On the trail of Vikings
I noticed the inconsistency of facts: these threads were too soft and fluffy.
The fibers of the short hair, woven from the skins of arctic hare, were found in an abandoned settlement in the north of Baffin Island. Land off the coast of Canada, to the north of Hudson Bay.
I drew attention to the unexpected softness of the yarn. I used to trust my scientific intuition and decided to examine the fibers under a microscope.
Maybe in the old days Vikings has landed on the coast of Baffin Island and hunters, and indigenous inhabitants of the island peacefully met them?
Exactly: the short hairs were woven into a soft yarn. But the primitive inhabitants of Baffin Island did not know how to spin and weave. They made clothes of fur and skins. Gears of memory in my head spun at a breakneck pace. I remembered one momentous event. A long time ago, when I was a student, I helped with the excavation of the place of the Vikings in Greenland, and my colleagues have found pieces of yarn on the floor like a weaver's workshop. I immediately dialed the familiar archaeologist from Denmark. A few weeks later a specialist in the tissues of the Vikings delivered its verdict: the Canadian yarn like one that the women was spinning in Greenland. I just could not believe my ears!
I got a lot of questions, which did not allow me to sleep at night. I'm on the trail over the years, and stubbornly went ahead. Suddenly, this yarn will discover long-forgotten pages of history of the New World?
The Vikings were the great pioneers of Europe. At its strongest wooden ship, which are still considered masterpieces of shipbuilding. In the VIII century, some of them went to the west. Bloody Viking raids on the territory of modern Scotland, England and Ireland, immortalized in the medieval manuscripts. Many have entered into commercial relations. Even in the IX century Scandinavian merchants began to move east along the coast of the White and the Black Sea and the Caucasus to Asia and Eastern Europe to explore the river. On the main trade routes of Eurasia, they built new cities and traded their goods on the glass of the Rhine valley, with the silver and the Middle East, shells from the Red Sea and silk from China.
Hottest head swam away to the west. In Iceland and Greenland Vikings founded agricultural settlements. They offered outlandish products: ivory tusks and spiral narwhal whale that could profitably sell, issuing of a unicorn's horn. But some leaders wanted more. They sailed farther and farther to the west, and reached America. Somewhere between 989 and 1020 years, about 90 people, including women landed on the island of Newfoundland. They built a lot of turf huts there. They were weaving workshops, smithy and repair yard.
In the morning on Baffin Island I and members of my team went down the rocky path that leads to the green valley Tenfield Valley. Stepping on the narrow strip of land between two lakes, I admire the thick, loose and soft carpet of moss, blanketed the valley. There are a lot of all vegetation and enough to build houses.
In 1999, recognized the yarn, I sat down in the vaults of the Canadian Museum of Civilization. And I began to study the items which was founded by archaeologists on the other parking places of polar hunters - Dorset. They inhabited the eastern Arctic coast almost two thousand years, until their extinction at the end of the XIV century.
Examining hundreds Dorset artifacts under the microscope, I re-discovered the familiar pieces of yarn. They were found during excavations of the four major settlements - in Nunguvike in the valley Tenfild Valley, the islands Locks Land and Button. The findings of these settlements have been very strange.
I caught fragments of sticks with notches and notches that the Vikings were to write an account in commercial transactions. Some artifacts were like fragments of spindles. Among the finds were pieces of wood with square holes from nails and dark spots, probably from contact with the iron. Radiocarbon analysis of one of them showed that the fragment dates from the XIV century, when the era of the Vikings in Greenland is already coming to an end.
The more I studied the old Dorset finds, the more i was sure that the Vikings lived on these shores. Looking around the stone tools, I found about 30 grindstones. Such stones were the traditional tools of Scandinavian men and women. Several carvings Dorset artists, depicting Vikings - long noses, thick bushy eyebrows, beards.
Artifacts clearly indicated friendships. But to find more evidence, it was necessary to excavate. I put together a team and found funding. Of the four settlements Tenfield Valley inspired hope.Cold arctic sun begins to droop. Among the stone ruins, I pick out a shovel of earth a little piece of whalebone. Straightening up, I clean off the dirt with his findings and then become visible two holes drilled. Dorset did not know how to drill master. When they had to make a hole somewhere, they hollowed it, but Viking carpenters among the working tools has always been a drill. They often have to drill holes for the wooden pegs that hold the wooden parts.
Any little thing can be an important piece of evidence, and to shed light on the ancient inhabitants of the European Tenfield Valley. For example, in sedimentary rocks of the buildings, I found a few tiny fragments of skin of an animal.
Using genetic analysis I revealed that the skin is representative of one type of rats inhabiting the Old World. Most likely, the black rat, which was brought to America by ship.
There are more significant finds. My colleagues and I have found the remains of peat blocks (This material provides thermal insulation of walls Vikings), and the foundation of large stones. Anyone who handles these stones, was clearly familiar with the secrets of Scandinavian masonry.
The overall dimensions of the construction material of the walls and ditches along the stones - all this are reminiscent of typical buildings of the Vikings in Greenland. But there is one area, which still hovers distinctive flavor issuing a latrine. On the ground level one of the teams found moss clumps of palm-sized - Viking equivalent of toilet paper. Dorset tribe had not remained long in one place, so they just didn't build toilets.
So why stay here restless Vikings? Why they built themselves a home in this corner of the remote, harsh Helluland where raging icy wind?
By the end of the IX century at the court of the Anglo-Saxon King Alfred the Great granted a rich merchant named Viking Ohtere. He spoke about his journey to the shores of the White Sea, where the northern tribes Sami showered his fantastic wealth of the Arctic land by fur otters and martens to soft bird down in great abundance. The dealer gave King ivory, from which it was possible to cut a brilliant chess pieces and other works of art.
Ohtere was not the only Viking merchants who sought to meet the European demand for exotic north. Vikings exploring the North American coast a thousand years ago, sought to establish trade relations with the natives. On the island of Newfoundland, which they called Vinland, they were met with hostility. Locals were well armed, and not excited about the intruders. But Helluland inhabited by small groups of nomadic hunters Dorset that friendship with foreigners promised benefits and therefore Helluland Vikings had a warm welcome. Armory case was poorly developed, but they knew the tricks of hunting walruses and catching fur-bearing animals. Some scientists believe that the Dorset tribe had mastered the art of trading. More than one hundred years, they exchanged their neighbors copper and other rare items.
The native population is not a threat to them, and Viking explorers built in Tenfield Valley temporary camp for trade and hunting. In these parts the are many polar foxes, and they could exchange fur for pieces of treated wood, and small pieces of metal, suitable for grinding out sharp blades. The fur trade and other luxuries acquired serious proportions. Archaeological findings indicate that some Dorset family started doing animal skins, located a few kilometers from the Viking parking.
Ahead of me was a lot of work. So far it investigated only a small area of the valley Tenfield Valley. But archaeological finds is not all, the main thing how to interpret them. I accept to dig again. I am sure there it is still a lot of things hidden there, and we get to the truth!
I hope you have same fire in your heart to discover unknown moments in Human History and the most important, Vikings. I need you help to continue my research and find out the truth about Great Vikings.