PDA

View Full Version : The Norse Settlements in Greenland



BlutwŲlfin
Monday, October 24th, 2005, 12:29 PM
A site dedicated to the viking voyage Greenland - New Foundland year 1000

Linkhttp://www.greenland-guide.dk/leif2000/

SlŚ ring om Norge
Saturday, January 14th, 2006, 12:08 PM
"It happens in Greenland...that all that is taken there from other countries is costly there, because the country lies so far from other countries that people rarely travel there. Every item, with which they might help the country, they must buy from other countries, both iron and all the timber with which they build houses. People export these goods from there: goatskins, ox-hides, sealskins and the rope...which they cut out of the fish called walrus and which is called skin rope, and their tusks...The people have been christened, and have both churches and priests.... "

more here;
http://www.mnh.si.edu/vikings/voyage/htmlonly/greenland.html


The sudden disappearance of this civilisation has for long been a mystery, but late researc has stated that it probably was a few extreme cold winters on a row, and no summers between.

The lifestock froze to death, and for those that survived, there were little to feed on. The wild game suffered also, so there must have been stride with the inuites about the little that still was available.

more;
http://www.europhysicsnews.com/full/15/article1/article1.html

But what we know, is that the population during this 400 years rised to a number about 5000. These were explorers of nature, and also of need, and they had to know their domain well.

When we know that sailing form Norway to Iceland at best could take a week or two, often longer, sometimes shorter time, and sailing from Iceland to Greenland can be done in 2-3 days if good bearing and finding the streams. From Greenland it is again done to sail in 2-3 days if lucky, to reach the coast called Helland.

We also know that all imported goods from the olde world was very expensive on Greenland, specially timber. I do not believe for a second that these brave pioners keept on paying bloodprice for a such basic good, when they could puchase all they wanted just just a few days of sailing south.

They did not only sit there for 400 years, but according to their nature, they probably knew every inch of their local coasts, and the coasts and islands within reach must have been explored and well known to them. One reason that there is little documented on this, may be the need to keep traderoutes secret from competitors.

But just a little logic. They knew Vinland and the way there for 400 years, does it sound logic that these never again visited Vinland after the Norse colonization at New Foundland collapsed? When they needed the goods, and it was as close as Iceland?

According to norse mentality, it is very hard to believe that they should not have visited Vinland as often as they needed its goods.

SlŚ ring om Norge
Sunday, January 15th, 2006, 05:23 PM
Helge Ingstad, the man that documented the norse settlements in Vinland, did in no way have an easy match on his great work. For many years, before he found the remains at L'Anse aux Meadows' at New Foundland, he was not taken too seriously by many.

Everybody knows that when shooting at something at distance, on have to aim higher than the target to compense for the gravitation and inertia. So let us in that spirit draw the lines a little bit longer, and speculate...

The Northwesternpassage are as we know it today, blocked with ice. But that changes form century to century, and scientologist have reported that the ice is melting so rapidly now, that regular shiproutes will be actual through it within few years. This will herold manifold changes, in tradepatterns, prices, and on the monetary value of the surrounding areas. Also the real value of the land will rise, it will be possible for plants to grow, where there were only ice before.

Also the ice of Greenland is melting, and that opens for taking out natural resources like oil, gas and minerals. Denmark and Canada are aware of this, and have the latest years enforced their claims. The Danes may sit back and relax and just watch the ice melting. It is calculated that this will reveal unthinkable treasures of oil and minerals. Norway may be rich today, but that will probably look quite modest related to what the danes may experience in 50-100 years from now:icon12: . If I had money for long term investments, I would consider to buy land at Greenland for my heirs.:coffee:

But back to the Northwestern passage, it have not always been icy. We know that the climate in periods the latest 1000 years has been warmer than today.
The passage may have been open, also during the 400 years of norse population on Greenland. I so, there is a chance that norsmen sailed through the passage, and continued south along the coast of Alaska. This is not exactly scientific, but in that case, it is not impossible that they may have drifted off into the Pacific ocean. And if so, it is not impossible that they even reached Hawaii....:D

…“After drifting 90 days and nights south of the the strait, they reached a island with a volcano in the middle. Sweet fruits was growing wild everywhere, and the climate was very hot and wet. Thorne was the first to set his foot on this unbelieveable island, and he called it HavÝy, because it was an island in the ocean.(Hav=sea, Ýy=island) later twisted to Hawaii.”:D

Another possibility,
“ After their journey to Vinland after more timber, they set the course northwards again. The timber was needed more than ever, cause the latest winters had been the coldest in mans memory. But as they sailed north, they found that the sea many places had frozen to ice, and made it impossible for them to return to Greenland. They decided to sail south again and make a camp for the winter, and then return and try again next spring. They sailed as far south that no norseman ever had been, the sea got warmer, and new and strange birds, animals and plants occurred.”
It may be they liked it a lot, and did not bother to force through the ice again?
But this is of course speculations, for the time.

History are quite similar to icebergs, we can see a little bit of it, but the most of it remains unknown to us. There are so much more that we do not know, than we think we know. Helge Ingstad knew that, believed in himself, dedicated his time and efforts, and became one of the greatest explorers.

This salute goes to Helge!

Agrippa
Sunday, January 15th, 2006, 08:09 PM
The Little Ice Age was the main factor for the Norse decline on Greenland. Even on Iceland the conditions worsened at that time and the population shrunk in every respect - less people which were more and more often plagued by hunger, diseases etc. They became smaller, partly crippled and reduced (mostly modification obviously).

Neither the Nordid type(s) in general nor the way of living the Norse had was appropriate for Iceland during the Little Ice Age. Even in parts of Europe, especially inner continental Europe, the deterioration was tremendous and might be one reason for reduction, infantilisation in some, Borealisation in other areas of Europe.

http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=44948

fog
Monday, January 16th, 2006, 05:13 PM
The Little Ice Age was the main factor for the Norse decline on Greenland. Even on Iceland the conditions worsened at that time and the population shrunk in every respect - less people which were more and more often plagued by hunger, diseases etc. They became smaller, partly crippled and reduced (mostly modification obviously).

Neither the Nordid type(s) in general nor the way of living the Norse had was appropriate for Iceland during the Little Ice Age. Even in parts of Europe, especially inner continental Europe, the deterioration was tremendous and might be one reason for reduction, infantilisation in some, Borealisation in other areas of Europe.

http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=44948 Why did the population of Iceland recover so quickly, while other poplulations remain infantilised and reduced permanently?

Agrippa
Tuesday, January 17th, 2006, 12:27 AM
Why did the population of Iceland recover so quickly, while other poplulations remain infantilised and reduced permanently?

Thats a good question and there are many factors to think about. One thing is for sure, it had an impact too but the direction of the selection was not that clear like f.e. in rural areas of continental Europe - especially those further away from coasts, rivers and other sources of food (fish, sea food), trade, etc. and bound as dependent peasants to their (in the Little Ice Age less productive) soil.
One factor might be that the starting point was already a different one and another one that the whole sociocultural system was different and certain plagues, diseases not that important. But thats just speculation.

White Iceland
Wednesday, January 18th, 2006, 06:41 AM
I like the suggestion that Christianity, rather churchianity, killed the Greenland colonies.

There are archaeological finds which demonstrate that very late in the settlement fashions were up to date with Danish standards and the largest buildings were churches. Middens, or trash holes, show that there was little wild game, birds or fish in the diets of later settlers. Had they become over-domesticated? Relying solely on cows, sheep and domestic animals, these grandchildren of vikings had forgotten how to survive. Also, hunting and fishing was seen as "heathen" and unbecoming of christians to follow in the ways of the Inuit savages or even their own ancestors folkways.

I see similarities in the way modern Icelanders look at traditional modes of survival. In the light of all-important fashion, such hard work is seen as dirty and disgusting.

Let Greenland be a lesson about attitudes toward what is important in life... all their prayers, religious trinkets and current 1400s fashions did little to preserve them. They forgot how to be vikings... and lost the means of living in accord with nature at its harshest.

lei.talk
Wednesday, January 18th, 2006, 09:18 AM
Let Greenland be a lesson about attitudes toward what is important in life...
They forgot how to be vikings...
and lost the means of living in accord with nature at its harshest.as a principle -
i would agree with you,
because i have seen children
that are raised as the dominant predator (http://www.forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?p=116785#post116785).

it is an improvement
over children raised as homo domesticus (http://www.forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?p=116515#post116515).

SlŚ ring om Norge
Tuesday, March 7th, 2006, 11:39 AM
Helge Ingstad, the man that documented the norse settlements in Vinland, did in no way have an easy match on his great work. For many years, before he found the remains at L'Anse aux Meadows' at New Foundland, he was not taken too seriously by many.

Everybody knows that when shooting at something at distance, on have to aim higher than the target to compense for the gravitation and inertia. So let us in that spirit draw the lines a little bit longer, and speculate...

The Northwesternpassage are as we know it today, blocked with ice. But that changes form century to century, and scientologist have reported that the ice is melting so rapidly now, that regular shiproutes will be actual through it within few years. This will herold manifold changes, in tradepatterns, prices, and on the monetary value of the surrounding areas. Also the real value of the land will rise, it will be possible for plants to grow, where there were only ice before.

Also the ice of Greenland is melting, and that opens for taking out natural resources like oil, gas and minerals. Denmark and Canada are aware of this, and have the latest years enforced their claims. The Danes may sit back and relax and just watch the ice melting. It is calculated that this will reveal unthinkable treasures of oil and minerals. Norway may be rich today, but that will probably look quite modest related to what the danes may experience in 50-100 years from now . If I had money for long term investments, I would consider to buy land at Greenland for my heirs.

But back to the Northwestern passage, it have not always been icy. We know that the climate in periods the latest 1000 years has been warmer than today.
The passage may have been open, also during the 400 years of norse population on Greenland. I so, there is a chance that norsmen sailed through the passage, and continued south along the coast of Alaska. This is not exactly scientific, but in that case, it is not impossible that they may have drifted off into the Pacific ocean. And if so, it is not impossible that they even reached Hawaii....

…“After drifting 90 days and nights south of the the strait, they reached a island with a volcano in the middle. Sweet fruits was growing wild everywhere, and the climate was very hot and wet. Thore was the first to set his foot on this unbelieveable island, and he called it HavÝy, because it was an island in the ocean.(Hav=sea, Ýy=island) later twisted to Hawaii.”

Another possibility,

“ After their journey to Vinland after more timber, they set the course northwards again. The timber was needed more than ever, cause the latest winters had been the coldest in mans memory. But as they sailed north, they found that the sea many places had frozen to ice, and made it impossible for them to return to Greenland. They decided to sail south again and make a camp for the winter, and then return and try again next spring. They sailed as far south that no norseman ever had been, the sea got warmer, and new and strange birds, animals and plants occurred.”
It may be they liked it a lot, and did not bother to force through the ice again?

But this is of course speculations, for the time.

History are quite similar to icebergs, we can see a little bit of it, but the most of it remains unknown to us. There are so much more that we do not know, than we think we know. Helge Ingstad knew that, believed in himself, dedicated his time and efforts, and became one of the greatest explorers.

In November 1979 we spent a few days together at the mountain in Finnmark. It was about -30 celcius, but hot and cosy in the tent. We had long and interesting discussions. Helge Ingstad became 101 yers old. A great man!

This salute goes to Helge!

∆meric
Sunday, December 16th, 2007, 03:08 AM
Ancient Greenland mystery has a simple answer, it seems
Did the Norse colonists starve? Were they wiped out by the Inuit Ė or did they intermarry? No. Things got colder and they left.

QASSIARSUK, Greenland - A shipload of visitors arrived in the fjord overnight, so Ingibjorg Gisladottir dressed like a Viking and headed out to work in the ruins scattered along the northern edge of this tiny farming village.

Qassiarsuk is tiny (population: 56), remote, and short on amenities (no store, public restrooms, or roads to the outside world), but some 3,000 visitors come here each year to see the remains of Brattahlid, the medieval farming village founded here by Erik the Red around the year 985.

When they arrive, Ms. Gisladottir, an employee of the museum, is there to greet them in an authentic hooded smock and not-so-authentic rubber boots. "There were more visitors this year than last," she says. "People want to know what happened to the Norse."

The Greenland Norse colonized North America 500 years before Christopher Columbus "discovered" it, establishing farms in the sheltered fjords of southern Greenland, exploring Labrador and the Canadian Arctic, and setting up a short-lived outpost in Newfoundland.

But by 1450, they were gone, posing one of history's most intriguing mysteries: What happened to the Greenland Norse?

Continue reading;http://http://www.csmonitor.com/2007...3s01-stgn.html

I'm sure some of them left the Greenland colony but where would they go? Conditions were also bad in Iceland & Norway which suffered steep populaton declines during the Little Ice Age. Would newcomers have been welcomed there? It's possible some of them went to North America & were obsorbed by Indian tribes.

Agrippa
Sunday, December 16th, 2007, 11:29 AM
I'm sure some of them left the Greenland colony but where would they go? Conditions were also bad in Iceland & Norway which suffered steep populaton declines during the Little Ice Age. Would newcomers have been welcomed there? It's possible some of them went to North America & were obsorbed by Indian tribes.

It will be always a mystery because we lack source, but whats finally the most important conclusion which can be drawn of it, is the general consensus, that neither Nordoids nor their Germanic-European way of life they had at that time, including their plants and domestic animals, were made for the cold

When they arrived, the climate was friendlier and warmer, so they could survive there, even though they never really flourished and some authors argued, they should have tried to go to America with all ressources, using Greenland as a secondary base from the beginning. What they didnt actually. Greenland was in no way a good habitat for Europids - especially not when the "Little Ice Age" began, which hit all progressive Europid racial strains and higher cultural groups in all of Europe hard and lead to negative racial developments, furthered Alpinisation and Baltisation f.e.

From what we know from Iceland and Greenland as well is, that on both islands the people shrunk, became more often sick and many died off - even on Iceland there was a bottleneck and on Greenland this bottleneck was too small for the population to survive at all. Probably single individuals went to the Inuits - but I doubt even that. From the historical record we know that the area was abandoned and the situation of those who died, their skeletal remains make it clear too, namely that they were done.

Dagna
Sunday, February 8th, 2009, 09:53 AM
http://www.mnh.si.edu/vikings/voyage/htmlonly/images/greenland_title.gif
http://www.mnh.si.edu/vikings/voyage/subset/greenland/photoh.jpg
http://www.mnh.si.edu/vikings/images/x.gif

Located west of Iceland, Greenland is a vast ice-capped continent 1700 miles long and 700 miles wide, fringed by a thin strip of mountainous terrain. Most of this land is frigid arctic tundra, but around A.D.985, Erik the Red discovered two areas of southwest Greenland which were suitable for farming, with grasslands and small stands of alder and birch. He named this land Greenland "so that people would be encouraged to go there," and indeed many followed him to this new land. The colonies flourished for three hundred years. Farms proliferated; animal and human populations grew quickly. Its peak population reached nearly 5000 Norse, who lived in two colonies in southwestern Greenland, called the Eastern and Western Settlements. Then, environmental, economic, and social conditions began to worsen until, only a few decades before Columbus arrived in America, they disappeared.
The disappearance of the Norse colonies in Greenland is the outstanding unsolved mystery of the Viking's North Atlantic saga. After more than two hundred and fifty years of study by historians, archeologists, and natural scientists, there are clues but no firm answers. What happened to the Greenland Norse? A range of factors-cooling climate, declining trade relations, over-grazing of soil, cultural taboos against eating certain foods, competition with Inuit, emigration, taxation by the crown and church-all contributed to the decline. No single event seems to have spelled the end, but rather the complex web in which the Greenlanders were caught.

http://www.mnh.si.edu/vikings/voyage/htmlonly/greenland.html

The Horned God
Sunday, February 8th, 2009, 01:35 PM
It's quite possible that the Inuit natives (who btw, only reached Greenland after the Vikings had already settled it) slaughtered the lot of them.

Here's what Jared Diamond (from a general conversation on how societies collapse) has the say on the matter, and whether you agree with him or not, his theories make interesting reading;


My next to last example involves Norse Greenland. As the Vikings began to expand over and terrorise Europe in their raids. The Vikings also settled six islands in the North Atlantic. So we have to compare not 80 islands as in the Pacific, but 6 islands. Viking settlements survived on Orkney, Shetland, Faeroe and Iceland, albeit it with severe problems due to environmental damage on Iceland. The Vikings arrived in Greenland, settled Greenland AD 984, where they established a Norwegian pastoral economy, based particularly on sheep, goats and cattle for producing dairy products, and then they also hunted caribou and seal. Trade was important. The Vikings in Greenland hunted walruses to trade walrus ivory to Norway because walrus ivory was in demand in Europe for carving, since at that time with the Arab conquest, elephant ivory was no longer available in Europe. Vikings vanished in the 1400s. There were two settlements; one of them disappeared around 1360 and the other sometime probably a little after 1440. Everybody ended up dead.

The vanishing of Viking Greenland is instructive because it involves all five of the factors that I mentioned, and also because thereís a detailed, written record from Norway, a bit from Iceland and just a few fragments from Greenland: a written record describing what people were doing and describing what they were thinking. So we know something about their motivation, which we donít know for the Anasazi and the Easter Islanders.

Of the five factors, first of all there was ecological damage due to deforestation in this cold climate with a short growing season, cutting turf, soil erosion. The deforestation was especially expensive to the Norse Greenlanders because they required charcoal in order to smelt iron to extract iron from bogs. Without iron, except for what they could import in small quantities from Norway, there were problems in getting iron tools like sickles. It got to be a big problem when the Inuit, who had initially been absent in Greenland, colonised Greenland and came into conflict with the Norse. The Norse then had no military advantage over the Inuit. It was not guns, germs and steel. The Norse of Greenland had no guns, very little steel, and they didnít have the nasty germs. They were fighting with the Inuit on terms of equality, one people with stone and wooden weapons against another.

So problem No.1, ecological damage, problem No.2, climate change. The climate in Greenland got colder in the late 1300s and early 1400s as part of whatís called the Little Ice Age, cooling of the North Atlantic. Hay production was a problem. Greenland was already marginal because itís high latitude short growing season, and as it got colder, the growing season got even shorter, hay production got less, and hay was the basis of Norse sustenance. Thirdly, the Norse had military problems with their neighbours the Inuit. For example, the only detailed example we have of an Inuit attack on the Norse is that the Icelandic annals of the years 1379 say ĎIn this year the scralings (which is an old Norse word meaning wretches, the Norse did not have a good attitude towards the Inuit), the wretches attacked the Greenlanders and killed 18 men and captured a couple of young men and women as slaves.í Eighteen men doesnít seem like a big deal in this century of body counts of tens of millions of people, but when you consider the population of Norse Greenland at the time, probably about 4,000 people, 18 adult men stands in the same proportion to the Norse population then as if some outsiders were to come into the United States today and in one raid kill 1,700,000 adult male Americans. So that single raid by the Inuit did make a big deal to the Norse, and thatís just the only raid that we know about.

Fourthly, there was the cut-off of trade with Europe because of increasing sea-ice, with a cold climate in the North Atlantic. The ships from Norway gradually stopped coming. Also as the Mediterranean reopened Europeans got access again to elephant ivory, and they became less interested in the walrus ivory, so fewer ships came to Greenland. And then finally cultural factors, the Norse were derived from a Norwegian society that was identified with pastoralism, and particularly valued calves. In Greenland itís easier to feed and take care of sheep and goats than calves, but calves were prized in Greenland, so the Norse chiefs and bishops were heavily invested in the status symbol of calves. The Norse, because of their bad attitude towards the Inuit did not adopt useful Inuit technology, so the Norse never adopted harpoons, hence they couldnít eat whales like the Inuit. They didnít fish, incredibly, while the Inuit were fishing. They didnít have dog sleighs, they didnít have skin boats, they didnít learn from the Inuit how to kill seals at breeding holes in the winter. So the Norse were conservative, had a bad attitude towards the Inuit, they built churches and cathedrals, the remains of the Greenland cathedral is still standing today at Gardar. Itís as big as the cathedral of Iceland, and the stone churches, some of the three-stone churches in Greenland are still standing. So this was a society that invested heavily in their churches, in importing stained-glass windows and bronze bells for the churches, when they could have been importing more iron to trade to the Inuit, to get seals and whale meat in exchange for the iron.

"Greenland then is particularly instructive in showing us that collapse due to environmental reasons isnít inevitable. It depends upon what you do."

So there were cultural factors also while the Norse refused to learn from the Inuit and refused to modify their own economy in a way that would have permitted them to survive. And the result then was that after 1440 the Norse were all dead, and the Inuit survived. Greenland then is particularly instructive in showing us that collapse due to environmental reasons isnít inevitable. It depends upon what you do. Here are two peoples and one did things that let them survive, and the other things did not permit them to survive.

There are a series of factors that make people more or less likely to perceive environmental problems growing up around them. One is misreading previous experience. The Greenlanders came from Norway where thereís a relatively long growing season, so the Greenlanders didnít realise, based on their previous experience, how fragile Greenland woodlands were going to be. The Greenlanders had the difficulty of extracting a trend from noisy fluctuations; yes we now know that there was a long-term cooling trend, but climate fluctuates wildly up and down n Greenland from year to year; cold, cold, warm, cold. So it was difficult for a long time perceive that there was any long-term trend. Thatís similar to the problems we have today with recognising global warming. Itís only within the last few years that even scientists have been able to convince themselves that there is a global long-term warming trend. And while scientists are convinced, the evidence is not yet enough to convince many of our politicians.

Problem No. 3, short time scale of experience. In the Anasazi area, droughts come back every 50 years, in Greenland it gets cold every 500 years or so; those rare events are impossible to perceive for humans with a life span of 40, 50, 70 years. Theyíre perceptible today but we may not internalise them. For example, my friends in the Tucson area. There was a big drought in Tucson about 40 years ago. The city of Tucson almost over-draughted its water aquifers and Tucson went briefly into a period of water conservation, but now Tucson is back to building big developments and golf courses and so Tucson will have trouble with the next drought.

Fourthly the Norse were disadvantaged by inappropriate cultural values. They valued cows too highly just as modern Australians value cows and sheep to a degree appropriate to Scotland but inappropriate to modern Australia. And Australians now are seriously considering whether to abandon sheep farming completely as inappropriate to the Australian environment.

Finally, why would people perceive problems but still not solve their own problems?
A theme that emerges from Norse Greenland as well as from other places, is insulation of the decision making elite from the consequences of their actions. That is to say, in societies where the elites do not suffer from the consequences of their decisions, but can insulate themselves, the elite are more likely to pursue their short-term interests, even though that may be bad for the long-term interests of the society, including the children of the elite themselves.

In the case of Norse Greenland, the chiefs and bishops were eating beef from cows and venison and the lower classes were left to eating seals and the elite were heavily invested in the walrus ivory trade because of let them get their communion gear and their Rhineland pottery and the other stuff that they wanted. Even though in the long run, what was good for the chiefs in the short run was bad for society. We can see those differing insulations of the elite in the modern world today.

http://209.85.229.132/search?q=cache:imqbMqGqo9sJ:www.abc.net. au/rn/talks/bbing/stories/s743310.htm+Jared+diamond+greenland+nors e&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=2&gl=ie

Kriegersohn
Thursday, February 19th, 2009, 04:40 PM
I don't think that there is any doubt that it was a number of factors that contributed to the fall of Greenland's Viking descendents. The Fate of Greenland's Vikings (http://http://www.archaeology.org/online/features/greenland/) by Dale Mackenzie Brown covers many of the same things that others have said. Everything winds up overlapping when discussing their downfall, including conditions on the continent.

forkbeard
Friday, February 20th, 2009, 12:57 AM
I would certainly take issue with Jared Diamonds account though he makes a good case.
A chronology of events in Greenland during its decline are as follows.
1342, Chronicles record the Greenlanders had gone over to the heathens?
1347, A ship was recorded as blown off course to Ireland loaded with timber bound from Markland (Canada) to Greenland.
1349 Plague is recorded in Norway.
1350 The Western settlement was abandoned.
1363 Directions to Greenland were published.
1369 a Greenland ship is recorded as sinking
1377 A bishop visited Greenland.
1379 18 Norse are recorded as killed by eskimos.
1385 some traders were stuck for two years.
1386 The middle settlement was abandoned.
1406 some Icelanders drifted ashore in Greenland and were stuck for four years.
1410 Greenland still managed to trade with Norway.
1418 English slavers are recorded as raiding Greenland for slaves.
1450 Trade goods were still recorded as getting through between Norway and Greenland.
1458 Maps show Greenland as a land of Heathens.
1476 Penning and Pothorst visited Greenland
1478 English slavers are driven out of Iceland.
1490 English fishermen and traders are recorded in "New Foundland"
1492 America discovered by Columbus.

I have a good book "England and the discovery of America" by David Beers Quinn. George Allen Unwin. London 1974.
This postulates that the Bristol traders of England and their fishing fleet had secret knowledge about the existence of the Grand banks fishing grounds and New foundland from an early date. There are accounts of both Icelanders in Bristol prior to columbus along with slaves from Greenland.
It is speculated commercial knowledge would almost certainly be a closely gaurded secret but it is very likely Columbus got his knowledge by hearing rumours of trade networks in the North Atlantic.
The above Chronology shows that as late as 1347 there were lumber camps being run in North America by the Greenlanders and that for over 60 years English slavers were operating in the North Atlantic.

What happened to the Greenlanders?
Analysis of middens shows a decline in diet including dog, horse etc showing evidence of starvation. There was little evidence of sea food being eaten showing skills had been lost. The hypothesis being that the church was prohibiting the hunting and eating of wild animals. This is in contrast to the eskimo middens of the same date that have an abundance of game, fish and etc.
Analysis of fly remains in old abandoned Norse settlements shows a change from debris eating species to carrion eating species. Some at least of the Norse Greenlanders died in their beds.
Analysis of Norse skeletal remains towards the end shows a decrease in stature to below 5ft tall, along with an increase in inner ear disease.

A sad end but its not impossible that many got out. Some may have moved to North America. Tales of blue-eyed Indians were common early on in th English colonisation. Some of the blue eyed "Indians" indicated that once they too had books. The presumption that the Greenlnaders were a literate people as were the Icelanders.
Eskimo tales of the period tell of Pirates carrying off the Greenlanders and leaving the odd Norse woman and child behind. Perhaps he Greenlanders ended up in England.
Perhaps some perished trying to get back to Iceland. Perhaps some did but were never recorded. Then there are the tales of the Knights Templars that they too disappeared somewhere into the North Atlantic in 1312 with a vast treasure and naval fleet. a great subject.



Analysis of

CattyEyes
Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009, 01:42 PM
First of all I'm a skeptic on the subject of the paranormal and dreams. However I'm also a spiritual lady and follow the Odinic path. I also like interprating dreams but they are always my guessing games. Sometimes I have instuition about a particular subject and I don't rely on it for cold hard facts but I do listen to it. I've had a vision of the Greenland Norse peoples. They went there for the same reasons they travelled to other places. They did so for a variety of reasons, mainly to settle and trade. How many times have these people suffered pnuemonia or influenza? A number of times. This didn't kill them off but something else did and it was a small plague that only affected them and not the other people living on the same island (the Inuit). There wasn't a big population of Greenland Norse but a scattering of small groups otherwise some would've survived.

There are other mysteries on the planet regarding missing people such as the original Easter Islanders but should they also matter to us or not? I feel that was a different mystery to the tragic Greenland Norse. There isn't much evidence to go by except theories and Inuit stories.

Here is a site on the Archeology of the Fated Greenlanders:
http://www.archaeology.org/online/features/greenland/

Nachtengel
Monday, January 4th, 2010, 07:58 PM
A new article is examining the theory that Greenland's medieval Norse settlements were ruined by the collapse of the trade in walrus tusks, after ivory from elephants became more easily accessible for artisans in Europe.

In her article, "Desirable teeth: the medieval trade in Arctic and African ivory," Kirsten Seaver criticizes that idea, and puts forward her own theory about why the Norse settlers mysteriously vanished from Greenland sometime during the 15th century.

In 1998, Danish archaeologist Else wrote an article which suggested that in the beginning of the fourteenth century, a surplus of reasonably priced elephant ivory from Africa caused ivory from walrus tusks to lose its market share, which were so catastrophic that it eventually led to the collapse of the entire Norse Greenland colony.

Ivory has been a prized commodity in Europe and Asia since antiquity, with ports along the north African coast controlling much of the trade. When Norse settlers arrived in Greenland during in the 10th century, they soon found that walrus ivory could be a profitable trade.

Roesdahl believes that this trade went through Norway and would have been a cheaper alternative to elephant ivory. Several carved tusks have been found among the treasures of European rulers, particularly Scandinavian kings.

But this trade floundered by the fourteenth century, according to Roesdahl, as trade between Africa and Europe grew, allowing for more elephant ivory to be exported to the continent. Seaver disputes the notion that this would have undermined the Greenland walrus trade.

She writes, "Prior to 1500, it is highly unlikely that there was a drop in the price of elephant ivory capable of displacing walrus tusks in the market, even in periods when more African ivory appears to have been reaching European workshops. It is far more likely that, during periods of increased supply in response to European demand, the price of African ivory would have risen in step with the available quantities, because the transportation costs arising from Africaís immense distances."

Seaver adds in her own theory about the fall of the Norse colony, linking it to the increased activities of English fishermen in the North Atlantic. During the 15th century, the English were particularly interested in catching fish for food, in particularly cod, and were sailing out further outwards to find stocks. Seaver believes that the Norse in Greenland may have been attracted to this trade, and shifted their settlements to be closer to better fishing grounds.

Seaver believes that large numbers of Greenlanders may have even tried to develop settlements in Labrador, with English support, which proved to be disastrous, as the climate in that portion of northern Canada was much more hostile than even in Greenland.

"If the Norse Greenlanders migrated west to a stretch of Labrador chosen by others," Seaver writes, "as it appears likely that they did, they may have ended up on the bottom of the Davis Strait before even reaching the other shore, or they may have perished during their first winter in the new land from new diseases, from starvation, or simply from the bitter cold."

http://medievalnews.blogspot.com/2009/12/did-elephants-doom-norse-in-greenland.html