Friday, 11 January 2013

Archaeologists Find Clues to Viking Mystery

Until now, many experts had assumed that the cooling of the climate and the resulting crop failures and famines had ushered in the end of the Scandinavian colony. But now a Danish-Canadian team of scientists believes that it can refute this theory of decline. 
Here, archaeologists dig up skeletons in Greenland.

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.

On Sept. 14, 1408, Thorstein Olafsson and Sigrid Bj√∂rnsdottir were married. The ceremony took place in a church on Hvalsey Fjord in Greenland that was only five meters (about 16 feet) tall. 

It must have been difficult for the bride and groom to recognize each other in the dim light of the church. The milky light of late summer could only enter the turf-roofed church through an arched window on the east side and a few openings resembling arrow slits. After the ceremony, the guests fortified themselves with seal meat.

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