Ouch! Looks like there might be a new job opening at the Discovery Channel
>===== Original Message From "CELTIC-L - The Celtic Culture List."
<[log in to unmask]> =====
>just to let you know, this is my response that I just posted to the
>Oh, and prior to anything else, forget the whole story, it is a
>practical joke (with the exception of the checkered patterns dating back
>to the 13th century BC in Hallstatt, they actually have been found).
>Dear folks at the Discovery Channel, I just read your story on the
>growing Austrian movement to lay claim to have invented the tartan at
>backed up by archaeologists.
>Now, as an Austrian archaeologist and Celticist, I feel obliged to post
>a few comments about your reporting.
>Primarily, that is that you might have actually contacted somebody with
>some basic knowledge of Austrian Archaeology to verify the claims that
>you published on the webpage. This probably would have dispelled the
>nice story, but perhaps you wouldn't have reported the nonsensical claim
>by Thomas Rettl, but rather some serious scholarship about actual
>checkered pattern (not necessarily the same as Tartan) finds from the
>salt mines in Hallstatt, which you actually do mention in your report,
>but obviously without having contacted the scholars that actually work
>with those textiles at the Natural History Museum in Vienna.
>Secondly, you might have had someone with at least some basic knowledge
>of German check the source of this "Austrians invented kilts"-claims,
>see for that the homepage of Mr Rettl at
>http://members.aon.at/rettl/geschichteganz.htm . All it takes is a basic
>understanding of German to understand that the whole "history" is a
>practical joke. A quite funny practical joke, if one appreciates the
>nuances of German language and Carinthian dialect, with which this story
>on Mr Rettl's page plays, but still a practical joke, which is easily
>identifiable if reading the first two paragraphs (I translate from the
>German original): "From History: When, over 5000 years ago, the first
>looms were used in Carinthia (find spots at Moosburg and on the
>Tscheltschnigkogel near Villach), it didn't take long until the first
>innovative 'original Carinthian', by alternating differently coloured
>strings, invented the first 'checkered' patterned cloth. This new
>pattern soon was haighly appreciated and adopted all over Europe.
>Because of the since then increasing industrial pollution, no textile
>remains from those distant times have survived, and even the only
>surviving witness from those early times, Mr Adam Untergantschnig is,
>due to his high age, unable to provide any useful descriptions.
>(original quote: 'Haaa....wot..doya..wont...')". Mr Rettl then goes on
>to jokingly speculate about the connection between the terms Carolingian
>(German 'Karolingisch'), and 'Karo', German for 'square', and equally
>the first attested version of Carinthia, 'Karantania', and the same
>All of this could easliy have been found out by a simple web search and
>using a German interpreter with some basic knowledge of archaeology.
>Now, I do appreciate the effort the discovery channel is making to bring
>archaeology to the public, but this quality of reporting is hardly
>If you do not have any solid Austrian archaeological contacts, that
>could give some solid comment on the actual archaeological background of
>such reports, I would be pleased to either help you myself or provide
>you with such contacts.
>Dr Raimund Karl