Amber and Jet

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Amber and Jet

Postby spiral » 6:59 am

Amber is fossil resin, it's not mentioned in ME. In fact nobody seems interested, probably because of its obscure origins. A mysterious lost pine forest somewhere in the Baltic (or so we are led to believe). Apparently it gets washed up on beaches and rivers along the east coast.....

http://www.myambershop.com/The_Amber_Ro ... e_s/44.htm

http://trade-routes-resources.blogspot. ... outes.html.

A common area for finds is Hampshire, which leads those in the know to suggest one directional trade between the east and Hampshire.

In Denmark, amber is found primarily along the west coast of Jutland (Juteland)

Jet the so-called "black amber" is a a variety of lignite coal, you can shape it using sand and water, one form of polishing is by rubbing its surface with red ochre, a substance also related to jet.

So we have Amber in Hampshire.......
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Re: Amber and Jet

Postby hvered » 7:55 am

spiral wrote:Jet the so-called "black amber" is a a variety of lignite coal, you can shape it using sand and water, one form of polishing is by rubbing its surface with red ochre, a substance also related to jet.

I didn't know red ochre was needed in conjunction with jet. One of the places mentioned in TME is Whitby which was famous for its jet in Roman times. Jet production, a specialised process, may have been Whitby's mainstay.

Is amber a byproduct of pitch production? Pine resin seems to have been especially valued in a shipbuilding context.
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Re: Amber and Jet

Postby Mick Harper » 9:56 am

In fact nobody seems interested

This is not quite true since the entire Jurassic Park franchise is built on the findng of fossils in amber. This would appear to show that, whatever else it is, amber is not humanly made. How is jet 'black amber' since the two processes seem entirely distinct?

Red ochre is a very mysterious and very ancient (Red Lady of Paviland, Nova Scotia middens etc) substance. Everybody claims it is cosmetic ... but ....
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Re: Amber and Jet

Postby macausland » 12:00 pm

Red Ochre.

There's an interesting video on youtube, in French, about a volunteer association in the Ardeche who are repainting local villages with this pigment made from a mixture of flour, oil, water and the pigment.

It covers the processing of the yellow ochre and the process of heating it to turn it into red ochre.

The programme also shows inside the caves and the prehistoric paintings as well as a team of masons and students renovating the windows of an old building.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQ7ZVfawRCE

Regarding Whitby jet, until the early seventies there were several jet workers in the old town. I'm not sure if they're still there although jet is still sold. The combination of black jet, Bram Stoker seems to have inspired latter day 'Goths' who descend on the town in their hordes.
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Re: Amber and Jet

Postby Boreades » 10:05 pm

This is a lovely coincidence.

By chance, I was in Plymouth this weekend, and got talking to a Scottish lass who was keen on marine history. I assured her that since megalithic times, there has been a long and great tradition of marine trade all along the Western Atlantic fringe, from the Med to the Orkneys and beyond to Norway and the Baltic. Because sea routes were the best and safest trade routes etc etc.

But what did Scottish or Northern folks have available for trading by sea? Amber was a valuable commodity in the Med and one that Northern traders (north of known copper and tin sources) would have eagerly used to balance the trade. Along with whale and seal oil. For the lamps and beacons. Unless we have megalithic oil wells?

I wonder why accounts of folks like the Varangians fail to make much mention of what they were actually trading? (or controlling the trade of) - furs, honey, and slaves does not seem like much.

By the by, mention of the Varangian Guard is interesting:
"Composed primarily of Scandinavians for the first hundred years, the guard increasingly included Anglo-Saxons after the successful Norman Conquest of England. "
So some of those pesky Saxon mercenaries didn't hang around after the Normans invaded (after all), they upped sticks and found a new home for their mercenary skills.
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Re: Amber and Jet

Postby macausland » 11:53 pm

Amber:

It seems like amber was very valuable for its medicinal properties. It was also burned as an incense. Its magnetic qualities were also apparent. The Greeks called it elecktron.

There are suggestions that it could be polished to form a lens which could focus the sun's rays to start a fire.

A site dealing with its medicinal properties can be found here

http://gailfaithedwards.com/2010/12/11/ ... pplicable/

A comprehensive history of amber is contained in an American university report

http://www.euroamber.ca/brief_history_a ... _amber.pdf

Whitby still prides itself on its jet.

http://www.whitbyjet.co.uk/about-jet/history.html
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Re: Amber and Jet

Postby macausland » 5:13 pm

Amber exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh if anyone's interested.

http://www.nms.ac.uk/our_museums/nation ... amber.aspx
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Re: Amber and Jet

Postby Boreades » 9:05 pm

spiral wrote:Amber is fossil resin, it's not mentioned in ME ... A common area for finds is Hampshire, which leads those in the know to suggest one directional trade between the east and Hampshire..... So we have Amber in Hampshire.......


... but where in Hampshire?

I fancy a bit of TME Prospecting.

We could even get the old charabanc out of the pawn shop and call it the TME Summer Works Outing, with lashings of ice cream and soda pop.
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Re: Amber and Jet

Postby Boreades » 11:29 pm

spiral wrote:Amber ... A common area for finds is Hampshire


But where in Hampshire?
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Re: Amber and Jet

Postby Boreades » 11:37 pm

Just for Tisi, it's the Daily Mail again.

A modern day gold rush is taking place along the coast of a Russian town after a storm washed a small fortune in amber onto the beach. Amber is fossilized tree resin valued enormously for its colour and natural beauty since Neolithic times. It is treated as a gemstone and used in jewellery, but is also used as an ingredient in perfumes, and in traditional medicine.

Although it can be found all over the world more than 90 percent of the world’s amber is found along the Samland coast in the Russian Kaliningrad Oblast region, sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania.


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... shore.html
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