heyoka, strums abrasively, peppering his songs with stringy riffs to create a raw, unpolished, lo-fi aesthetic.

Recorded and engineered by Justin Uhlig, the album keeps the sound simple, without many tricks or much overproduction. Singer, guitarist, and co-founder Ryan Flaherty recorded the song during a campfire jam session with his friend Sam Davis singing. Davis died recently, and Flaherty felt the track was a fitting way to memorialize one of his best and longest friends. Unlike their self-titled debut, which featured several musicians on some of the tracks, Flaherty and Stahl decided to record the latest album by themselves. They said the band recorded live in order to reflect what the listener would hear at a live show.

Flaherty lived and performed in the Portsmouth area for several years. Muddy Ruckus, though, is now based in Portland and has been playing regular gigs in Maine. After one show, Stahl said, the duo was approached by Anthony Gatti, a fan and frequent show-goer. Flaherty said the band wrote and recorded the songs in increments. Record the songs you have and see how they go from there, instead of going in expecting to record an album. For the most part, the songs fall into two categories: tunes they had let simmer for years, and songs they developed in the studio.

Muddy Ruckus also took their practices and songwriting on the road. Threatened with constant noise complaints from their neighbors, Flaherty and Stahl had to write and rehearse their songs before gigs and in the studio. Instead of going with the traditional album release party, Muddy Ruckus is doing more of an album-release mini-tour, playing several shows around New England. The band is planning a big tour of New England during the spring and summer and is currently booking a national tour, going as far as New Orleans and Texas. But even as the tour approaches, Muddy Ruckus continues to write new songs.