On the wreck discovered "sunstone" vikings


07/03/2013

Archeologists have found that the crystal that divers found on board sank in 1592 an English ship could have been used for navigation by the sun. It turns out that the fabled "sunstone" really existed. Details of the study by French scientists from the University of Rennes I, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A.

A few years on board the Elizabethan era, wrecked in the English Channel off the coast of British Alderney, was found a small diamond crystal size 5x3 cm. Despite the fact that he was near to navigation devices, the precise function of the crystal remained unknown.

After completing the analysis of the chemical composition of the crystal, the authors determined that he had turned from Iceland spar. 400 years lain in seawater crystal became clouded, and the surface of its scratched sand. Once the stone was completely transparent and sailors used as an optical compass.

Multiple copies of the crystal, made by scientists to help them figure out what he allowed to navigate the gloomy weather on the sun with an error only one degree. This phenomenon is explained by the characteristic of calcite splitting sunlight into two beams with different polarization. For example, you can determine the position of the sun by rotating the crystal. In all likelihood, this is how the ancient Scandinavians was based navigation.

Hypothesis about the nature of "sun stone", which was mentioned in the Viking sagas, first put forward by the Danish archaeologist Thorkild Ramskou in 1967. However, to confirm its archaeological finds to date failed. Researchers believe that they were able to finally fill this gap. A crystal with a British vessel indicates that the sailors continued to use the "sun stone", even after the completion of the Viking Age.


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