Monday, 6 February 2012

Viking barley in Greenland

The Vikings are both famous and notorious for their liking of beer and mead and archaeologists have discussed for years whether Eric the Red (ca 950-1010) and his followers had to make do without the golden drink when they settled in Greenland around the year 1,000:  The climate was mild when they landed, but was it warm enough for growing barley?

Researchers from the National Museum in Copenhagen say the answer to the question is ‘yes’. In a unique find, they uncovered tiny fragments of charred barley grains in a Viking midden on Greenland.

The find is final proof that the first Vikings to live in Greenland did grow barley – the most important ingredient in making a form of porridge, baking bread and of course in brewing beer, traditionally seen as the staple foods in the Vikings’ diet.

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