Dinosaur Fountain Sculptures

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The centre piece of St. Mary’s square/park in Stockholm is a brass sculpture group in a fountain, sculpted by Anders Wissler and put in place in 1903. It depicts the god Thor at the moment when he’s fished the Midgard serpent up to the ocean surface and prepares to whack it in the head with his hammer. The serpent looks like a standard-issue Medieval dragon. But to either side of it are smaller lizard-like beasts that are clearly modelled after late-19th century palaeontology’s ideas about dinosaurs. One is a plesiosaur. The other one, I don’t know, but it’s got a cylindrical snout, crocodile teeth and snorts water through its nostrils.

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Comments

  1. #1 Fredrik Svanberg
    August 30, 2010

    Interesting! I have never realized plans for a study of “The Vikings in Stockholm”, meaning a survey of modern use. That wouldn´t qualify as archaeology even in my broad definition, but could be interesting still, I think. There´s just no end to it…

  2. #2 Sigmund
    August 30, 2010

    A plesiosaur is not a dinosaur.
    It’s an insect.
    OK, it’s not an insect, it was a type of ancient giant reptile that, like Ichthyosaurs and Pterosaurs, was not, in fact, a dinosaur. The other statue looks like a type of crocodile, another of the ancient giants – and the only one to have left ancestors.
    OK, biology lesson endeth.

  3. #3 Barn Owl
    August 30, 2010

    Perhaps it’s just the shadows, or the angle of the photo, but Thor appears to have some strange anatomy of the anterior thoracic and abdominal walls. Like the muscle attachments are a bit off.

  4. #4 Martin R
    August 30, 2010

    Fredrik, be careful, you may end up listening through the entire back catalogue of The Vikings band in search for prehistoric references…

    Thanks Sigmund, I didn’t know that!

  5. #5 Martin R
    August 30, 2010

    Owl, here are some more pix.

    http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tors_fiske

  6. #6 Sandgroper
    August 30, 2010

    Thor was lounging around on a cloud one day when he spied a beautiful naked young blonde maiden.

    So he zoomed down, grabbed her and, as we say in the Antipodes, rooted her. For a very long time.

    When he was finished, he felt like a bit of a cad, having screwed her with not so much as a personal introduction, so he said “Er, I’m Thor.” She grinned at him and said “Tho am I, but I’m thatithfied.”

    Having scrutinised the supplementary photos, I observe that Thor’s unusual abdominal arrangements are obviously a belt. Why you need a belt when you are wearing no trousers is one of those timeless mysteries. Something to hang your hammer on, I suppose.

  7. #7 Martin R
    August 30, 2010

    That’s his magic strength-enhancing belt.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megingj%C3%B6r%C3%B0

  8. #8 Sandgroper
    August 30, 2010

    Ah yes, so it is. Thanks. His megingjörð – don’t leave home without it.

  9. #9 Akhôrahil
    August 31, 2010

    What’s your opinion on archaelogy that interests a lot of people, but might be utilistically harmful? I’m thinking mostly of highly politicized issues like certain kinds of biblical archaelogy, or the attempts in Sweden to determina what peoples came to certain areas first (Sami or ‘Swedish’)?

  10. #10 Martin R
    August 31, 2010

    Good question! I think any archaeology that encourages people to identify politically with groups in the past is bad science. Two senior colleagues & buddies of mine have taken the witness stand in court cases about reindeer grazing rights in northern Sweden. They spoke for opposing sides, and both were in my opinion wrong. We should resist that kind of thing vociferously.

  11. #11 Akhôrahil
    September 1, 2010

    (Sorry, that should have gone to the other thread – resposting there.)