1. KhalieLa

    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

    Sep 11, 2015
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    United States

    Referencing archaeological artifacts

    Discussion in 'Research' started by KhalieLa, Sep 24, 2015.

    I've been using a lot of references to Celtic/Germanic/Norse pantheons in my story and I'm comfortable with that because I figure the Gods are public domain. I've also been using a lot of archaeological references such as existence of burial mounds, the Amber Roads, etc. Some passages have been written in proto-Celtic (footnoted for readers who want to know what it says in English) and runes are included also.

    BUT--I want to make a specific reference to the Gundstrap Cauldron. Much of the imagery on it's panels fits well with my story. There is a lot of debate over the use and sources of the Gundstrap Cauldron and about the only thing scholars agree on is that it must have been a ceremonial object that may have been taken as plunder by viking raiders (possible down the Rhine) before eventually being lost in a Danish bog.

    The character I would like to claim made the cauldron is a silver-smith of Celtic origin, but left the Swiss-Bavarian basin and traveled down the Danube which would have brought him into contact with the Thracians and sheet sliver techniques. Much of his working life was spent in Olbia, on the Black Sea. I'm in my second book, and he has returned to his homeland, where I'd like to claim that the cauldron was made as a ceremonial object for a Druidess.

    Can you cannibalize actual archaeological artifacts and write them into a story? How does this sit with other authors and publishers?
  2. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

    Jul 5, 2010
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    California, US
    I don't know why not. How many thrillers are there based around archaeological artifacts? Raiders of the Lost Ark is based around the Ark of the Covenant. I've seen at least one piece of fiction that incorporates the Antikythera mechanism. Seems like authors like James Rollins, Douglas Preston, and Lincoln Child (among others) make a living out of that sort of thing.
    GoldenFeather likes this.
  3. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

    Aug 27, 2014
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    Until and unless Disney trademarks it, who else is going to sue you for anything?

    Assuming you use it as you intend. Then, in my story, I attribute it to an Irish silversmith who learnt his trade from an itinerant arab tribesman whilst travelling in Spain. The cauldron was stolen from Dun Laoghaire by a raiding party of Egyptians who were blown off course on their return journey, having discovered Mexico, and they are blown further off course to end up in Denmark, where they are slaughtered as illegal immigrants. What would you sue me for?
  4. Chinspinner

    Chinspinner Contributor Contributor

    Oct 15, 2011
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    London, now Auckland
    I tend to listen to The Proclaimers on repeat. Especially that 1,000 miles tune which is the greatest tune ever written.
  5. GoldenFeather

    GoldenFeather Active Member

    Aug 10, 2012
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    This. You can use any historical/factual thing you like. As long as you label your book fiction, it won't matter if you incorporate real things. We we all know it's for the story. And like the above poster said, some authors even make a living this way (I LOVE Rollins. Read all his stuff.)

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