The treasure was found during the archeological excavation of a Viking Age settlement in Viggbyholm, Täby, in an area thought to have been inhabited between about 400 AD, through the Viking Age (800–1050 AD), and into the early Middle Ages. The archeologists have found more than 20 houses and buildings at the site.
“This is something you probably only experience once in a lifetime”, said Maria Lingström at The Archaeologists, National Historical Museums, in Sweden, in a press release.
Archeologists at the dig found the coin buried under what was once the wooden floor in a building, with silver coins stored in a pouch made of linen, which, together with the jewellery, was stored in a small ceramic pot.
“When I started to carefully remove the neck rings one by one, I had this extraordinary feeling of ‘they just keep coming and coming’,” Lingström said.
In total there were eight high quality torque-style neck rings, two arm rings, one ring, two pearls and 12 coin pendants (coins used as jewellery) in the pot.
The archaeologist John Hamilton said it remained unclear why people had buried some of their most valuable objects underground in this case.
“One common interpretation is that people hid and buried their treasures in difficult and tumultuous times,” he said. “We have yet to see if that was the case here.”
The coins are yet more evidence of the extensive trading relations which flourished in Viking Age Scandinavia. There are coins in the pouch from England, Bohemia and Bavaria, as well as five Arabic coins called dirhams.
One of the European coins is extremely rare and was minted in the city of Rouen, in Normandy, France.
Bruce Willis’s daughter Tallulah: ‘While I was wrapped up in my body dysmorphia, my dad was quietly struggling’ | Culture
Bruch Willis’s family announced in March 2022 that the actor suffered from aphasia, a brain disease that affects speech, which has forced him to abandon his Hollywood career. A year later, his loved ones publicly shared that the symptom is a characteristic of the frontotemporal dementia that the actor suffers, a progressive neurological disorder that causes his cognition and behavior to decay day after day, as his daughter Tallulah Willis relates in a text she wrote for Vogue. “I’ve known that something was wrong for a long time,” says the youngest of the actor’s three daughters with Demi Moore. “It started out with a kind of vague unresponsiveness,” writes Tallulah, also an actress. “Later that unresponsiveness broadened, and I sometimes took it personally. He had had two babies with my stepmother, Emma Heming Willis, and I thought he’d lost interest in me.”
Tallulah opens up in the text, admitting that she has “met Bruce’s decline in recent years with a share of avoidance and denial” that she isn’t proud of. “The truth is that I was too sick myself to handle it,” she explains, enumerating the disorders she has experienced throughout her life, including anorexia, depression and ADHD. “While I was wrapped up in my body dysmorphia, flaunting it on Instagram, my dad was quietly struggling. All kinds of cognitive testing was being conducted, but we didn’t have an acronym yet,” she writes in the magazine, remembering the first time that the actor’s illness “hit [her] painfully.” “I was at a wedding in the summer of 2021 on Martha’s Vineyard, and the bride’s father made a moving speech. Suddenly I realized that I would never get that moment, my dad speaking about me in adulthood at my wedding. It was devastating. I left the dinner table, stepped outside, and wept in the bushes,” confesses Tallulah, who last June broke off her engagement with film director Dillon Buss.
After going to a series of rehab centers and trying different therapies to treat her eating disorders and mental illness, the youngest member of the Willis-Moore family believes she now has the tools to be present in all aspects of her life, “especially in my relationship with my dad.” “In the past I was so afraid of being destroyed by sadness, but finally I feel that I can show up and be relied upon,” she writes.
Now, she confesses that she takes “tons of photos” whenever she goes to Bruce’s house — ‘I’m like an archaeologist, searching for treasure in stuff that I never used to pay much attention to” — and that she saves his voice messages on a hard drive. “I’m trying to document, to build a record for the day when he isn’t there to remind me of him and of us,” she explains.
Beyond her father’s state of health, Tallulah also speaks honestly about the difficulties of growing up in a famous family, “struggling to find a patch of light through the long shadows” of her parents. As she writes, her world changed when she was 11 years old after attending an event in New York with her mother, Demi Moore, and Moore’s then-partner, the actor Ashton Kutcher. “I felt awfully grown-up and was very pleased with myself — and I wanted to see if my outfit had made the party pages of any of the style websites. So I opened my laptop and went to the usual places (this was the heyday of Perez Hilton; celebrity kids were fair game), and there I was in my tweenage awkwardness, standing beside my famously beautiful mom. Then I found my way to the comments, hundreds of them, the words just burning off the screen. ‘Wow, she looks deformed. Look at her man jaw — she’s like an ugly version of her dad. Her mother must be so disappointed.’ I remember how deadly silent the room was. I sat reading for two hours, believing that I had stumbled onto a truth about myself that no one had told me because they were trying to protect me. And for years afterward, protecting people right back, I told no one. I just lived with the silent certainty of my own ugliness,” she wrote.
Even so, the actress also recalls the good memories she has with her family, like the recent birth of her niece Louetta, the daughter of her sister Rumer, who has made grandparents of Moore and Willis, for 11 years the most famous couple in film. “There’s this little creature changing by the hour, and there’s this thing happening with my dad that can shift so quickly and unpredictably. It feels like a unique and special time in my family, and I’m just so glad to be here for it,” she says. Lately, her father can be found on the first floor of his home, somewhere in the open space of the kitchen, living room and dining room, or in his office. “Thankfully, dementia has not affected his mobility,” she writes. The advantage of frontotemporal dementia, compared to Alzheimers, she explains, is that it is characterized by lack of language rather than memory loss. “He still knows who I am and lights up when I enter the room,” she writes.
The actor’s third daughter speaks of her father in both the present and past tense: “He was cool and charming and slick and stylish and sweet and a little wacky — and I embrace all that. Those are the genes I inherited from him.” She is reluctant to let go of the hope that she still has in her father. “I’ve always recognized elements of his personality in me,” she says, “and I just know that we’d be such good friends if only there were more time.”
On second thought, it is funny: Comedians and philosophers find common ground | Culture
Humor can open doors to new worlds and new ways of thinking. This is true now, as it was true before: contrary to popular belief, philosophers have used and studied laughter for centuries. “Philosophy was created as a response to ancient tragedy, and has many connections with the comic,” explains Lydia Amir, professor of Philosophy at Tel Aviv University. In books like Philosophy, Humor, and the Human Condition: Taking Ridicule Seriously (2019) and Humor and the Good Life in Modern Philosophy (2015), Amir uncovers a largely forgotten philosophical lineage, in which Socrates poisons himself to mock his executioners, and Plato, famous for expelling comedians from the Republic, defines true comedy as that which unmasks one’s own ignorance.
Along Amir’s guided journey, we learn that Aristotle considered the proper use of laughter a social virtue, and catalogued true wit as the hallmark of a free and honorable person; that the Cynics wandered the streets in broad daylight, holding out a lantern to “search for an honest man;” and that Epicurus advised us to laugh, philosophize and take care of our home, all at the same time.
During the Renaissance, Erasmus wrote a book of jokes. And for Montaigne — who claimed that absurdity was “a uniformly distributed property” — humor allows us to contemplate matters under a new light, which in turn can help us understand how all things have different aspects and different shades. For his part, Spinoza saw in laughter a careful attempt, not to mock, but to understand human passions; while Kant described it as “an affect resulting from the sudden transformation of a heightened expectation into nothing.”
According to Amir, the gradual split between philosophy and humor occurred when the former became increasingly enclosed in the confines of the academy, and as a discipline, opted for rationality and a focus on analytical clarity. “Humor is, in essence, ambiguous, and that’s why we chose to leave laughter aside when it came to philosophizing,” Amir explained, in a telephone interview with EL PAÍS.
Now, however, academia appears to be opening its doors to humor. This spring, the Complutense University of Madrid, the Panamerican University in Mexico City, and the University of Kent in England have all hosted academic gatherings on the topic of philosophy and humor. “Traditionally, laughter was considered a matter of popular interest — like emotions: far from the purity of philosophy — but now the discipline is starting to come down off that pedestal,” explains Javier Vilanova, professor of Logic and Theoretical Philosophy at the Complutense University. “The old intellectual prejudice against humor is giving way to an interest in its cognitive and pedagogical strategies, in how we might learn to think through philosophical laughter,” adds Saleta de Salvador Agra, a professor in Philosophy of Language at the same university.
The initiative has been well received by students — an unsurprising development, considering humor’s unique power as a tool of communication, and also, perhaps, given the popularity of the figure of the comedian, who, as Vilanova puts it, analyzes everyday life and takes contradictions to “to the point of absurdity and collapse.”
The success of stand-up comedy offers a good example of Vilanova’s point: A person with a microphone, on a stage, who in a kind of collective catharsis can make an audience laugh using a dose of crude anti-establishment criticism, and poking fun at the everyday miseries of human existence. George Carlin, a star of the genre, used to say that comedy is the popular exploration of truth. Spanish comedian Ignatius Farray tends to agree: “The three fields that focus on searching for truth are philosophy, comedy and crime novels, but, as Socrates knew, and as his method teaches, truth can only be called truth when it emerges out of cooperative dialogue.”
For Farray, author of Meditaciones (2022), the public pays for admission to a stand-up show so that they can peer into the abyss and listen to a comedian say out loud the things we often dare not face ourselves. A bit like philosophers who seek knowledge in solitude. In that space, we are pushed to go “a little past our limits, to find new spaces of freedom, to do the dirty work,” he says.
During that encounter, issues that challenge us as a community can be laid out on the table, like when the Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby spoke about the brutal violence she suffered in her homeland for being a lesbian: “I took everything I knew about comedy, cut it up, and created a monster from that corpse,” she told EL PAÍS’s Jaime Rubio Hancock.
With merciless humor, comedians can show us how we are being racist without knowing it, why we never learn from our mistakes, or how to face death. As Farray does, when he points to the “unresolved existential tension” between him and death, and jokes that on his tombstone he plans to write, “I could see it coming,” and that to trick death, just before that fatal hour, he plans to “play dead” so that death will hesitate, as if to say: “Do I have the wrong guy? Am I shaking the same hand twice?”
I read Kierkegaard
For years, the Spanish comedic duo Faemino and Cansado have made audiences erupt in laughter with their celebrated skit: “Qué va, qué va, qué va, yo leo a Kierkegaard (”Hey now, come on, I read Kierkegaard!”). The refrain gets at something deeper than a good laugh. As the Danish philosopher once wrote: “When I was young, I forgot how to laugh… when I was older, I opened my eyes and beheld reality, at which I began to laugh, and since then, I have not stopped laughing.”
For Kierkegaard, the tragic and the comic are ultimately the same thing: a contradiction. While the former is painful, however, the latter is an incongruity seen in perspective and, therefore, painless. In this way, the person who views something with a sense of humor can find a way out: the person is aware of the contradiction, and doesn’t know what to do about it, but is also no longer tormented by it.
Along these same lines, Amir proposes an ethics of compassion through humor: her thesis is that in human beings, all desires contradict each other, and are incongruent with reality, which leads to a tragic situation where we react with complete rigidity. The comic sensibility, on the other hand, knows how to see and live with duality and contradiction. “Realizing this irresolvable incoherence can bring us peace,” says Amir, who invites us all to adopt a self-reflective posture, by ridiculing ourselves (“but gently, and with forgiveness”). A form of salvation — precarious, holy — just within our reach.
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