How to repair the Mistakes in Historical Scandinavian Labyrinths, Part 5

All that remains now are the last two enigmatic Icelandic labyrinths.
These are the drawings of two identical labyrinths from the National Museum of Reykjavik, NMI 3135 (Fig. 6) and NMI 5628 (Fig. 7) in the guest post by Richard Myers Shelton.

First I bring them into the geometrically correct form I am used to here.

NMI 3135
NMI 3135
NMI 5628
NMI 5628

The labyrinths look very similar. One is simply the other, each mirrored, so they are identical.

Both have 11 circuits and a larger center, but it is not possible to reach it. And there are only dead ends, but not all of them can be reached either. There is a branching for this, similar to the Wunderkreis.
The way via circuit 8 leads to 10 and ends here. The way via circuit 6 leads via 2 and 4 to 3 and ends there. I do not reach the end of 4 and 9 at all. The center can only be reached if I would make a hook directly after entering the labyrinth.

The thicker black lines (= the stone settings) form the uninterrupted line, Ariadne’s thread. But without any beginning or end, different from the Dritvík labyrinth. Presumably, the purpose of these labyrinths lies in the stone settings and not in the path between the lines, as we know it otherwise from all other labyrinths from this time and in this region?
But which one should it be? A prison for the spirits or trolls? A gateway to the underworld or the otherworld? A monument to a guardian spirit? For rituals or for magic?


Now my explanation: None of the above. Only the attempt to make once another labyrinth. One with 11 circuits, which are numerous in this region. Most of them are based on the extended seed pattern. But mathematically, there are over 1000 possibilities for an 11 circuit labyrinth, as Tony Phillips has calculated.

The sequence of circuits must always consist of a series of even and odd digits. And the entrance to the labyrinth must be on an odd circuit.
In addition, the four dead ends must be replaced. A boundary line may end here in each case, but not a path. So they become turning points.

Now my two suggestions for how the labyrinths could be redesigned:

11 circuit Classical labyrinth 7_5
11 circuit Classical labyrinth 7_5

First I drew an 11 circuit labyrinth according to the extended seed pattern with the cross, four double angles and four points (not shown here). I then numbered the circuits from the outside to the inside and then derived the sequence of circuits: 0-5-2-3-4-1-6-11-8-9-10-7-12. I read this backwards and thus got the sequence of circuits for the transposed labyrinth, namely: 0-7-10-9-8-11-6-1-4-3-2-5-12. With this again, I constructed the Knidos style labyrinth shown here. By the way, the complementary one looks exactly like this, because the basic labyrinth according to the seed pattern is self-dual.
So here, from the entrance, I first go to the 7th circuit and from the 5th circuit, I enter the center.
So we would have a complementary 11 circuit labyrinth in front of us, just like it was the attempt in the 15 circuit Borgo labyrinth.

The second proposal can be developed from a shifted seed pattern:

11 circuit Classical labyrinth 7_9
11 circuit Classical labyrinth 7_9

For this I take a cross, draw one angle at the top of each side and three angles at the bottom of each side. The points come again into the four corners (not shown here). The level sequence is then: 0-7-2-5-4-3-6-1-8-11-9-12. From this I construct the labyrinth shown here in the Knidos style.
The three other relatives of this labyrinth I get then with the methods described in detail in this blog by Andreas by counting backwards and supplementing the circuit sequences. This would give us again three additional new suggestions

However, since there are over 1000 other theoretical possibilities, we ultimately do not know what the authors of the Icelandic labyrinths had in mind and what ideas guided them.

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1 thought on “How to repair the Mistakes in Historical Scandinavian Labyrinths, Part 5

  1. Pingback: How to sort a Labyrinth Group | blogmymaze

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