In 1721, the missionary Hans Egede sailed from Norway to Greenland on a ship called Hope, searching for Scandinavian farmers whom Europeans had not heard of in 200 years to convert to Protestantism. He discovered iceberg-dotted fjords that led to gentle valleys and Silver Lakes that shimmered beneath the great ice cover. But when he interviewed Inuit hunters about the Norse, he showed that he had smashed the stone church walls: the only remnants of the 500-year occupation. “What was the fate of so many people who were so long cut off from all their relations with the very civilised world?”Egede explained this journey. “Were they destroyed by the invasion of the natives … [or was it destroyed by the extinction of the climate and the sterility of the soil?”
Archaeologists are still curious today. No part of the history of the Arctic is that of the 15th of the Norse settlements. it is no more mysterious than its disappearance in the century. Theories of the colony’s Failure included everything from sinister Basque Pirates to the Black Plague. However, historians often pinned most responsibility for the Norse themselves, claiming that they were unable to adapt to a changing climate. Norse, Greenland M.He. Around 1000 settled out of Iceland during a warm period. Meanwhile, the seal hunt, the whale-eating Inuit, survived in the same environment.
However, over the past decade, new excavations in the North Atlantic have forced archaeologists to revise some of these long-held views. An international research collective called the North Atlantic Bioculture organization (NABO) has collected definitive new data on ancient settlement patterns, diet and landscape. The findings suggest that Greenland Scandinavians are more focused on livestock and trade, especially walrus ivory, and rely more on the sea for food than on their pastures. There is no doubt that the climate emphasizes the colony, but the resulting narrative is not from a food-deficient agricultural society, but rather a hunting society that is short of Labor and open to disasters and social unrest at sea.
Historian Poul Holm, from Trinity College in Dublin, praises the new painting, which reveals that Greenland Norse is “not a civilization stuck in its ways.” According to NABO archaeologist George Hambrecht of the University of Maryland in College Park, “The New Story is that they adapted, but still failed.”
Ironically, as this new picture unfolds, climate change is once again threatening Scandinavian settlements – or what’s left of them. Organic artifacts such as clothes and animal bones, which have been preserved for centuries in the deep freeze of permafrost, are rapidly decaying as rising temperatures thaw the soil. “It’s terrible. When we can do something with all this data, it disappears under our feet,” says Holm.
In 1976, a bushy-bearded Thomas McGovern, then 26, arrived for the first time on the grassy shore of a fjord in southern Greenland to begin his doctoral studies. archaeology. The basic Scandinavian timeline had already been established. In the ninth century, advances in maritime technology that enabled the Norse Vikings to raid northern and Central Europe led the Norse to move west to Iceland, as they were also known in their later peaceful incarnation. If the unreliable Icelandic saga written centuries later is to be believed, an enterprising Icelandic named Red Plum took several ships to Greenland in 985. By 1400, however, according to radiocarbon dates, the settlement on the west coast of the island had been abandoned, and by 1450 the inhabitants of the Eastern Settlement at the southern end of the island had also gone.
Data collected by McGovern and others in the 1980s suggested that the colonies were doomed to “deadly Scandinavian conservatism in the face of fluctuating resources,” as McGovern, now based at Hunter College in New York, wrote. The Scandinavians considered themselves farmers, he and others tended the hayfields despite the short growing season, bringing milk cows and sheep from Iceland. 13, called The King’s Mirror. a century-old Norwegian royal thesis praises Greenland’s suitability for Agriculture: The Sun, “where the soil is ice-free, has enough power to heat the soil, thus giving the soil good and fragrant grass.”