Weapons For The Gods

The Ferdinandeum (our provincial museum) is hosting an exhibit of early sacrificial offerings found in and around the Alps for military purposes (g*).

This is evidently something that people did over millennia — gave up offerings of weaponry and other war accessories for battles won, enemies routed or eliminated. The museum stresses that one not only can learn about the conquerors but also about the conquered by the qualities of their weapons.
The exhibit includes many artifacts recovered from Fliess, depots of bronze helmets, shields, swords and daggers, stone axes, Roman figurines. There are also some items on loan from the National Museum of Slovenia, recovered by this man, whose mission in the last several years has been to save the Ljubljanica River’s tens of thousands of treasure from diving treasure hunters and rich collectors. Moreover, that sword in his hand (or one very much like it) might be in the exhibit.
The time frame spans from early pre-historic stone items through the Celtic ages and into the Roman occupation, as the Romans did this as well.

* If you click on this link and then download the pdf “Rahmenprogramm” at the bottom, there is some additional information available in English and Italian.

>An Outing To Inning

>A day trip to Inning am Ammersee. Which is very pretty indeed. Above, Inning’s historical claim to fame, I guess. “On November 15th, 1021, Emperor Henry II passed through Inning with 60,000 men, on the way to Italy, and he spent the night here.” Take that, George Washington.
Inning’s other claim to fame, if can be seen as that, is that TV personality Thomas Gottshalk used to live here. His brother still does, we were told.
But for us, the nicest thing about Inning was it’s proximity (minutes away) from Lake Ammer. The boat landing area has some nice Biergartens and the like, but doesn’t look as built-up and chic-touristy as, say, Starnberg.

We then hopped back in the car and drove over to the next lake over, the Wörthsee. This lake is smaller, and has much less lakeside development, no ferry service, and the clearest water I have ever seen (see photo above.) This lake and it’s smaller neighbor, the Pilsensee, belong to some local aristocrat who decided not allow recreational diving in his lakes — so that’s out, leider.



A few weekends ago I was given the opportunity to hang around a group of divers from the Bavarian Society for Underwater Archaeology as they “unearthed” an Iron Age logboat from the lake bed of Starnberger See. The boat had been discovered by divers a few years ago and had been transported over to a municipal boathouse, where it was left untouched until recent construction plans forced it to be taken elsewhere. Below is a photo of the boat as it was found this month, filled with sediment and trash brought in on the waves. Only the prow of the nine-foot-long logboat is visible.

The first thing the divers had to do was set up a gas-powered water pump, with which they spent hours (until dusk on Saturday) vacuuming out the sediment from inside and around the boat, so that it could be moved.
The next morning, more divers showed up, and the heavy lifting commenced (literally; the logboat, underwater for over a thousand years, weighed like a rock now.)

>Geisterschiff Pt.2

>The divers were pretty laid back about my presence there, and didn’t even mind when I donned snorkel gear and went into the water to get some better pictures (one of them even asked that I take some more!) I was careful to stay out of their way as they were working.

Below, the logboat has been pulled up out of the lake bed and fastened to a pontoon raft.It is important that it stay in the water, since with exposure to the air it would begin to decay.

The logboat, securely attached to the pontoon, was hauled away at a slow, careful speed to an archaeological site across the lake, near Kempfenhausen. There, in protected waters, it was lowered onto the lake bed and wrapped in a protective tarp, like a body in a burial shroud. A plexiglass plaque was attached to it, and it’s location fixed with GPS for future research.

What an honor to have been allowed to observe this project! Many thanks for that to Marcus, the team leader, and to the beau for the use of his underwater camera (and for use of his photos at the protected site.)

>Reschensee (Lago di Resia): II

I was looking — unsuccessfully — for an image of the actual village on the internet for the post below. Today I found (buried among other papers, of course) a postcard that we picked up when we had visited the area, which shows photographs of Graun before the dam was built. The 14th-century bell tower is easily recognizable in the top right and bottom left photos (also in the top left photo but I was unable to get a clear image from photographing a postcard.)

Things like this — ghost towns, abandoned railroads, sunken villages — fascinate us, don’t they? I find myself particularly fascinated by what one finds under the water’s surface. The rivers and lakes of Europe have claimed millennia of artifacts, from pre-historic jewelry to medieval swords, and on through to Third Reich memorabilia. This online article (update: sorry, link now dead)  about diving for artifacts in the Salzkammergut region gives one a good idea of what’s down there.

Update: Divers have left reports online that one may dive (with permission from the municipality) but that there is nothing to see below the surface — the tower stands in about 2 meters of mud, and so the old streets, etc., are completely covered.

>”St. Nicholas Dive” in Bavaria

My beau and I took part in a dive in Starnberger See last weekend, in which I got to try out a dry suit in the cold, cold lake. The water was 5° Celsius, the weather was crappy, my face and hands (in neoprene gloves) were numb from the cold, but you know what, I had a great time. I managed a 20 minute look-around (there is really nothing there but sand and grass, and a few stumps), before emerging and being treated to hot Glühwein, Grillwürstchen and good company.
One particular thing which I enjoy about diving; once I’m underwater, I forget about everything else that’s going on in my life. I begin to live completely in the moment, and as I’m still a novice diver, being underwater becomes a real test of second-by-second concentration: steady breathing, maintaining a stable buoyancy, pressure equalization, not kicking up sediment, responding to my buddy, steady breathing, maintaining a stable buoyancy, pressure equalization, not kicking up sediment….it’s still an endless cycle of “working at it” for me, of high concentration. My beau, a much more experienced diver, compares this living-in-the-moment to the “flow” in which one finds oneself during an exceptionally beautiful passage of music. It’s a bliss, a euphoria, a way of feeling at one with yourself and with the world. That’s him in the photo, on the right. He’s just been made Divemaster, and I am very proud of him!