Tuesday 31 May 2011

Greenland cold snap linked to Viking disappearance

A cold snap in Greenland in the 12th century may help explain why Viking settlers vanished from the island, scientists said on Monday.

The report, reconstructing temperatures by examining lake sediment cores in west Greenland dating back 5,600 years, also indicated that earlier, pre-historic settlers also had to contend with vicious swings in climate on icy Greenland.

"Climate played (a) big role in Vikings' disappearance from Greenland," Brown University in the United States said in a statement of a finding that average temperatures plunged 4 degrees Celsius (7F) in 80 years from about 1100.

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Wednesday 25 May 2011

EXCLUSIVE: Recreated Viking longship to sail to Wirral on maiden voyage

A RECONSTRUCTION of a Viking longship claimed to be the biggest ever built will sail to Wirral on its maiden voyage.

Construction work on the 35 metre Draken Harald Hårfagre – Dragon Harald Fairhair in English – started last summer in Haugesund, Norway.

After a series of test sailings it will embark on its first real voyage in summer 2013, following the path of the Vikings from Scandinavia via the British Isles to Istanbul.

Wirral will be one of the first stops and organisers are now looking for 80 volunteers who can help row the boat into harbour.

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Thursday 19 May 2011

Surprise Archeological Find from Iceland’s Settlement

Archeological remains that were found during an excavation in Urridakot in Gardabaer, a neighboring town of Reykjavík, were much older than archeologists had assumed. They date back to the settlement of Iceland in the 9th century AD while Urridakot is first mentioned in written sources from the 16th century.

Excavation has been ongoing in Urridakot in the past years because of planned construction in the area. In 2006 the local authorities asked the Institute of Archaeology to fully complete the registration of archeological remains within the town limits, Fréttabladid reports.

“The first test dig was made in Urridakot in 2007 and last year the excavation was to be completed at which point I decided to dig in the area between those that had been tested,” said archeologist Ragnheidur Traustadóttir.

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Wednesday 18 May 2011

New power elite emerged in medieval Iceland as it became Norwegian

As Iceland became part of the Norwegian kingship 1262–1264, a new power structure in the shape of an Icelandic aristocracy appointed by the king of Norway was established. This development is discussed in a doctoral thesis in History from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, that sheds light on a period in the Icelandic history that previously has not received its due attention.

“The 14th century has never received a great deal of attention in Icelandic history writing. This is surprising since this period is at least as important as the considerably more frequently discussed so-called Free State period (around 930–1262/64) when Iceland was autonomous, especially considering the country’s state formation process,” says the author of the thesis Sigríður Beck.

Before becoming Norwegian, the country consisted of a number of territories ruled by chiefs who were constantly competing for power. Sigríður Beck has studied how the Icelandic power elite changed as the island became part of Norway and new offices and a new administration were introduced. Beck shows how an aristocracy was established as the king appointed officers who were to ensure that the country was administered according to Norwegian law.

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Sunday 15 May 2011

Viking ship not just ceremonial

For years, it was widely believed that the ancient Tune ship on display at the Viking Ships Museum in Oslo was used mainly as a so-called “grave ship,” perhaps even built for the purpose of being buried in the grave of an important Viking. Now a new doctoral dissertation claims that it was not only an ocean-going sailing vessel, but even grounded in its time and underwent repairs.

The Tune ship is the lesser-known and in the poorest condition of the three vessels on display at the museum. It was discovered on a farm on Rolvsøy, north of Fredrikstad, and excavated from a burial mound in 1867.

The grave was unusually large, measuring 80 meters in diameter and around four meters high, according to the Museum of Cultural History at the University of Oslo. The vessel, built around 900AD, was best preserved in the areas where it had been buried under thick clay.

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Monday 9 May 2011

Viking shipyard found on Scottish island

nvestigations by marine archaeologists at Loch na h-Airde on Skye’s Rubh an Dunain peninsula by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) have uncovered the remains of a possible medieval shipyard, including boat timbers dating from the 1100s, a stone-built quay, a man-made entrance canal, and a blockage system designed to keep a constant water level in the Loch.

It is now believed that the site has been a focus for maritime activity for many centuries, from the Vikings to the MacAskill and Macleod clans of Skye. The loch and canal would likely have been used for the secure wintering of boats, along with their construction and maintenance.

Colin Martin, a marine archaeologist specialising in ship wrecks who is investigating Loch na h-Airde said, “This site has enormous potential to tell us about how boats were built, serviced and sailed on Scotland’s western seaboard in the medieval period – and perhaps during the early historic and prehistoric eras as well. There is no other site quite like this in Scotland.”

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Thursday 5 May 2011

Builders find Viking settlement in capital

A VIKING settlement has been uncovered in the heart of Dublin city centre.

Archaeologists uncovered the settlement on what was once an island in Temple Bar. It consists of two Viking homes and was found during excavations that started two weeks ago.

The find was made when work began to construct four retractable umbrellas at Meeting House Square to be used as shelter during outdoor events.

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Aerial surveys of Viking shipyard on Skye

Aerial surveys are being carried out over Skye to help archaeologists investigate a 12th Century Viking shipbuilding site.

Boat timbers, a stone-built quay and a canal have already been uncovered at Loch na h-Airde on Skye's Rubh an Dunain peninsula.

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) has launched the air surveys.

Staff hope to pinpoint new sites for investigation.

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12th Century Viking shipyard discovered

Archaeologists on Skye have found a Viking shipbuilding site including a quay, canal and boat timbers.

A 12th Century Viking shipbuilding site has been discovered by archaeologists on Skye.

Boat timbers, a stone-built quay and a canal have already been uncovered at Loch na h-Airde on Skye's Rubh an Dunain peninsula.

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS ) has now launched air surveys to find out more about the discovery. The staff hope to pinpoint new sites for investigation.

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Archaeologists find new Viking site in Temple Bar

A VIKING SETTLEMENT has been uncovered in Temple Bar during building work to build a retractable canopy over Meeting House Square.

The settlement is believed to have been originally situated on what would have been an island in the middle of the River Poddle but would have been destroyed by flood waters in the 10th or 11th century.

Dermot McLaughlin, CEO of the Temple Bar Cultural Trust, posted a video blog in March that a “medieval, timber structure” had been uncovered. Further archaeological investigations found the two Viking homes at Meeting House Square, in the centre of Temple Bar. Bits of pottery from a slightly later era were also found at the site, when it was uncovered two weeks ago.

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Wednesday 4 May 2011

Looted Viking treasure trial gets under way

Wednesday marked the first day in a groundbreaking trial against five men charged with aggravated crime against relics following the theft of over 1,000 silver coins and artefacts from the Viking age on the Baltic island of Gotland.

The court will reconvene on six occasions and it is the first time in Sweden that anyone is charged with aggravated crime against relics.

“That’s why this trial is important for the whole of Sweden”, said Majvor Östergren, archaeological administrator of Gotland's county administrative board, to local paper Gotlandstidningen.

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