In May 2008, archaeologists from the University of Bristol, conducting excavations in the castle Château Gaillard (France), made a sensational discovery. At a depth of two meters was discovered complex iron objects, constitutes the protective armor of a warrior. Archaeologists have discovered a number of second burial, a well-preserved skeleton of a horse. In the excavation were also found coins Denier Tournois (frants.denier tournois - Tours denier) French type denarius minted by Philip II Augustus (1180-1223), as well as coin minting of the duchy of Aquitaine named Richard, suggesting that the results apply to armor the period of the reign of Richard I of England (1189-1199gg.). Château Gaillard was the favorite castle of King Richard. He did not spare him neither the means nor forces. They say that the King personally chose the site for its construction and actively participated in the development of the project. As conceived by Richard Château Gaillard was supposed to protect the British possessions in the north-western part of France, as Richard the Lionheart, being the English king, and carried the title of Duke of Normandy.
"At the chalk cliffs, resembles the shape of his spur, at the foot of which lies the town of Petit Andelys, stands the Château Gaillard,
reigning over the whole Upper Normandy. Just at this point Sen among obese grassland forms a wide bend, and Château Gaillard, as guardian, looking around her expanse of water for ten leagues up and down the river. By order of King Richard the Lionheart built it for two years, bypassing the contracts and in order to threaten the king of France from here. Seeing his creation, built on a cliff, sparkling white fresh masonry, surrounded by a double ring of fortifications, reconciliation bleed bars, loopholes, with thirteen towers and two-story main tower, Richard exclaimed: "What a merry castle!" - Hence the name of the Chateau -Gayar (Chateau-Gaillard - »cheerful lock & quot; (FF.)) & quot; describes the so-locking Maurice Druon in the" prisoner of Château Gaillard »
"My soldiers will take the castle, even if its walls are made of iron" - foretold the French King Philip II Augustus. "My soldiers will defend it, even if its walls are made out of oil" - defiantly replied King Richard the Lionheart.
Ten years later Philip II Augustus, along with other Norman lands robbed Richard and his favorite krepost.S since Château Gaillard has ceased to be a military fortress, it was turned into a royal prison.
Here crammed important state criminals. Moreover, for someone removed the drawbridge Château Gaillard, never destined to see the white light. & Quot; In 1314, the castle is a place of imprisonment of two daughters of the French king Philip IV the Fair, Marguerite and Blanche. During the Hundred Years War the castle was subjected to repeated sieges Gaillard. In 1417 it passed into the hands of the British after shestnadtsatimesyachnoy siege. Companion Jeanne D Arc captures it in 1429. But in 1430, the fortress again came under the rule of the British. In 1449, Charles VII Winner returns it to his possession. At the end of the last siege of Henry of Navarre was a royal decree ordered the destruction of the fortifications. Andelisa believers, "kapusiny" in 1603 and "Penitente" in 1610, obtained permission for the destruction of the castle. The collapse of the walls stopped in 1611, when "kapusiny" felt that they already ruined walls to cover the demand for stone.
In 1852, the castle ruins were found Gaillard historical monument of France. Multiple archaeological excavations carried out in the area from 1885 to 2000. In 2008, scientists from the University of Bristol, led by Professor John Williams, Dr. archeology, reached an agreement with the Government of France to resume excavation and, apparently, not in vain. Found burial was unique and attracted the attention of specialists from different countries: archaeologists, historians and even engineers.
Unusual in this discovery scientists seemed very location of fragments of iron armor. From above they looked like the outline of a bicycle.
What was the astonishment of archaeologists, when carefully managed to clear fragments extracted from the centuries-old layers of soil and Zoom. Without a doubt, these were parts lain in the ground for almost nine centuries knight bike!
"-This Is really a very unusual find - the head of the expedition, Professor of the University of Bristol, John Williams - a bicycle in the twelfth century, it is hard to believe, but in the course of excavations doubts about the authenticity of burial we did not have.
Well-preserved metal fragments, soon managed to explain. Spectral analysis of the samples showed the presence of residues of candle wax. Apparently, before burial ancient bicycle surface has been treated with molten wax, which is not allowed to destroy the metal corrosion process. Speaking of the metal.
More in Hallstatt in Europe were the basic skills of plastic processing iron, rare attempts to produce steel blades by carburizing and hardening iron. In the subsequent La Tene era was completely mastered the technology of making steel, vklyu¬chaya rather complex ways of obtaining welded parts with high quality surface resistant to abrasion.
Metallographic study of iron parts and microscopic examination of thin sections method allows us to say with confidence that the main elements of the design of this unusual medieval bicycle is made of steel. As can be seen, recipes for steel products with little or no significant changes have been through all of Roman times and has had an impact on the level of early medieval Europe kuznech¬nogo crafts. »
Gradually, the scientists were able to recreate the look unusual in the era of the Knights of the vehicle. Helped engineers designers Steve Berkeley and Andrew Hopkins arrived at the excavation of the Scientific and Technical Center at the University of Cambridge.
"When they called me and said that the excavation presumably the twelfth century found a similar design on a bicycle, I cried - incredible! - Steve says - if not the expedition leader, John Williams, whom I know very well, thought it would be an April Fool's joke. However, the fact remains - in the Château Gaillard really found a very rare "ancestor" of the modern bicycle. Helping archaeologists retrieve piece by piece, we are trying to Andrew on the spot in the drawings and diagrams to imagine the appearance and general construction sites bicycle, how it could turn and run. Frankly, we are gradually imbued with admiration and respect to the medieval inventor, invent and implement in those days such a complex technical project.
It is also interesting to understand the technology of manufacturing of each element of the Knight sipeda.
The frame is as easy as possible and has cloisonne structure like an airplane wing: steel bars running along the frame attached to the cross horseshoe plates. Outside frame sheathed elements of knight's armor, in particular, used bracers (Bracer) and Shoulders (Pauldron) fastened together round rivets. The front fork and rear part of the frame - one-piece and trimmed outside (Greav) greaves. Stem himself steering handles are made of swords. Part of the blades of swords (apparently degraded on the battlefields) were used as rigid profiles to enhance structural strength. Seat is secured using eight forged metal arcs, which served as a kind of shock absorber while driving. The decoration of the saddle leather and fabric used, the remains of which were found during excavations.
On the frame as the water reservoir has been fixed horn with metal lid.
Special attention deserve the wheels of this wonderful bike. To reduce jolting during movement, wound on the metal rim horsehair, then wrapped in circumferential bands of rough skin, and only then mounted in a wheel with an engraved pattern massive iron spokes and rim externally trimmed with metal plates, which can move relative to each other during travel. Wheels reliably protected "enclosures-wings" made of parts cuirasses and plate gloves.
How could move this "two-wheeled crew»?
Says Andrew Hopkins:
- In the excavation found two metal disks with pointed teeth on the edges. One disc was excavated in an area of the rear wheel. The second disc is found in the vicinity of the bottom of the frame with a handle attached to it a sword (probably an ancient prototype of a rod) with metal parts reminiscent in mind pedal. Between the disks found the remains of a chain with decorative overlays. We can assume that we are faced with the first example of the transmission mechanism of chain transfer, applied in medieval Europe. Although the chain drive is known to people long ago, Geron first used such mechanisms to move the scenery in the Athenian theater. Still amazing how could medieval masters embody such a mechanism in the metal in the twelfth century.
A twelfth century whether it?
According to scientists, on this score, divided.
- Coins can get into the excavation by chance during excavation, - the archeology professor Justin Pierre, representative of the French Academy of Sciences, who participated in the excavations at the Chateau Gayar.- I, as an expert in knightly weapons, I think that part of the breastplate (Cuirass) , bracers (Bracer), Plate Gloves (Gauntlet) and gauntlets (Mitten Gauntlet), which were used in the manufacture of this is certainly an outstanding finds belong to the second half of the fifteenth century, but it does not have the twelfth and Italian origin. In some parts of the armor found stigma master Milanese armor school Missaglia dynasty. And most importantly: X-ray structure analysis of metal fragments breastplate revealed a structure almost identical to the Milanese armor manufactured in the same period of time. & Quot;
Here is a quote from the directory on the Knight Armaments:
«Milanese armour -« Milanese armor. " Italian full armor of the XV century, a contemporary Gothic armor, differs from it in a more rounded shape and less grooved details. Mainly produced in Milan and Venice »
Scientists argue about the details of the discovery, but none of them questioned the sensationalism of the findings.
Location bicycle in the Middle Ages?
To answer this question, we arrived at the site known worldwide specialist in the history of the bicycle, Dr. Peter Godward (Pieter Godward) with historical and archaeological faculty at Cardiff University.
& Quot; Bicycle - more ancient invention of human civilization than we think. - Says Peter Godward - sensational discovery in the Château Gaillard confirms the results of years of research scientists of our university. Back in 1962 the whole world had spread the news of the discovery of a unique French archaeologists in the territory of Versailles. Then, during the excavation, allowed the Government of France, in one of the wells was detected side gallery, which led to a vast underground palace, where among other things was found a bicycle. Bike soon received the name "Sun King" in honor of King Louis XIV.
While unexpected finding has caused a lot of controversy among archaeologists and historians, many considered it a forgery.
Discussions have reached and our university. Then in 1962, having familiarized with the materials of the excavations at Versailles, we decided to engage seriously in "cycling" issue. And even set up an international research center dedicated to this issue, which brought together like-minded scientists from several leading universities in the world. Over the years, we have collected information in the archives, communicate with collectors, participated in archaeological and ethnographic expeditions, studied historical documents, works of art and literature. Spent much time in the reserves and funds the largest museums in the world. And everywhere we wanted one - a bicycle.
In 1986, we were called by a representative of the world-famous art collector, co-founder of the auction house «Sotbyes», Andrea Kastillesa.
Mr. Kastilles, road racing cyclist in the past, the participant Giro d'Italia (ital.Giro d`Italia) 1951goda and "Tour de France» (Tour de France) in 1955, turned out to be a passionate collector of everything that is connected with the bike. He kindly invited us to visit, promising to show something amazing.
What we saw exceeded our wildest fantasies.
We all know the famous Italian artist Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510gg.), Author of many masterpieces, including "Spring" (1478g.) And "Birth of Venus" (1484-1486gg.). From 1492 CE to c 1500. Botticelli creates a grand series of drawings of illustrations to the "Divine Comedy" by Dante. Drawings made metal pin on large sheets of parchment. Almost all of them circled the pen. Each song is dedicated to a single figure. Some drawings to the "Paradise" is not finished, and to HHH1 song "Purgatory" Wizard perform two variants of drawing. One of these two figures is in the collection of Andrea Kastillesa.
In this illustration, describing the apocalyptic vision on the sides of the sacred tuple driven seven angels, we see biblical animals: the eagle, the winged bull, winged lion and angelic man with a book. In the wagon drawn by Beatrice sitting griffin.
"Dvukolaya, between the four beasts
Winning wagon stood,
And harnessed Griffin walked in front of her. »
(Dante's "Divine Comedy", "Purgatory" ch.XXXI)
- Pay attention to the figure of a man in the bottom of the illustration, welcomes the process - explains Mr. Kastilles - that you see next to him? This - BIKE!
Shaken, we bent over yellowed parchment and began carefully looking at the image.
Meanwhile, in the room already is rolled on a special cart konteyner.Ego massive front wall was made of thick glass. Behind the glass, we saw small picture where color was portrayed bike is very similar to the one we just looked at the illustration to the "Divine Comedy»
& Quot; - This is a very rare work by Botticelli, - said Andrea, - yes, no doubt, this is not a fake! You, as a scientist, I would say: a comparative analysis of spectral and chemical composition of tempera paint, soil, and even wood fibers, this and other works by Botticelli, Portrait "St. Augustine" (1495g.). The compositions are identical. By the way, the background "St. Augustine" and this picture is very similar. Apparently Botticelli created both products at the same time. In the originality of the decor of this, obviously, the female version of the bike can be seen due to earlier masterpieces "Birth of Venus". Critics found that during the life of Botticelli this "portrait of a bicycle" has not found acceptance among the audience. Contemporaries apparently did not realize that in this picture. For me as a mystery: how come Botticelli to doing so the work of this unusual? Why bike is clearly a female? And where does the "Divine Comedy"? Beatrice bike? You - the scientists, you look for answers ...
Soon after his death the painting was completely forgotten for a long time kept in the State Museum in Berlin, disappeared during World War II and I came across by chance, but that's another story ...
-I Have something else, follow me - Andrea Kastilles, exchanged sixth decade, respectable gentleman, an aristocrat, slyly, youthful, smiling. Apparently, the main surprise was ahead.
We followed his master, crossed the courtyard of a family castle (Andrea Kastilles, lives on the family estate and is proud of its knightly roots) and the stone steps up to the round tower. Inside the medieval tower has undergone major reconstruction and was turned into a modern multi-tiered exhibition space with a unique and thoughtful lighting supply of each piece.
- This Holbein, the same Hans Holbein the Younger. (It. Hans Holbein, 1497-1543) painter and draftsman, one of the greatest German artists of the Renaissance, an outstanding portraitist, court painter of Henry VIII, - Andrea brought us to one of the niches. - You see the work in 1540. In the same year he wrote the famous portrait of Henry, now stored in the Roman National Gallery. They are somewhat similar ...
We were shocked and stopped dead - in the picture with frightening certainty was depicted brutal type of two-wheeled miracle!
- Bicycle reincarnation of Henry the Eighth, - I blurted out.
- And again a mystery that you have to solve. The same bike we meet at one of the earlier drawings Galbeyna - Andrea pointed to a glass case next to the corner, there were a few yellowed leaves