Archaeological finds in Greenland show that vikings managed to survive Greenland’s bitter, harsh weather for substantially longer than previously believed.
According to Christian Koch Madsen, an archaeologist with the National Museum of Denmark, “The stories we have heard so far about the climate getting worse and the Norsemen disappearing simply don’t hold water.”
He claims there were only 2,500 individuals living in Greenland throughout the middle of the thirteenth century, contradicting earlier estimates of the population at 6,000.
As the harsh climate changes began to set in, the outlying farms were slowly abandoned, indicating strategies to deal with climate deterioration were implemented.
Over time, the land became even more barren, resulting in a further shrinking population, formation of larger settlements and a centralized economy.
In an earlier shocking discovery, the remains of four young men were excavated a decade ago by Irish archaeologists working under Dublin’s South Great George’s Street. Also buried with the remains were shields, daggers, and ornaments, providing more evidence of a Viking population in Ireland.
Previous discoveries had been dated to the ninth to tenth centuries, and the South Great George’s Street graves were believed to be four more examples.
These beliefs were disproved when the excavation leader sent the Viking remains for carbon dating, learning that the remains had been buried for years to decades prior to the previously accepted date.
As a result of these findings, it is believed that the Vikings did not take up residence in Great Britain after a violent invasion, but rather, settled more slowly in random, small settlements.
It appears that the Vikings were present and already trading before any known raids occurred.
The Vikings in Ireland; http://www.archaeology.org/issues/168-1503/features/2969-ireland-dublin-early-viking-prescence
Vikings Survived Greenland’s Harsh Weather for Centuries; http://www.archaeology.org/news/3186-150408-greenland-viking-climate
“Viking swords” by Own work – Picture taken by viciarg ᚨ at the Vikingermuseum in Haithabu, Germany. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Viking_swords.jpg#/media/File:Viking_swords.jpg
“Box and scales” by Berig – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Box_and_scales.jpg#/media/File:Box_and_scales.jpg