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Music – Heilung . . . a Funky, Bronze Age Scandinavian Band

Music –  Heilung . . . a Funky, Bronze Age Scandinavian Band


In the British Isles, Scandinavia and northern Slavic countries, there has been a resurgence of interest in their ancient Pre-Roman Empire, Pre-Viking Period heritage.  In many ways, it is similar to what occurred in the late 20th century, when Americans of indigenous descent began dressing up like their ancestors, reconstituting federally-recognized tribes or forming state-recognized tribes.  Northern Europeans are even staging numerous pow-wows . . . well, there equivalent of a pow-pow.  The Sami Cultural Resurgence is part of this movement, but the Sami have associated themselves with Native American tribes and organizations.  The sponsor of their delegation to the Standing Rock Camp was none other than the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina.

Several bands have formed to play music rooted into Bronze Age or Iron Age traditions.  The best known of these is Heilung, which in Old English and modern Swedish would be written “Heiling” or “Helsing” and means “Saying Hello” in modern English.  The band is composed of Norwegian, Danish and Saxon members.  It bills itself as continuing Gamla Norsk or Old Norse music, but in fact, uses the musical instruments, costumes and symbolism of the Nordic Bronze Age . . . peoples, who looked like contemporary mixed-blood Native Americans.  The Germanic Scandinavians did not migrate northward until the Iron Age.

A shared Pan-North Atlantic Tradition 3,000 years ago?

Yupa Ahau – the Antlered Lord

Now, the symbols and costumes of that ancient time are what really puzzled me when I was working in the heartland of the Scandinavian Bronze Age.  One of my architectural history classes, two years earlier, had thoroughly studied Etowah Mounds with the assistance of professors Arthur Kelly, Lewis Larsen and Julian Harris.  I saw the same symbols and costumes in Swedish and Danish Bronze Age museums that I had seen at the Etowah Mounds museum.  It didn’t make any sense.

Let’s look at the logo of the People of One Fire.  It is a colorization of a style of shell gorget frequently found in the Lower Southeast.  Some forms have a butterfly or vulture feathers in the background rather than a chopped up snake.   The deer antler headdress is standard Scandinavian Bronze Age apparel.  The man’s gorget was and is standard apparel for the Sami.  The flint blade knife appeared in Scandinavia, Scotland and Ireland a little earlier than in Georgia.  It is hard to say where the sun symbol appeared first. The copper crown is identical to that worn by the Itza sun god and has no equivalent in European Bronze Age traditions.  His belt is also identical to the belts worn by the elite of all branches of the Mayas.

As you saw in Part Five of our YouTube Channel series on petroglyphs,  birdmen are portrayed, swinging around a timber pole at the Østfeld, Norway petroglyphs.  However, it is not known at this time if the scene occurred in Scandinavia or describes the experience of Bronze Age Nordic explorers in Mexico.

You can’t see it clearly on this image, but on the pubic guard of the Yupa Ahau, there is an abstract symbol, formed by intersecting horizontal and vertical lines. This symbol has puzzled me for years.  It is the Itsate Creek and Itza Maya glyph for mako (mekko in Muskogee) which means “great,” but evolved to mean “king.”  The symbol appears on many Proto-Creek gorgets and North Georgia petroglyphic boulders.  It also appears on Scandinavian petroglyphic boulders, but not in the British Isles. 

Bronze Age navigation expert, Don McMahan, explained to me earlier this week that the symbol was a navigation device, which calculated the positions of stars at a specific location.  So the figure pictured above, has earned his Pre-Columbian PhD in astronomy with a minor in navigation.

The Truth Is Out There Somewhere!


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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history. Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.



    Howdy, If memory serves, Prof Mahand (?) wrote about Etowah gorgets some thirty years ago. What stands out in my mind is that he mentioned bi-lobbed pieces identical to Etowah when he visited Indus Valley museums. Those books are not at hand right at this moment.

    • It could be. We are finding that during the Bronze Age, some peoples traveled vast distances.


    Hey Richard,
    WOW!!!! These guys are surreal! Besides the old school rock these are the best music videos you have posted!

    • Thank you . . . I try to expose readers to a variety of indigenous styles of music. Everybody has their own tastes. Guess, you have already figured out is that I am “working at” making our website and Youtube channel to become three dimensional and multi-media.


    I found and watched several of these videos after you posted the ladies singing in Sami the other day. You give people an exposure to the tastes and similarities between us. Enjoyable.

    • Thank you sir. I am just trying to expose readers to cultural activities that are not covered by the media in the United States.




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