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Big Bad Voodoo

Abandoned Colony in Greenland

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http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/archaeologists-uncover-clues-to-why-vikings-abandoned-greenland-a-876626.html

For years, researchers have puzzled over why Viking descendents abandoned Greenland in the late 15th century. But archaeologists now believe that economic and identity issues, rather than starvation and disease, drove them back to their ancestral homes.

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Same thing happened there that does to many small towns. They young have nothing to do so they leave.

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This ties into the article I posted a week or so back. Finally, breaking the old-myth that the Norse were too stubborn to adapt to the changing climate - when in reality it was economics and people leaving for greener pastures that. Nice article btw. :)

I think a better question that needs answering is where did the last 1000 or so Greenlanders go? There appear to be no records of their arrival in Iceland/Norway or the like, and there is no evidence of a mass death or the such in greenland... personally, I believe they headed for parts unknown in the new world. Many were lost on the voyages and the remainders survived and either assimilated into the natives (who later died out due to old world diseases the norse did not have) or their new colony died for other reasons (bad luck), and we simply have not found said missing settlement yet.

Cheers.

Edited by Bavarian Raven
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I think that they would find living elsewhere much better then living in greenland. For one thing the weather elsewhere would be better.

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I think that they would find living elsewhere much better then living in greenland. For one thing the weather elsewhere would be better.

Yep, somewhere they wouldn't freeze to death would definitely be preferable.

Edited by WoIverine

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As someone who's done some geneological research regarding Norway, there is really not a lot of good records from the 15th century. Other then church birth and marriage records, and political records, there is very little before the 19th century. These people could have easily returned to Norway and disappeared into the population.

It would be cool to be a decendant of one of these guys. Wonder if a homesteading claim could be filed??

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They failed as any other civilization. Greed and social reasons.

There are just few exception. Such as Khmers. They vanished due thier poop.

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Nice to see the news being up to date. Had a lecture on this months ago...

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http://www.spiegel.d...d-a-876626.html

For years, researchers have puzzled over why Viking descendents abandoned Greenland in the late 15th century. But archaeologists now believe that economic and identity issues, rather than starvation and disease, drove them back to their ancestral homes.

L - The referenced research and the interpretation of such is indeed interesting. As Setton noted, this research has been available for some time now.

However, it may be worthwhile to bear in mind that, even by the authors' own evaluation, the environmental aspects played a notable [if not decisive] role in this and other related settlement activities. To quote from the article:

The Medieval Warm Period had made it possible for settlers from Norway, Iceland and Denmark to live on hundreds of scattered farms along the protected fjords, where they built dozens of churches and even had bishops.

The bone analyses prove that, when the warm period came to an end, the Greenlandic farmers and ranchers switched to a seafood-based diet with surprising rapidity.

Summer temperatures fell, violent storms raged around the houses and the winters were bone-chillingly cold. For the cattle that had been brought to Greenland, there was less and less to eat in the pastures and meadows along the fjords.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/archaeologists-uncover-clues-to-why-vikings-abandoned-greenland-a-876626.html

In short, the dietary, trade, and cultural isolation aspects can all be tied to the environmental changes that the colonists experienced.

When evaluating/interpreting archaeological research, environmental factors, in any given scenario, are worthy of due consideration and incorporation.

.

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L - The referenced research and the interpretation of such is indeed interesting. As Setton noted, this research has been available for some time now.

However, it may be worthwhile to bear in mind that, even by the authors' own evaluation, the environmental aspects played a notable [if not decisive] role in this and other related settlement activities. To quote from the article:

The Medieval Warm Period had made it possible for settlers from Norway, Iceland and Denmark to live on hundreds of scattered farms along the protected fjords, where they built dozens of churches and even had bishops.

The bone analyses prove that, when the warm period came to an end, the Greenlandic farmers and ranchers switched to a seafood-based diet with surprising rapidity.

Summer temperatures fell, violent storms raged around the houses and the winters were bone-chillingly cold. For the cattle that had been brought to Greenland, there was less and less to eat in the pastures and meadows along the fjords.

http://www.spiegel.d...d-a-876626.html

In short, the dietary, trade, and cultural isolation aspects can all be tied to the environmental changes that the colonists experienced.

When evaluating/interpreting archaeological research, environmental factors, in any given scenario, are worthy of due consideration and incorporation.

.

Thats what this article said. Why did they switch to sea food?

Also we often forget that they didnt want to adopt to new situation. Inuits survived.

Edited by the L

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Thats what this article said. Why did they switch to sea food?

Also we often forget that they didnt want to adopt to new situation. Inuits survived.

Am rather unsure of the intent of this question. The causation of the dietary shift is quite apparent.

Edit: Typo

Edited by Swede
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This just seem apropos somehow:

A-ah-ahh-ah, ah-ah-ahh-ah

We come from the land of the ice and snow

from the midnight sun where the hot springs blow

The hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new lands

To fight the horde and sing and cry, Valhalla, I am coming

On we sweep with, with threshing oar

Our only goal will be the western shore

Ah-ah-ahh-ah, ah-ah-ahh-ah

We come from the land of the ice and snow

from the midnight sun where the hot springs FLOW

How soft your fields, so green

can whisper tales of gore, of how we calmed the tides of war

We are your overlords

On we sweep with, with threshing oar

Our only goal will be the western shore

S-so now you better stop and rebuild all your ruins

for peace and trust can winthe day despite of all you're losin'

Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh

Ahh, ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh

Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh

The Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin

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Am rather unsure of the intent of this question. The causation of the dietary shift is quite apparent.

Edit: Typo

I thought it was very clear. :yes:

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Thats what this article said. Why did they switch to sea food?

Also we often forget that they didnt want to adopt to new situation. Inuits survived.

How come that Iniuts didnt abandoned Grenland?

How come they survive?

Vikings ruin themselves due their greed and social turmoil. Climate chaange just speed up things.

It can be reason. Some historians like natural catastrophe as explaination why civilization fall.

Such as drought. But reasons are ALWAYS complex. Vikings on Grenland didnt vanished due Atlantis scenario.

Natural catastrophes are NEVER reason why one civilization fall.

Climate just push things.

If they wanted to surivive,to adopt to new climate they would survive. But their greed ruin them before climate.

Then they became relaxed. Secured. Which after they ruined themselves explode into moral decline.

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How come that Iniuts didnt abandoned Grenland?

How come they survive?

Vikings ruin themselves due their greed and social turmoil. Climate chaange just speed up things.

It can be reason. Some historians like natural catastrophe as explaination why civilization fall.

Such as drought. But reasons are ALWAYS complex. Vikings on Grenland didnt vanished due Atlantis scenario.

Natural catastrophes are NEVER reason why one civilization fall.

Climate just push things.

If they wanted to surivive,to adopt to new climate they would survive. But their greed ruin them before climate.

Then they became relaxed. Secured. Which after they ruined themselves explode into moral decline.

Actually natural catastrophes can be the reason of the fall of a civilisation. For example, The Mycenaean conquest of the Minoans occurred in Late Minoan II period, not many years after the eruption of Thera, and many archaeologists speculate that the eruption induced a crisis in Minoan civilization, which allowed the Mycenaeans to conquer them easily.

The Olmec decline is blamed on environmental changes caused by volcanic eruptions, earthquakes.

You are trying to bring it all down to one cause, trying to simplify it way to much. Besides bringing it all down to greed and moral decline is a bit too easy. Sorry but I don't agree with you on this.

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Actually natural catastrophes can be the reason of the fall of a civilisation. For example, The Mycenaean conquest of the Minoans occurred in Late Minoan II period, not many years after the eruption of Thera, and many archaeologists speculate that the eruption induced a crisis in Minoan civilization, which allowed the Mycenaeans to conquer them easily.

The Olmec decline is blamed on environmental changes caused by volcanic eruptions, earthquakes.

You are trying to bring it all down to one cause, trying to simplify it way to much. Besides bringing it all down to greed and moral decline is a bit too easy. Sorry but I don't agree with you on this.

Hi Searcher!

Im glad that beside Swede, checker and Raven , one gerat poster join to debate, you. Sorry but actually you say that is only one reason-climate change.

Natural catastrophe are never reason of the fall of civilization. I stated that civilization ALWAYS fall due complex reasons. There isnt only one reason. There are always few reasons which differs from culture and civilization. But one that persist and its pattern are: Greed and social turmoil.

There are few examples where this isnt case but historians for those still dont know reasons. Natural catastrophe often get people togheter to work, often unity appears. Look example of USA. Did huricanes cause decline in USA?

You mentioned Minoans. Their decline is mystery. There eruption dont have nothing with their decline. Minoans were not only in Akrotiri. Only Akrotiri was destroyed. Minoans lived 200 years after eruption, meaning that isnt reason of their decline. Those historians who claim it is , have outdated stance.

They possibly decline because decline of Hittite empire. Minoans were small. They depend on trade. Hittite fall then Minoans fall.

But why bronze age civilization fall in europe is mystery. No one know right answer.

Myceanaens were third world country to Mesopotamia and Egypt, China, Harappans, Peru in this moment.

Now I said, climate just push things up, but Vikings were on their decline.

They ruined themselves.

When they arrived on Grenland it was green. So Vikings start to harvest natural goods.

Birds, fish, grass, wild life. Vikings start to enjoy. with that enjoyment they ruin envoirment.

When they came they burn wood for pasture land. They start destroying nature plant life, ground erossion, cutting green lawn. Cut trees for building and fire. Trees coudnt regenerate because on that area livestock was walking. And Vikings cut them. Vikings felt strong,secured.

Small climate change happened and Viking colony on Grenland disappear. Atleast thats how physiologists Jared Diamond describe it in book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. He written well known book Guns, Germs, and Steel,Why Is Sex Fun and The Third Chimpanzee.

Anyway greed lead to collapse. Bad decisions of elites.

Climate did effect Inuits there too. But they persist. Vikings were stubborn. They were not flexible.

Bad historians somehow like Atlantis scenario. Thats irony.

Edited by the L

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Is it a myth that Greenland was named so that people that visited there would think that Iceland was even worse, and thus not be worth invading?

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How come that Iniuts didnt abandoned Grenland?

How come they survive?

As you are aware, the "Inuits" were relative newcomers to Greenland (post-Scandinavian).

However, bear in mind that the Thule Culture (antecedents of the Inuit), and also the antecedents of the Thule culture themselves, had a long history of adaptation to, and survival in, polar/sub-polar environments. These adaptations included the full array of culturally adapted mechanisms ranging from domestic accoutrements to survival skills to social structure. And they were quite well adapted to a diet and procurement strategy based upon larger sea mammals.

Thus, they were, both technologically and culturally, in a qualified and experienced position to make advantageous use of the resource base that resulted from the climatic change which occurred during the time period under consideration.

The Scandinavian settlers of Greenland were not of a directly parallel cultural economy.

.

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they were terrorised by polar bears

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When they arrived on Grenland it was green. So Vikings start to harvest natural goods.

Birds, fish, grass, wild life. Vikings start to enjoy. with that enjoyment they ruin envoirment.

When they came they burn wood for pasture land. They start destroying nature plant life, ground erossion, cutting green lawn. Cut trees for building and fire. Trees coudnt regenerate because on that area livestock was walking. And Vikings cut them. Vikings felt strong,secured.

About the erossion bit, the Norse settlers had surprisingly good farming techniques. Up until the last few decades, the soil in most of the Norse fields was improving. That being said, the lack of trees was a serious problem and one of the reason for the numerous trips into Markland and beyond for supplies. :)

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Thus, they were, both technologically and culturally, in a qualified and experienced position to make advantageous use of the resource base that resulted from the climatic change which occurred during the time period under consideration.

Inuits were parallel culture in Grenland.

Vikings have had time to adopt. And more imprortantly they have role model. But their standards and ego didnt allow them. Greed and good life.

They learn to harvest more then they actually need. They were not rational. They spent more then they could earn. Luxory ruined them.

Climate just push their down fall.

About the erossion bit, the Norse settlers had surprisingly good farming techniques. Up until the last few decades, the soil in most of the Norse fields was improving. That being said, the lack of trees was a serious problem and one of the reason for the numerous trips into Markland and beyond for supplies. :)

They cut all.

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They were not rational

they were very rational... hence, why the younger generations began to leave 'en mass to "warmer" regions when the climate began to worsen. and hence why the later generations had diets almost identical to the Inuit towards the end. But when the youngsters are leaving faster then they are being produced, a city/colony/region is doomed...

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Inuits were parallel culture in Grenland.

Vikings have had time to adopt. And more imprortantly they have role model. But their standards and ego didnt allow them. Greed and good life.

They learn to harvest more then they actually need. They were not rational. They spent more then they could earn. Luxory ruined them.

Climate just push their down fall.

They cut all.

This would not be an accurate assessment. As previously noted, the Inuit and their ancestral lineage had an extensive period of adaptation to the arctic/subarctic regions. A brief and simplified summary:

The Inuit are descendants of the Yupik speaking groups that initially appear in the record in eastern Siberia:

Yupik > Thule Tradition > Thule Culture > Inuit.

Some sources date the presence of the Yupik speakers in the Bering Sea area as early ca 10,000 BP. By ca 3000 BP the progenitors of the modern Yupik speaking groups were present in western Alaska. The Thule Tradition began ca 2000 BP. This presents an extensive period of time during which these cultural elements became adept at coping with the rigors of their environment both technological and culturally. These adaptations included an exclusive to strong reliance on maritime resources.

On the other hand, the economy of the Norse colonists of Greenland was primarily based upon a pastoral/semi-agrarian subsistence economy supplemented to some degree by oceanic trade in such commodities as walrus ivory. Due to the nature of the pastoral/semi-agrarian economy, the Norse were tied to rather specific areas of the inland fjords that provided the necessary resources. Bear in mind that there were essentially only two settlement areas, the Western and the Eastern.

The Norse subsistence economy was also supplemented by the harvesting of terrestrial (e.g. caribou) and marine mammal resources. This latter was increasingly important in the later periods. In addition, the Norse, particularly after initial settlement, were part of a hierarchal social structure influenced by the church. As you can see, the cultures were hardly parallel. Now, timelines:

986 AD - First Norse settlement in Greenland.

~1200 > 1300 AD - Inuit move from Ellesmere Island to Greenland. McGovern (1991) places this date at 1170 AD.

*Note - By this time, the Inuit lineage had some 9000+ years of experience in arctic/subarctic resource procurement.

~ 1300 AD - End of the Medieval Optimum (or Little Climatic Optimum), beginning of the Little Ice Age (LIA).

!408 AD - Last written record of the Greenland colonies (the wedding at Hvalseg Church).

~ 1480 - 1500 AD - Norse population of Greenland disappears.

The LIA affected the Greenland settlements in a number of manners. Just a few examples:

1) The combination of the LIA and the increased trade in African elephant ivory significantly reduced the traffic of trade vessels to the settlements. This resulted in a lack of access to iron. This, in turn, resulted in the necessitated refinement of bog iron, which placed additional stress on the marginal woody-plant resources of the island.

2) As demonstrated by McGovern (1991), even a 10% change in the amount of available fodder could result in a thinning of the bovine and caprine stock of the settlements.

3) While the Inuit culture was accustomed to mobility in regards to resource procurement, the economy of the Norse notably compromised their ability to adjust to the shifting patterns of the marine mammal resources triggered by the LIA. This was particularly true of the ringed seal.

To loosely quote McGovern (1991), the LIA did not make Greenland totally inhospitable [as witnessed by the continuing presence of the Inuit]. The conditions did, however, become "significantly more hostile" to the Norse economic and social systems.

One last note - Is it possible that you have been influenced by the writings of Diamond? If so, bear in mind that his works have come under no small degree of critique by the anthropological community.

Edit: Typo.

Edited by Swede

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