Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Review of From Runes to Ruins in Communist newspaper

Claims that I am "far right" based on appearences on allegedly right wing broadcasts follow a logic that would also require me to be described as a Muslim and as a communist since I also appeared on Islamic TV channel IQRA tv and in the Communist newspaper Morning Star. It has been brought to my attention that Morning Star recently deleted their review of my film From Runes to Ruins from their website after six years of hosting it (likely under pressure from other far left groups so that their false narrative can be maintained)

 Never mind - the internet never forgets! 

We're all taught about Greek and Roman mythology in school but study of our indigenous traditions doesn't figure large on the syllabus.

Credit, then, to Thomas Rowsell for seeking to redress the balance somewhat with this documentary From Runes to Ruins is a voyage of exploration to ancient barrows, churches and even inner city London in the search for Anglo-Saxon influences.

Historians, re-enactors and neo-pagans explain the cultural relevance of the beliefs of our ancestors while Rowsell, reciting what sounds like perfectly enunciated Old English poetry, conducts a dark and mysterious odyssey through woodland and graveyards. The sense of the magical is underscored by the appearance of a fox on a path behind him

Britain la a holy place and our shores are scattered with ancient monuments and sacred groves where pagans once worshipped and Rowsell explains that his interest was kindled by growing up near ancient sites such as the Uffington White Horse.

That fascination is shared by many with an interest in the history of where they're from, how people lived and the battlefields and settlements hidden beneath the ground today. 

Literature and film featuring the Saxons such as JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and the Saxon Tales series by Bernard Cornwell...along with the 1980a TV series Robin of Sherwood, featuring the deity Herne the Hunter and atmospheric music by the Irish folk group Clannad, have also fired the popular imagination. 

Those Saxon roots are explored in Rowsell's film, which reveals how place names and everyday language have Saxon roots.

The London borough of Waltham stow is "the place of welcome" and Wednesday is derived from "Woden's day" itself an English version of the Norse god Odin and is the origin of Wednesfield in the west Midlands and Wodnesfeld in Essex. Other Anglo-Saxon gods such as Tiw see their name in Tuesley in Surrey and Thursley comes from the god Thunor.

These gods also feature prominently on artefacts from Sutton Hoo and the Stafford shire hoard, now on display at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, is a stunning example of the beauty of Saxon craftwork.

A fascinating feature of the documentary is its explanation of how early Christians incorporated elements of paganism, evidenced in the carvings and relics to be found in ancient churches. Indeed, the first Christian kings of England still claimed to be descended from Woden. 

Britain was the first industrial nation and communities were destroyed as the population was dis placed in search of work. The elites were early converts to liberal rationalism and this resulted in the British being more divorced from their folklore than most countries. That keenly felt separation, compounded by a materialistic, consumer society, is driving more people to history in search of an identity.

The apparent appropriation of runic symbols and Norse mythology by neo nazis might put some off the study of our Anglo-Saxon heritage, but that's all the more reason to reclaim our culture from the racists.The documentary features a sword display by Fighters Against Racism, an anti-racist martial arts group, but as Rowsell emphasises historical heritage belongs to neither the right or left. It's more important than that.

Our shared culture has been enriched by our Anglo-Saxon ancestors and a deeper understand ing of them provides not just historical interest but, as this documentary shows, an enlightening touch of mysticism in everyday places.

George Waterhouse - 2015

Thursday, 18 March 2021

The 'Black' Viking of York

The eye and nasal cavity shapes of the Roman-era Ivory Bangle Lady from York indicate she may have had some black ancestry too... 

A skeleton found in a coffin in North Yorkshire in 1989 and labelled as SK 3379 was identified as an adult male based on shape of the skull and the pelvis. It was dated to the 10th/11th century so this is regarded as a pre-Norman conquest body. He was quite twisted, with deformity of the spine and shoulder alignment, and with two crushed vertebrae as well as evidence of joint disease in the spine. He also had five abscesses in his gap-toothed mouth. An analysis of skull morphology led researchers in 2015 to conclude that he “may have been of African or mixed ancestry and may have migrated to York or descended from those that did”

Craniometry is actually a pretty good way of identifying race, however it isn’t always perfect, as some skulls, like this one, are a bit ambiguous and it gets much harder when it comes to mixed race individuals. A simple DNA test would make the race of the man who this skull belonged to very clear but no such test has been done - something that also holds true for every other allegedly black skeleton from ancient Britain; eg. Beachy head lady and Ivory Bangle Lady. Yet as with these two, the usual suspects have declared this a black person, and not only that, have started to say it is racist to say anything else!

One explanation for why a black man would be living in Anglo-Danish Yorkshire was suggested by Keefe & Holst with reference to an eleventh-century Fragmentary Annals of Ireland that describes a Viking raid on Morocco in the 860s. Any readers who are knowledgeable about human diversity and DNA will know that Moroccans aren’t really Sub Saharan Africans. Although some of them do have SSA admixture these days, we would expect to see far less (if any) of such admixture 1000 years ago, before the North African Muslims really got stuck into their centuries of black (and white) slave trading. A recent genetic analysis of skeletons from a Moorish cemetery in Al-Andalus showed that none of the early Moors had ANY black ancestry at all until the 10-16th century and then only two samples have black ancestry, and both of them are less than half black! Looking at the table below you can see that Iberian ancestry is more common than SSA (black) ancestry. Analysis of cranial morphology wouldn’t be accurate enough to identify the ancestry of such mixed individuals - which is why autosomal DNA analysis is so helpful.

So maybe Vikings went to Iberia or Morocco and kidnapped a Moroccan, possibly (though statistically unlikely) one who had some black ancestry, and then took him back to Yorkshire where he lived a hard life of back breaking labour. This is unlikely but possible, and even if true, it wouldn’t make him a “black Viking” just a mixed race labourer in Yorkshire. He was put on display at the Jorvik Centre in York where he was described as an ‘Arab’ and this is apparently a colonialist decision according to Paul Ramirez, who describes himself as a “Decolonial heritage specialist” who comes from the “occupied land” of Nicaragua but who lives in York where he works at the Humanities research centre of the university.


I suggest that rather than paying a grievance monger to whine about how an untested skeleton is represented in a museum, that the University of York instead pay for an aDNA analysis of said skeleton, which I understand the Reich lab are able to do for about $100, and thus end the debate once and for all. But perhaps they won’t like the results?

EDIT: since writing this blog post I have learned that Beachy head lady was indeed DNA tested in 2019, and as I predicted she was not black. She did not have any black ancestry!

Watch an interview with a co-author of a paper on Viking DNA who questions "woke" interpretations.

Monday, 8 March 2021

Anglo-Saxon Paganism: Gods


 What were the pre-Christian religious traditions of England like? This two part series serves as an introduction to Anglo-Saxon paganism. In this podcast we will look at the evidence we have for the pagan gods of the Anglo-Saxons and will compare them to what we know about the Norse equivalents that Vikings worshipped. At times it is also necessary to use Indo-European comparative mythology to understand the gods and goddesses of the Anglo-Saxons. “Anglo-Saxon paganism” refers to the Germanic pagan traditions brought to Britain in the 5th century and which persisted in surprising ways even after the Christianisation of Anglo-Saxon England over the 7th and 8th century. Thanks to Wulfheodenas for modelling their Vendel era Germanic weapons and clothing. 


Alex Cristi - Erce. 
Andrew Whyte - Nehalennia. 
Christian Sloan Hall - Eastre . 
Gramanh Folcwald - Hengist and Horsa. 
Hungerstein - Tiw. 
Robert Molyneaux - Yeavering temple . 
Ryan Murray - Modra. 
1st Aquarian - Migration map. 


Chaney, W. A. 1972. The Cult of Kingship in Anglo-Saxon England: The Transition from Paganism to Christianity, The Germanic Review: Literature, Culture, Theory, 47:2, 141-143.
Das, R. et al. 2016. Localizing Ashkenazic Jews to Primeval Villages in the Ancient Iranian Lands of Ashkenaz, Genome Biology and Evolution, Volume 8, Issue 4. 
Dowden, K. 2000. European Paganism: The Realities of Cult from Antiquity to the Middle Ages. London and New York: Routledge. p. 229. 
Dumezil, G. 1988. ‘Mitra-Varuna: An Essay on Two Indo-European Representations of Sovereignty’
Ealdorblotere, T. 2020. To Hold the Holytides. 
Faussett, B. 1856, Inventorium Sepulchrale. An Account of Some Antiquities dug up at Gilton, Kingston, Sibertswold, Bafriston, Beakesbourne, Chartham, and Crundale, in the County of Kent, from A.D. 1757 to A.D. 1773 (London 1856). 
Grimm, J. 1835. Deutsche Mythologie. 
Kemble, J. M. 1876. The Saxons in England. 
Kershaw, K. 2000. ‘The one-eyed god: Odin and the (Indo-)Germanic Männerbünde’ (Journal of Indo-European studies monograph). 
Nordberg, Andreas. 2006. Jul, disting och förkyrklig tideräkning: Kalendrar och kalendariska riter i det förkristna Norden. Kungl. Gustav Adolfs Akademien för svensk folkkultur: Uppsala. 
North, R. 1997 Heathen gods in Old English literature. Cambridge University Press. 
Pollington, S. 2011. The Elder Gods: The Otherworld of Early England. 
Reaves, W. 2018. Odin's Wife: Mother Earth in Germanic Mythology. 
Rowsell, T. 2011. Woden and his Roles in Anglo-Saxon Royal Genealogy. 
Schiffels, S., Haak, W., Paajanen, P. et al. Iron Age and Anglo-Saxon genomes from East England reveal British migration history. Nat Commun 7, 10408 (2016). 
Stenton, F. 1943. Anglo-Saxon England. Oxford. 
Werner, J. 1964. Herkuleskeule und Donar-Amulett. Jahrb. RGZM 11, 176–197.