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Old 19th February 2007, 08:30 PM   #31
Yanyeidi
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Default Native American Graves Protection & Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) 1990

NAGPRA allows for the return of human remains, objects looted from graves, and objects needed and used in ongoing ceremonies, and objects sold or otherwise removed that are communal property and not individually owned.

The Killer Whale Dagger was known as a "slave killer", but it was bragged about as having "never shed any blood." When a slave was brought out to be killed in the name of something this dagger would be pointed at the slave and a thrusting motion made. If the slave wasn't released, "it" would be killed with another dagger called "goox du een", a double ended dagger.

We have no idea how many slaves were put to death by this one dagger. To the family, it is priceless. When the caretaker sold it, it caused a rift in the family for many years.

Khaa dachxhan, a grandchild is usually called to carry the dagger in during our ceremonies, one whose paternal grandfather is from the clan that owns the dagger. Care is made never to point the dagger at anyone and to keep the tip covered.

At times of dispute the caretaker may flash the tip at someone he has a disagreement with,.."to get the point across" that the person is out of order. I've only seen this done once.

As for the Bear Dagger of the Teikhweidi clan, it was probably looted by the U.S. Navy during the shelling and sacking of the village of Angoon on October 18, 1882 in which six children died, all the canoes but one were destroyed, and all the winter supplies burned along with the houses. Several stories of this can be read by typing in these details in search fields.

One old man remembered his grandmother talking about this dagger-- his grandmother as a young woman had survived the bombardment but she didn't know what happened to the dagger afterwards.

Both daggers are back in ceremonial use. Today, they are pointed at the property to be given away as "it is killed." They are back where they belong, with life back in them, in a living culture.
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Old 19th February 2007, 08:38 PM   #32
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Wonderful information. The British museum has a lot of NW artifacts collected by Capt Cook. The Gun boat diplomacy is most fascinating to hear of. Are modern versions created?
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Old 19th February 2007, 09:19 PM   #33
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Thanks for that detailed and fascinating history Yanyeidi. As you have revealled, sometimes these sacred artifacts are actually sold by the natives themselves, but as community property this not through consent of the tribe, but the through the greed of a single individual.
Tim, my use of the word European was merely to make a distinction between the Indians and the invaders. I merely meant people of European descent. Not just Americans, but also Canadians had a hand in the affairs of NWC indians. Neither was particularly more sympathetic or understanding of native ways and culture.
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Old 19th February 2007, 09:51 PM   #34
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The return of cultural properties to the people that own them are not unique to native North Americans. In 1978 Canada signed the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property act. Essentially this means any signing member countrys can buy back any cultural artifacts if they were illegally removed. So by all means Fenris try to get back your claymore.

Lets face it as nice as that dagger would look on my wall, I would rather it be where Yanyeidi has placed it.

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Old 25th February 2007, 11:54 PM   #35
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Default Angoon bombardment

Oops, that should read October 26, 1882.

October 18 is "Alaska Day'-- when Alaska celebrates the purchase of Alaska from Russia-- actually all they owned was inside the stockade at Sitka as they were scared to death of the Tlingits, and only sold trading rights with that small piece of real estate; somehow the U.S. thought they bought the whole territory!
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Old 26th February 2007, 03:33 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yanyeidi
somehow the U.S. thought they bought the whole territory!


Don't even mention the pan handle

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Old 26th February 2007, 03:35 PM   #37
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THIS TYPE OF DAGGER AS WELL AS MASKS AND DAGGERS FROM THOSE TRIBES HAVE BEEN MADE AND FAKED FOR QUITE A LONG TIME EVER SINCE THERE WAS A MARKET AND DEMAND FOR THEM BY COLLECTORS. AS WITH ANYTHING THAT BRINGS THE BIG MONEY AT A BIG NAME ETHINOGRAPHIC AUCTION SOME GOOD REPLICA/ FAKES SOON SHOW UP. I HAVE SEEN THE DAGGERS ,RATTLES,MASKS AND CLUBS AT FLEA MARKETS AND GUN SHOWS FOR YEARS . THE QUALITY VARRIES BUT IS USUALLY GOOD AND THE PRICES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN TOO HIGH FOR ME. THERE ARE SOME REAL ONES AROUND AS WELL BUT YOU REALLY HAVE TO KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING TO BUY SAFELY AS THE FAKES CAN BE VERY GOOD AND YOU CAN LOOSE A LOT OF MONEY QUICKLY.

I THINK IF A MUSEUM HAS A REAL TRIBAL DAGGER THAT THE TRIBE WOULD LIKE TO HAVE BACK FOR TRIBAL CEREMONYS OR ANY REASON EXCEPT RESALE OR DESTRUCTION THEY SHOULD HAVE A REPLICA MADE FOR THEIR MUSEUM DISPLAY AND GIVE THE ORIGINAL TO THE TRIBE. THAT WAY EVERYONE CAN BE HAPPY AND AS SO MANY THINGS ON DISPLAY IN MUSEUMS ARE REPLICAS OF THE ORIGINAL WHICH IS IN STORAGE SOMEWHERE ELSE SAFER IT SHOULD NOT MATTER.

SOME OF THE OBJECTS ARE STILL MADE BY ACTUAL DESENDANTS OF THE TRIBE AND ARE ACTUALLY USED IN SOME CEREMONYS AND SOME ARE MADE TO BE SOLD AS HIGH END ART. THERE ARE ALSO OBJECTS WHICH I SUSPECT ARE MADE IN OTHER PLACES BY NON TRIBAL PEOPLE THAT APPEAR ON EBAY AT PRICES EVEN I CAN AFFORD AND THE QUALITY IS NOT BAD SO AT LEAST I HAVE A FEW EXAMPLES OF THE TYPE. ITS KIND OF LIKE BUYING A PLASTIC DINOSAUR TO DISPLAY WITH YOUR REAL FOSSIL TOOTH OR BONE BUT REAL DINO'S ARE HARD TO COME BY THESE DAYS
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Old 27th February 2007, 03:53 AM   #38
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Hello,

Yanyeidi, the ritual involving Keet Gwalaa sounds a lot like the talismanic properties attributed to some Indonesian keris - almost word for word - I'm sure some members here will recognize this. It's fascinating how such similar beliefs evolved in such far appart places. I totally agree with Tim's view, I don't see why native American cultures couldn't have reached the same functional conclusions reached by Europeans.
Magnificent works, these! I will look up the first nations collection at the ROM.

Regards,
Emanuel
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Old 27th February 2007, 04:17 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manolo
Yanyeidi, the ritual involving Keet Gwalaa sounds a lot like the talismanic properties attributed to some Indonesian keris - almost word for word - I'm sure some members here will recognize this. It's fascinating how such similar beliefs evolved in such far appart places.


Hi Emmanuel. I would very much appreciate if you would expand upon this and give actual examples of keris rituals which are the similar to the description for this Tlingit dagger.
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Old 27th February 2007, 04:52 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manolo
Hello,

...a lot like the talismanic properties attributed to some Indonesian keris...


Hi David!

I didn't write specifically keris rituals, but there were similar powers attributed to certain keris: one could kill a man simply by pointing the keris at them. I do not recall where I've read these specific words, but I can certainly look it up and post the reference.
Further comparison may be made via the need to keep the dagger hidden or covered - this is true for revered pusaka, no?

In both cases, the talismanic object is dagger-shaped, holds great power of life and death, and is extremely important to his/its owner/tribe.

I will read up on the Tlingit, but I wonder whether copper had a particular magical/powerful significance - in the same vein as the keris pamor I mean.

All the best,
Emanuel
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Old 1st March 2007, 06:31 PM   #41
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The term "pointing the bone" to deliver harm comes to mind. When I get my PC running as normal I will post a picture of an Australian tribesmen doing just this.
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Old 5th March 2007, 11:24 AM   #42
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"Point The Bone" and bone pointing sticks.
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Old 3rd December 2010, 08:42 PM   #43
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Ref Meteoric Iron - the Cape York Meteorite from Greenland was used by the locals to make tools:

"The 407-kilogram (897-pound) fragment of Cape York known as the Dog was extensively hammered by Inuit workersójust like the fragment called the Woman, which was found about 30 meters (100 feet) away. Both of these fragments were hammered much more than Ahnighito; experts are not entirely sure why.

According to arctic explorer Robert Peary, who located the three fragments of Cape York now on display in this hall, native Greenlanders recounted a story that these meteorites were once a sewing woman and her dog who were cast from heaven by an evil spirit. Ahnighito was the tent that sheltered them. Some people have speculated that this story may have been invented for Peary's benefit.

HAMMERING AWAY
Although iron meteorites are incredibly hard, the Inuit people successfully chipped off pieces of the fragment known as the Woman using hammerstones made of basalt. The iron was then used to make tools such as knives and harpoons.

When explorer Robert Peary located the Woman in 1894 with the help of an Inuit guide, some 10,000 hammerstones were scattered around the three-ton meteorite. Over the years, Inuit people had carried these basalt stones to the area from far away because the rocks found naturally around the Woman were too soft to break iron."

link: http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/per...at/capeyork.php

The theory is that once one tribe had mastered the art of cold working an iron rich meteor the knowledge spread acroos the whole of their territory from Alaska to Greenland - many meteors can be found in the Artic tundra regions...

10,000 hammer stones is a lot of hammering - and potentially a lot of tools or weapons...

31 tonnes is a lot of iron...

link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_York_meteorite

And don't forget the Vikings reached the Americas about 500 years before the official discovery - they had iron and steel tools and the technology of making them - they had established colonies in Greenland by 1000 AD.... and co-existed with the local Inuit for several centuries
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Old 4th December 2010, 02:01 AM   #44
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hi Billman,

Good to see this again. It's more detail than I noted back in entry #13 or so.

Since we're updating this thread, I think I've got an answer for why the Andeans never got to iron metallurgy. While I think it's possible to smelt iron at high altitude, I'm pretty sure that the Andeans weren't able to make a fire hot enough to smelt iron ore.

There's an interesting, unexplored thread here about the development of progressively hotter fires as a prerequisite for working different metals. Copper needs a hotter fire than gold, bronze hotter than copper, and iron hotter than bronze, etc (up to the current metal-glasses of the last few decades).

Some of this pyrotechnology can be appropriated from potters (a kiln for porcelain is a lot hotter than one for terra cotta. But if a society hasn't developed things like bellows and charcoal (or coke) for fuel, forging iron isn't going to be possible either.

I don't have a lot of data or examples on this, but it's worth exploring. I'm looking for examples of bronze-aged porcelain, and Iron Age people who only made low-fire clay pots. Any thoughts?

Best,

F

Best,

F
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Old 4th December 2010, 02:34 AM   #45
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There was limited iron working and blacksmith in the 18th Century, at least in the SE United States. I know of one tomahawk forged by a Chickasaw in the 1760s (apparently the British taught several Chickasaws how to forge).

As for potlatches, I would definitely defer to Yanyeidi, but I will note that gift giving is very much a part of Native American culture. People are always giving away at powwows, ceremonials etc. I always like to point out that on occasions when white people get gifts (birthdays, graduations etc) Indians give gifts.
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Old 4th December 2010, 07:40 AM   #46
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Default Northwest Coast Metal work

Here's some info on the early metal smiths: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=12353
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Old 4th December 2010, 06:21 PM   #47
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Wood burning kilns can reach temperatures of 1300 degrees Celsius with natural draft, but require dry timber, preferably hardwood, and often several days to reach this. Wood firing can thus be used for smelting non ferrous metals, and is are hot enough for porcelain. However, to reach temperatures high enough for iron and steel wood is not sufficient, and it needs to be converted to charcoal.

Additionally most charcoal forges or furnaces require forced draft to reach temperatures hot enough to reduce iron ore (typically 1900 degrees C at the bottom, 1300 degrees C at the top), and the additional carbon that is present in charcoal to aid the reduction process.

I guess also at high altitudes there is a need for much greater volumes of air than at sea level. Iron furnaces were present in the French Alps at heights from 500 to 1000m, but the Andes have an average height of over 4000m.
Large volumes of air require some form of mecahnical blower - bellows or fan, and a power source, e.g. water wheel - so most iron and steel works were situated at the lower end of valleys with a good flow of water.

Small pot bellows, as used in the African furnaces can be used to smelt small ingots of iron, enough for one or two blades - but again the fuel is charcoal, not wood.

Iron working tends also to a result of a stable population, not a migrant community as much of North America indian populations were - they tended to pack up their tents and follow the herds of bison - so I guess this explains why it was never developed there, and the Inuit only used meteroric iron...

The stable societies of the central and south Americas, e.g. Maya amd Inca, did have metal working as demonstrated by their gold objects - but it would appear they never progressed to iron smelting. Question - did they have the knowledge of charcoal making?? This may have been a significant limiting factor......
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Old 4th December 2010, 07:26 PM   #48
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According to this Study, to smelt metal on the altiplano, the Spanish had to adopt an indigenous method of channeling the wind into the furnace, since bellows didn't work. I think they did that on Sri Lanka as well? The problem is that most of the metals they were smelting were copper and silver from the mines. From what I've been able to find, bronze technology developed by around 1000 CE in the Andes. It's hard to tell how common bronze production was, but the Inkans did use iron bolts to hold some of their stones together, so it wasn't too rare.

Archeologists think the Precolumbian andean peoples used charcoal and possibly coal as fuels (link). However, the literature is annoying, because the archeologists refer to burned wood in digs as charcoal, and that makes searching for references a bit harder.

So I guess iron smelting would have been possible, but the Andean peoples never got to it. Just one of those things: prior to Columbus, there were more people living in the high Andes than there are now, so I suspect they simply had other priorities, and lots of tough rocks lying around, free for the taking, when they wanted to hit each other with something hard.

Best,

F

Last edited by fearn : 4th December 2010 at 08:19 PM.
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Old 4th December 2010, 08:16 PM   #49
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Not being qualifed this forum gives us ordinary folk a mouth piece. I do not see why small amounts of iron crossed the Bering striaghts long before Columbus and the modern historical notion of Russia. One can research cross Bering trade for other commoderties.
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Old 4th December 2010, 08:20 PM   #50
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More on Andean metallurgy, not that you asked (UT-Dallas lecture link).

As for trade across the Bering Strait, I'd need to know more about what the Yakuts were using, since I'm pretty ignorant about that part of the world.

Best,

F
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Old 4th December 2010, 08:30 PM   #51
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Fearn, it seems an odd cut off if these peoples did not trade across the Bering Sea. They most have encounterd iron.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chukchi_people
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Old 5th December 2010, 02:27 PM   #52
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It's good to be able to hypothesise on the site.... Apparently about 60,000 tons of meteorite debris hit the earth each year.... mostly dust and rock, and over 2/3 of the earth is sea - but some will be iron or nickel iron that will fall onto the land. Heavy rocks, like the diorite hammerstones of Egypt, used to carve out the granite obelisks, are found sitting on the surface of desert regions - the lighter sands blow away, leaving the heavier rocks behind. It is thus highly probable that meteoric iron can be found in desolate spots such as the Atacama Desert of Peru, high in the Andes, or the tundra regions of the Arctic, where the hard ground prevents penetration of small meterorites. Meteoric iron was used by the ancient Egyptians, who also had the technology to smelt non ferrous metals and create alloys such as bronze, but never smelted iron.

One way of splitting hard rocks into smaller usable fragments is to heat in a fire and quench in cold water - it is not a large step to imagine ancient peoples trying to break 'rocks' of meteoric iron by this method, and failing - but in the process gaining a new material.

Once discovered any supply of such 'naturally occuring' iron would soon be exploited, and probably quickly exhausted - leaving little trace of its presence, apart from the few tools and weapons that still exist.... Equally no traces of slags from iron production would remain, so to all intent and purpose there is no evidence of iron working.. Ultimately, with no more raw materials, the knowledge and skills would disappear... c.f. Damascas steel c1700 when wootz, the source of raw material from India, dried up

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damascus_steel

Natural draft furnaces can get very hot, and with the addition of a chimney the draft can be enhanced, so if they had charcoal it is possible that ancient civilisations could melt relatively pure nodules of iron. Smelting of iron ores requires higher temperatures, as the impurities raise the melting point - which is why in the manufacture of wrought iron the bloom containing the slag never reached melting point, but had to have the impurities removed by hammering...

http://www.oldeforester.com/ironintr.htm

Yes speculation, but it could explain some of the anomolies of iron or steel objects turning up where there was no evidence to support local manufacture...

Last edited by Billman : 5th December 2010 at 08:46 PM.
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Old 23rd December 2010, 02:29 AM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fearn
More on Andean metallurgy, not that you asked (UT-Dallas lecture link).

As for trade across the Bering Strait, I'd need to know more about what the Yakuts were using, since I'm pretty ignorant about that part of the world.

Best,

F


well yakuts have been using steel for a long time and had long bladed weapons swords and pole weapons , metal armor ect...

but they only came recently to such a distant area i think the 1500s, time russians were exploring through the area. a little before maybe... their homeland was further south ,,
their metal working is siberian, but siberia has a long history of metal working,, and all tribes understood it to some degree , some in an advanced level others much less. ,. although some isloated groups used till quite recent stone and bone a lot due to its abundance,, you need mines for metals for regular trade and if you dont there is free things also like stones,
is suspect the Eskimos ancestors came from Siberia with prior metal working knowledge.. as they havent been in north america longer than metal has been used by their folk on the russian side of the water.
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Old 23rd December 2010, 09:54 AM   #54
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Still the possibility of a certain amount of early trade is not a silly idea.
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Old 23rd December 2010, 08:01 PM   #55
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The best book I've found on this is Ancient People of the Arctic by Robert McGhee. The settlement of the Arctic goes back to 2500 BCE or earlier (Independence culture), and the modern Eskimo spread out of the Alaskan area around 1000 CE. The nice thing about Arctic archeology is that (until climate change does its thing) stuff rarely changes. McGhee shows pictures of artifacts, old campfire rings, and the like, that are over 1000 years old.

The Arctic has been repeopled at least three times from the west (depending on where and how you count repeopling), and there's pretty good evidence that various groups have lost technology that their Siberian ancestors had each time.

One example is the bow. The archeological record pretty strongly indicates that the bow spread out of Siberia, that the Labrador Indians picked it up from the paleo-eskimos around 2000 BCE, and that archery technology spread south and west from Labrador to the rest of the Americas. This comes from dating the switch from spear-points to arrowheads, from noting that the earliest Indian arrowheads known (in Labrador) look like poor copies of the older paleo-eskimo arrowheads to the north, and from noting that arrowheads made out of Ramah chalcedony (a distinctive Labrador stone that works really nicely) were found south to New England and west to Ontario soon thereafter.

However, the widespread Dorset culture (which was replaced by the Eskimos by around 1000 CE) lost the skills of archery that their ancestors undoubtedly had.

The problem with living in the Arctic is that population densities are low, and if a disaster hits a small band of people, it can wipe out the only people who know how to do something. In recent times, this phenomenon was documented among polar Eskimos. One band lost the ability to make bows and kayaks, when all the experts died of the flu.

Rambling story, but it illustrates why iron-working never took hold among the eskimo. There were too few, and they probably couldn't have made a forge if they'd known how (what would they use for fuel?). There may have been trade for Siberian iron tools, but there's no evidence, and the Arctic is a pretty good place to look for such evidence. Even with the groups that used meteoric iron, I haven't found a good picture of one of their blades. Apparently the archeological evidence consists of tool handles missing blades, with rust spots in the permafrost showing where the meteoric blade rusted away.

Hope this clarifies things a bit.

F
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Old 24th December 2010, 04:53 PM   #56
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One great thing about forums such as these is that they allow pepole to contribute to a common theme from a wide variety of perspectives and experiences - people that in the normal way of life would never meet. Long may they, and this particular forum, continue...

Happy New Year to all from the UK...
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