Thursday, February 23, 2012

Every story has a beginning V

Almost a month later, I’m back with the latest update in my series ‘Every story has a beginning’. As you can imagine, I’ve been working night and day gathering data for the project. Not long to go now! I’m also waiting for an appointment to visit the Norwegian government’s Science and Research Commission. That’s where we want to submit the results of our work. Hopefully we’ll win a grant and the institutional backing we need to take the final step. The step we’ve dreamed of taking for many years...

Marine sponge in the Cave of Niflheim, close to Odin's Keel.

But before we get onto that, I need to finish the story of how this adventure began. After our initial discovery, we managed to stop the Nordic Communications project while we documented the site where we found the remains.

We would have liked to stay there for longer, but the company put pressure on us to continue along the planned route. We marked the Niflheim Cave to ensure it was avoided when the underwater cable was laid. All our attempts to convince the NTNU that the discovery was of great importance fell on deaf ears. We were strictly ordered to finish the Nordic Communications project. However, they did say that the samples and data we had collected would be studied on our return. A decision would be made then about whether or not an expedition would be launched to study the remains.

On board we only had a basic microscope to examine the samples recovered from the Niflheim Cave.
Before leaving the zone we managed to recover small fragments of what we began to call Odin’s Keel. We didn’t have suitable equipment on board to study it in depth, only a small microscope. Even so, initial observations of these fragments fired our imaginations. Although we weren’t exactly sure how old they were, they appeared to be very, very old. What was more, we couldn’t determine their chemical composition. Odin’s Keel seemed to be made from a combination of an unknown metal and reinforced wood, the like of which we’d never seen before.

It’s hard to describe how frustrated Olve, Geir and I felt when we had to leave our discovery behind. By starting to work on it, we had exposed it to the changing conditions of the ocean and even if we could come back, there was no guarantee that the remains might not have deteriorated in the meantime. But we had no choice. We had to be patient, continue with the cabling tests and wait until we returned to the NTNU where the samples could be examined using better quality equipment. The carbon dating test was particularly important as it would determine the age of the remains.

We didn’t return until 12 July 2000, over a month after we had left. We returned filled with excitement at finally being able to research our great discovery properly. No one could have anticipated what the carbon dating test would reveal...

That’s all for today, I’ll continue soon but I’m afraid I have much to do. Thank you for your support and loyalty, as always.

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