Monthly Archives: June 2015


Fireflies light up the Midsummer night. This is just one of many amazing photos of fireflies taken by the Japanese photographer Yuki Karo. You can find them on his photo blog here

In the Balkans, fireflies come out around the time of the summer solstice. South Slavic words for firefly are “svitac”, “svitnjak”, “svijetnjak”, “svitaljka”, “cvitnjak”, “kris”, “krijes”, “kres”, “kresnica”…These are also the names used for fires and torches which are lit up on the shortest night of the year, as part of the Slavic summer solstice celebrations…

Happy Summer Solstice

Panning Gold Equipment

Panning fine gold concentrates by hand is difficult and tedious, however, when set up and operated properly, the Blue Bowl can recover Gold as fine as talcum powder!

This Concentrator Kit weighs about 5 pounds and includes the Blue Bowl, leg levelers for using on a 5 gallon bucket, 1/4 ounce plastic vial for displaying your gold, 750 gallon per hour 12 volt pump, three feet of 3/4 inch flex hose, a pair of battery clips, and how-to instructions.

    Concentrator Kit includes the Blue Bowl, 3 plastic leg levelers, 1/4 ounce plastic vial for storing your gold, 750 gallon per hour 12 volt pump, 3 feet of 3/4 inch flex hose, pair of battery clips, and instructions.
    The Blue Bowl Gold Concentrator is completely portable and will quickly remove your fine gold from your concentrates. It is designed to work forever, with no moving parts to wear out or break.
    Pre-screen your concentrates to at least 30-mesh using a classifier before adding to your Blue Bowl.
    To recover micro-fines, prescreen the concentrates using a 50 or 100 mesh classifier.
READ MORE >>> Blue Bowl Concentrator Kit with Pump, Leg Levelers, Vial – Gold Mining Equipment

Gold Panning Machine Speed Up Your Gold Processing Work

Kit includes: Mountain Goat Trommel, Desert Fox Automatic Gold Panning Machine (w/ speed control), and Trommel Transefer Kit. Speed up your gold processing work and increase gold recovery with the Mountain Goat Gold Trommel. This machine is aptly named because it can eat almost anything and is light enough to carry up a mountain! The Mountain Goat Trommel is a reverse helix system built on the same principle as the huge mining trommels used by large mining companies all over the world, but this is light and portable. It is not to be confused with gravel pit trommels, though, which are designed to classify gravels.
The reverse helix system came from the Archimedes Screw Pump invented over 2,000 years ago by the mathematician Archimedes. Someone discovered that the pump brought up GOLD along with the water they were pumping out of the Nile river! The Mountain Goat is very efficient because the spiral riffles inside of the tube turn and bring the heavy materials up to the high end of the tube while allowing the lighter materials to flow out of the back of the tube as tailings. This system makes the trommel self-cleaning, which eliminates the need to break down for clean-up as is necessary with sluice box type equipment. Recover 50 times MORE GOLD with the Desert Fox Automatic Gold Panning Machine! With the Desert Fox, you can work concentrates down much faster. Not only will your speed increase, your gold recovery and efficiency will improve by a factor of 50. That’s not a misprint! You will recover 50 times more gold with the Desert Fox than working by hand with a gold pan. More gold, less time, and a lot less work. And with the new proprietary variable speed model, you can adjust for maximum gold recovery no matter what type of material you are panning.

Furnace Set Melting Oven Kit Set for Melting Gold Silver Copper Precious Metals

New Kwik Kiln Propane Melting chamber Set 21A Designed to melt around 2-5 ounces of Gold. This Kwik Kiln set can be used with Silver, Copper, Aluminum, Brass and other precious metals. The Kwik Kiln uses 2 propane or MAPP gas bottles (Not Included).
Kiln Dimensions – Outer – 4″ (101mm) Dia. x 4″ (101mm) Height Inner – 1.756″ (44mm) Dia. x 1.53″ (39mm) Depth Wall Thickness 1.15″(30mm) Kiln Set Includes – 1 – Kiwk Kiln 1 pair of 13″ Long Heat Resistant Gloves 1 – 1 oz Gold Graphite Ingot Mold 1 – 5/16″ x 12″ Graphite Stir Rod 1 – 4 oz Borax Casting Flux 1 – Set of Tongs 2 – Graphite Crucibles (Holds up to 6 oz of Gold Each) Propane Bottles not included This unit is portable – Take it with you and melt up to 5 ounces of gold! Designed for Jewelers, Metalsmiths and Refiners

Small And Portable Gold Smelting Cupelling Kit

Looking for a small and portable kiln that can melt up to an ounce of clean placer gold out in the field or at home? The Kwik Kiln Cupelling Kit is a portable propane-fired kiln designed to do just that.
Kit includes: 3.5″ tall x 4″ in dia kiln, 4 premium bone ash cupels, stainless steel mini tongs, instructions •


The Kwik Kiln is 3.5″ tall x 4″ in diameter and consists of a 1″ base layer and 1.5″ kiln chamber – all wrapped in a stainless steel jacket to keep it together. The lid is 1″ thick.


The chamber has two different size chamber pieces, one of which is beveled, configured for cupelling. Two torches are needed to create the swirling heat effect (see photo). Can be used to perform scorification assays in the field, too.


Propane bottles and nozzles NOT included. NOTE: This cupelling kiln is for cupelling the lead prill after doing a fire assay. Cupels absorb lead in the prill. Cupels are not to be used like a crucible.

Furnace Metals Melting Portable

      Furnace Metals Melting portable The Hybrid Metals Melting Kiln is a small and portable combination furnace for both cupelling or melting pure metals. This Hybrid Kiln Kit supplies you with everything you need (except propane torches) to melt 1 to 5 oz of gold or scrap metals (1 to 3 ounces capacity for silver). At only 3 pounds, you can take it to the field with you and melt placer gold. It consists of a 1″ base layer and 1.5″ kiln chamber – all wrapped in a stainless steel jacket to keep it together. The lid is 1″ thick. The alumina silica refractory material is good for up to 2300 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the material reaches the targeted melting temperatures, the refractory material will shrink approximately 5% which will create small cracks in the material when it cools. However, cracking is not detrimental to the operation of the kiln or the life expectancy of the kiln. Two torches are needed to create the swirling heat effect (see photo). Can be used to perform scorification assays in the field, too. Hybrid Metals Melting Kiln Kit includes: Kiln, 4 premium bone ash cupels, 2 mini graphite crucibles, 2 oz gold (1 oz silver) graphite loaf mold, stainless steel mini tongs for cupels, 6 inch scissor tongs (not pictured), 3 ounces of melting flux, Instructions for both cupelling and melting * Propane bottles and nozzles not included * NOTE FROM MANUFACTURER: The Kwik Kiln is designed to be heated with 2 pencil tip PROPANE torches simultaneously. Manufacturer will not warranty any Kwik Kiln heated too high, improperly, or in a manner that goes against its design. This includes using other types of torches, or using Mapp gas, which gives off more heat. Use propane only. This kiln ships via Priority Mail. Please be sure to provide an address where you receive US Mail.


Handbook of Flotation Reagents: Chemistry, Theory and Practice

      Handbook of Flotation Reagents: Chemistry, Theory and Practice is a condensed form of the fundamental knowledge of chemical reagents commonly used in flotation and is addressed to the researchers and plant metallurgists who employ these reagents. This book consists of three distinct parts: part 1 provides detailed description of the chemistry used in mineral processing industry; part 2 describes theoretical aspects of the action of flotation reagents, while part 3 provides information on the use of reagents in over 100 operating plants treating Cu, Cu/Zn, Cu/Pb, Zn, Pb/Zn/Ag, Cu/Ni and Ni ores.

    Looks at the theoretical aspects of flotation reagents
    Examines the practical aspects of using chemical reagents in operating plants
    Provides guidelines for researchers and engineers involved in process design and development

       Provides a valuable tool for mineral technologists and metallurgical engineers working in mineral separation plants, researchers in mineral processing and university students.Handbook of Flotation Reagents: Chemistry, Theory and Practice provides a condensed form of the fundamental knowledge of chemical reagents commonly used in flotation addressing the researchers and plant metallurgists who employ these reagents. This series of books consists of three distinct parts: Volume 1 provides detailed description of the surface and colloid chemistry principles involved in the mineral processing industry and the flotation of sulphide minerals; Volume 2 describes the flotation of Gold, PGM and oxide minerals, while Volume 3 provides information on the use of reagents in over 100 operating plants treating industrial and oxidic minerals. Written in a clear, easy-to-follow format and including multiple instances of data from innovative technology, Handbook of Flotation Reagents: Chemistry, Theory and Practice is an indispensable reference for any professional working with flotation reagents.


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Jewelry Crucible Clay 80 Oz. Capacity-4″ Diameter

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Gold Smelting Cupelling Kit – Gold Mining Equipment

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Desert Fox Single Speed Panning Machine

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Donnybrook fair

I live in Donnybrook, across from Donnybrook church. This area is today considered to be one of the nicest parts of Dublin. But this was not always the case.

Until 1866, Donnybrook was the place where a notorious Donnybrook Fair was held every year in August.

This is a picture of Donnybrook Fair painted by Erskine Nicol in 1859.  

The official history of the fair says that it was established in the year 1204, when King John of England granted a licence to the corporation of Dublin to hold an eight-day fair in Donnybrook. In 1252 the duration was extended to fifteen days. Over the years the terms of holding the fair changed slightly, until in the 18th century it was held on 26 August on Donnybrook Green for a fortnight (14 days). But I believe that this was probably just an official recognition of the already existing Lughnasadh fair. Several other Lughnasadh fairs still survive in Ireland, like the Puck Fair which takes place in Killorglin on the 10th of August, County Kerry and the Ould Lammas Fair which takes place in Ballycastle, Co. Antrim on the last Monday and Tuesday in August. There is also the legendary Fair of Tailtiu (Oenach Tailten) which held  in the area of Teltown, and which was the principal fair of the Ui Neill confederation of dynasties and their vassal tribes. 

These fairs had been officially established as an occasion to trade cattle, but also as a chance for people to meet, eat, drink, have fun and broker marriages. Similar fairs are still held at the beginning of August (Lughnasadh) by the Serbs in the Balkans. I wrote about them in this article.

Donnybrook fair must have been the king of Lughnasadh fairs in Ireland. It was very popular and immensely crowded. According to the reports it attracted thousands of people and was chaotic and loud affair. The sounds of drums, bells, toy trumpets, fiddles, bagpipes and singing added to the pandemonium. In 1778 one writer writing for Freeman’s Journal, complained on the 31 August of 1778 about the effects of the Donnybrook Fair: 

How irksome it was to friends of the industry and well-being of Society to hear that upwards of 50,000 persons visited the fair on the previous Sunday, and returned to the city like intoxicated savages.” 

By the beginning of the 19th century the fair had become more a site of public entertainment, drinking and fighting than a fair of any description. Folklorist Estyn Evans provides in his book “Irish Folk Ways” an 1845 account of Dublin’s “infamous Donnybrook Fair” which appeared in The Parliamentary Gazetteer: 

“During the week, beginning on the 26th August, is held the notorious Donnybrook Fair, professedly for the sale of horses and black cattle, but really for vulgar dissipation, and formerly for criminal outrage and the most revolting debauchery. It was for generations a perfect prodigy of moral horrors – a concentration of disgrace upon, not Ireland alone, but civilized Europe. It far surpassed all other fairs in the multitude and grossness of its disgusting incidents of vice; and, in general, it exhibited such continuous scenes of riot, bloodshed, debauchery, and brutality, as only the coarsest taste and the most hardened heart could witness without painful emotion.’ This was by day; ‘the orgies of the night may better be imagined than described.” 

Fighting was one of the chief characteristics of Donnybrook Fair. Fights often broke out between two people, and soon the onlookers became involved. To this day, the phrase ‘Donnybrook Fair’ is used to describe scenes of chaos and confusion. The Oxford English Dictionary  defines a donnybrook as “a scene of uproar and disorder; a riotous or uproarious meeting; a heated argument.”

This sketch is by a man called Samuel Lover and is featured in Weston St. John Joyce’s book The Neighbourhood of Dublin. The sketch depicts a brawl at the infamous Donnybrook Fair. 


You can see in the drawing that a wide variety of weapons and ammunition are being used by the participants with the knobsticks being the most widely used one. You can read about knobsticks in this article.

The fair was certainly popular among the ordinary people, but from the early nineteenth century onwards, there was a concerted effort by both the Church and State to bring about its demise. Attempts to ban the fair were made in the early decades of the nineteenth century, but it was not until 1850 and the death of the license holder John Madden, that any real success was achieved. In 1855, John Madden’s sister Ellen sold the rights to hold the fair for £3,000 to Father Nolan and his association, which had led the campaign against the fair. The fair was sill held until 1866, because Joseph Dillon, the nephew of John Madden and owner of the fair ground, refused to stop organising it, claiming that it was his right as the owner of the fair grounds to do what ever he wanted on it. However in 1866 the new Catholic Church in Donnybrook opened on the south bank of the River Dodder, overlooking the fair grounds. It was dedicated to the Sacred Heart in order to atone for the sins of Donnybrook Fair. It was dedicated by Dr. Paul Cullen, the Cardinal Archbishop. 

The church was officially opened on Sunday 26th August, the same day as the fair. This was the message to all that the god had officially arrived to Donnybrook and that he was watching you. So no more messin’ or you’ll be going straight to hell. Two years later, Donnybrook fair was closed for good…


On the way to town today I passed by the Greek embassy. I looked at the sign on the wall and saw that the Greek word for embassy was “πρεσβεία” pronounced “presvia”. The Greek word for the consulate was “προξενείο” pronounced “proksenio”. When I came home I looked these words up in the etymological dictionaries. Then I started looking into the history of diplomacy. What I discovered was very interesting and surprising. But it also opened huge number of questions about what we think we know about the late Bronze Age and early Iron Age Balkan history. 

The word πρεσβεία is an ancient Greek word. You can see all the occurrences of this word in classical texts here.

The Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says that the word “πρεσβεία” means “age, dignity, right of the first born, the business normally entrusted to elders, spec. the office of an ambassador, an embassy”.

What is interesting is that this word has no known etymology.

I would like here to propose a potential etymology. 

If we look at all the meanings of this word we can see that they all have the same root meaning:

Age (old age) – Born before all others.
Dignity – the state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect. Being honored and respected before all others.
Right of the first born – Having rights for being born before all others.
The business normally entrusted to elders – The business entrusted to the ones who were born before all others.
Ambassador – The representative of all of us in the enemy camp. The one who goes to the enemy before all others.

All the meanings of the word “πρεσβεία” pronounced “presvia”,  are related to the concept of being “before all others”.

In Archaic South Slavic dialects “before all others” is “pre svija” = “before all (others)” = first, oldest,  advanced, representative. Also the expression “pre sve (svi) ja” means “before all me (I am)” = I am before all others. These South Slavic expressions produce all possible meanings of the Ancient Greek word “πρεσβεία”. This means that this word is most likely a borrowing from Slavic languages into Ancient Greek. Except that according to the official history and linguistics this is not possible. According to the official history and linguistics there is no way that Ancient Greeks could have been in contact with anyone speaking Slavic languages at the time when this word, or more precisely this expression, was recorded for the fist time, which is well before the 5th century BC. So how did the Greeks acquire this word and from whom? Who spoke Slavic languages in early Iron Age Balkans?

One other thing.

The article entitled “History of Diplomacy” from Encyclopedia Britannica says this about Ancient Greek diplomacy:

Greek diplomacy begins with the city-states, where diplomats were sent for specific negotiations and would return after their mission concluded. The earliest evidence of Greek diplomacy can be found in Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and Sparta, which was actively forming alliances in the mid-6th century BCE, and by 500 BCE it had created the Peloponnesian League.

Greek diplomacy took many forms, both historical and mythological. Heralds were the first diplomats sent on short-term visits to other city-states whose policies they sought to influence. They were protected by the Gods with an immunity that other envoys lacked and their protector was Hermes, son of Zeus and associated with all diplomacy. Interestingly, Hermes was also known as the protector of travelers and thieves due to his persuasiveness and eloquence but also for knavery, shiftiness, and dishonesty, imparting to diplomacy a reputation that its practitioners still try to live down.

So it was the elders that were sent as diplomatic representatives and their protector was Hermes, the messenger of Zeus. Do you remember the knobstick, the staff carried by the elders from my knobstick article

Now have a look at the staff carried by Hermes. It is represented in two ways.

Like this:

Or like this:

Does it remind you of the knobstick the symbol of the Elders?

It was the elders who were sent as ambassadors, messengers, the same elders who carried knobsticks as signs of their authority. It is then quite possible that these knobstick carrying elders were the inspiration for the anthropomorphic representation of Hermes, the divine ambassador, messenger of Zeus.

Questions questions questions….

The article entitled “History of Diplomacy” from Encyclopedia Britannica also says this about Ancient Greek diplomacy:

Commercial relations in ancient Greece were instead conducted on a continuous basis by an arrangement, or proxeni, where by the citizen of the city-state represented the economic interest of another city-state. A Proxenos, the citizen involved in the activity of proxeni, would use whatever influence he had in his own city to promote policies of friendship or alliance with the city he represented. Although proxeni initially represented one Greek city-state in another, Herodotus, in his famed work History, indicates that there were Greek consuls in Egypt in about 550 BCE. Commercial conventions, conferences, treaties, and alliances became common and in 4th century BCE, and for a period of 25 years there were eight Greco-Persian congresses, where even the smallest states had the right to be heard.

The Greek word “προξενη” pronounced proxeni means consul, but literally it means “among the foreigners”, It comes from the Ancient Greek word “ξένος” meaning foreigner. 

The Greek word ξένος (pronounced ksénos) means: of parties giving or receiving hospitality: host and much more commonly guest, stranger, one who is hired: hired worker, mercenary, foreigner. The word is an Ancient Greek word first attested in the 5th century BC. The official etymology says that this word comes from ξένϝος, from Proto-Indo-European *gʰóstis (“guest, stranger”), whence also Proto-Germanic *gastiz, Proto-Slavic *gostь, Italic: *ɣostis. I agree the the Germanic, Slavic and Italic words come from the same root meaning guest which probably comes from the root *gʰes- (“to eat”) from which we have Sanskrit ghasati and Slavic jesti. But I believe that the Greek word ξένος comes from a completely different root. 

The article entitled “History of Diplomacy” from Encyclopedia Britannica also says that: 

“the earliest diplomatic negotiations occured during the time of the earliest tribal societies which had to negotiate marriage, trade and hunting rights.” 

This is a very important piece of information. In patriarchal tribal societies marrying within the clan was strictly forbidden. Therefore the women had to be brought from outside of the tribe. These women were either stolen in so called “wolf raids” or marriage agreements were made between friendly tribes which allowed men from one tribe to take women from the other tribe and vice versa. In The Balkans this tradition still persists in rural areas. Where I come from in South of Serbia, the men from the villages from our side of the river always married women from the villages from the other side of the river, where people were “not of our tribe”. People who were “not of our tribe” were not us and were therefore foreigners. And it was among the foreigners that men looked for women to become their wives. But it was not the young men who were sent to the foreigner’s village to negotiate the marriage deals. It was the elders. They were sent to the foreign tribes to negotiate acquiring of women for their sons or grandsons, which is still the case in many parts of the world where the family, clan or tribe elders are still sent to negotiate these types of deals even today. Theses tribal elders probably carried with them their knobsticks, as symbols of their power. Is this why the knobstick is the stick carried by Hermes, the protector of messengers and diplomats?

I believe that this association between foreign and getting a woman to marry her was strong enough to give us the Greek word for a foreigner “ξένος”. 

I lived in Greece for a year. One thing that I noticed was that Greeks were unable to pronounce Slavic harsh consonants like “ž” which is the first sound in the Slavic word “žena” meaning both woman and wife. The word “žena” is an ancient word which comes from the Indoeuropean root gʷḗn

If we look at the words which are derived from this root we see that all the words are split into three groups: 

dj, ž,s group (all the words for woman, wife start with dj, ž or s sound) 

Slavic: *žena
Proto-Indo-Iranian: *ǰanH- (pronounced žan or djan)
Sanskrit: जनि (jani)
Avestan: (jə̄ni), (jaini), (jąni)
Baluchi: جن (jan)
Kurdish: jin / жьн / ژن
Middle Persian: NYŠE / zn’ (zan)
Persian: زن (zan)
Ossetic: зӕнӕг (zænæg, “children, offspring”)
Pashto: جنۍ (jinëy)
Tocharian A: śäṃ
Tocharian B: śana

k,g group (all the words for woman, wife start with k or g sound) 

Old Armenian: կին (kin)
Armenian: կին (kin)
Old Prussian: genno (vocative singular)
Germanic: *kwenǭ, *kwēniz
Mycenaean Greek: (ku-na-ja)
Ancient Greek γυνή (gunḗ)
Phrygian: [script needed] (knaika)
Sanskrit: ग्ना (gnā)

b group (all the words for woman, wife start with b sound) 

Celtic: *benā
Old Irish: ben, bé
Irish: bean
Manx: ben
Welsh: ben
Cornish: ben
Beotian Greek: βανά (baná)

I believe that the above division shows clear linguistic dialectal split on genetic lines. The ž,s group of words comes from languages linked to R1a population.  The b group group of words comes from languages linked to R1b population. Where does the k,g group come from? Another subgroup of R1b or I2? I am not sure.

It is very interesting to note that Sanskrit contains both “g” word and “ž, dj” word for woman showing that Sanskrit is a composite language and that both so called “kentum” and “satem” dialects speaking tribes were present in Indus Valley during the formation of the Sanskrit language. It is also very interesting to note that Beotian dialect has “b” word for woman, just like Celtic languages. Is there a link between the Beotians and Celts? I believe so. Remember the article about the bo, vo words being the root for the words for cattle? I will talk about this soon. 

So back to Greeks and the word “ξένος” meaning foreigner. As I said Greeks are unable to pronounce Slavic harsh consonant “ž”. So they pronounce the word “žena” like “zena” or “sena”. In South Slavic languages the word to marry is “ženiti”. This verb comes from Locative form of “žena” meaning woman. As the name implies, the basic meaning of the locative case is to show the location or position of an object represented by a noun or direction of movement towards the object. Locative of the word “žena” is “ženi” meaning towards, to the woman. This would mean that “ženiti” = “ženi + ti” literally means to “go to the woman + you”, to “go to get the woman + you”, “go to the woman’s tribe to get the woman + you”. 

The South Slavic words “ga, gu, go, gi” are used for pointing and mean him, her, it, them. If you wanted to say in South Slavic languages “you can marry him, her, them” you would say “ženi + ga, gu, gi” =  “marry + him, her, them” or “ga, gu, gi + ženi” = “him, her, them + marry”. As I already said in patriarchal tribal societies it was a taboo to marry someone of your own kind. So the people you were allowed to marry “ga, gu, gi + ženi” the ones who were not “of our tribe”, foreigners. If pronounced quickly this expression becomes “gženi”. Greeks would pronounce this as “kseni” which is exactly the pronunciation for the adjective “ξένη” meaning foreign, not one of us, someone you can marry. 

So back to the Greek word “προξενη” pronounced proxeni meaning consul but literally meaning among the foreigners. In South Slavic languages the word pro means through, between, among and the word pri means with, next to, at. A man who moves to live with his wife’s family or clan is in South Slavic languages said to be “pri ženi” meaning with the wife, with the wife’s family, with the people who are not of our tribe, with the foreigners….

So how did this word enter Greek language? How did this happen when according to the official history and linguistics this is not possible, because there is no way that Ancient Greeks could have been in contact with anyone speaking Slavic languages at the time when this word, or more precisely this expression, was recorded for the fist time, which is well before the 5th century BC. So how did the Greeks acquire this word and from whom?
Who spoke Slavic languages in early Iron Age Balkans? 

But maybe I am asking the wrong question. Maybe I should ask if the Ancient Greeks were, as most people think, a genetically , culturally and linguistically homogeneous “nation”. Or were they a bunch of genetically, culturally and linguistically disparate tribes living side by side. Of which some spoke a language which will later become known as Slavic. And were the “Ancient Greeks” just a product of hundreds of years of cooperation, intermarrying and conquest, a result of complex, often forced mixing. After all all the other European “nations” were created like this, why would the “Ancient Greeks” be any different?

So what do you think about all this?