Wednesday 29 June 2011

Dinghies to cover Vikings' route from Wick to Arctic

An adventurer is leading a group of seven on a quest to follow the Vikings' route by sea from Scotland to the Arctic Circle - in inflatable boats.

Pete Goss, from Cornwall, will set off later from Wick, northern Scotland, heading off to the rocky coasts of Norway and then the Arctic.

He said he hoped to complete the route, in his 20ft dinghy, in six days.

It is believed to be the first time the route has been battled in such a small inflatable boat.

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Monday 27 June 2011

Workers find ancient burial ground

Ancient skeletal remains have been uncovered by contractors working on the largest energy project in the country.

The unrecorded burial ground was discovered on farmland in Rush, north Dublin, as EirGrid laid piping for a high voltage direct current (HVDC) underground power line.

Several skulls and bones were recovered on the strip of land near Rogerstown estuary, which locals historians believe could date back to the Vikings in the 9th century.

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Sunday 26 June 2011

Are Vikings the next pop-culture fetish?

Is there room at the pop culture inn for Vikings? MGM sure hopes so. The formerly financially distressed studio has green lit an Irish-Canadian co-production of Vikings, a 10-episode drama series.

Produced by Michael Hirst and Morgan O’Sullivan, who have previously created The Tudors and Camelot, the series will focus on a Viking hero, Ragnar Lodbrok, who captured Paris, and be set in the 8th to 11th century.

Possibly building on the current twin pop culture successes of the recently-released film Thor and HBO’s adaptation of fantasy series, Game of Thrones, producers might feel that the warriors might get a chance in the sun. To be fair, Thrones is not exactly Viking-based, and Thor is definitely Marvel’s view of Norse mythology

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Saturday 25 June 2011

Did climate change cause Greenland's ancient Viking community to collapse?

Our changing climate usually appears to be a very modern problem, yet new research from Greenland published in Boreas, suggests that the AD 1350 collapse of a centuries old colony established by Viking settlers may have been caused by declining temperatures and a rise in sea-ice. The authors suggest the collapse of the Greenland Norse presents a historical example of a society which failed to adapt to climate change.

The research, led by Dr Sofia Ribeiro from the University of Copenhagen, currently at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, focused on Disko Bay in Western Greenland and used a marine sediment record to reconstruct climate change over the last 1500 years.

Events which occurred during this time frame included the arrival of Norse settlers, led by Eric the Red in AD 985. After establishing a colony known as the Western Settlement the Norse traveled north to Disko Bay, a prime hunting ground for walruses and seals.

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Tuesday 14 June 2011

Professor Disputes Earlier Settlement in Iceland

The debate continues in Iceland on new evidence found in archeological research that there may have been people in Iceland before the “official” date of 874. In Hafnir remains of dwellings have been found, that may built earlier than that date.

This is not the first research of this type. Physicist Páll Theodórsson has written about a number of findings where C14 research has indicated burned wood that may be from the seventh century, hence placing men in Iceland 200 years before the “first” settler.

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Sunday 5 June 2011

New View on the Origin of First Settlers in Iceland

An archeological find in Hafnir on the Reykjanes peninsula (close to Keflavík Airport) may indicate that some men had started to come to Iceland before the year 874 AD, the year that has traditionally been considered the first year Nordic men came to Iceland to stay.

Archeologist dr. Bjarni F. Einarsson says that research at Hafnir indicate ruins of a cabin (Icelandic: Skáli) built well before the traditional year of origin of settlement.

“Usually when we find a cabin in Iceland we assume it is an ordinary farm, but then you should find outhouses as well. A thorough search by various means no other houses are found near the cabin and that makes one wonder what type of house it may have been.”

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Wednesday 1 June 2011

Viking treasure looters found guilty

Tuesday saw the conclusion of a groundbreaking trial against five men charged with aggravated crime against relics following the looting of Viking age coins and artefacts on the Baltic island of Gotland.

“This verdict is unique. It is the first time that anyone has been found guilty of aggravated crime against relics since the law was made more severe on these cases in 1991,“ said Marie-Louise Hellqvist of the County Administrative Board (Länsstyrelsen) to local paper Gotlands Tidningar.

In November last year the police recovered a silver treasure dating back to the 11th century stolen from a field in Gandarve, Alva on Gotland in 2009.

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Vikings forced out of Greenland by 'cold climate that saw temperatures plunge by 4C in just 80 years'

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

Researchers reconstructed temperatures by examining lake sediment cores in west Greenland dating back 5,600 years.

Their findings indicated that earlier, pre-historic settlers also had to contend with vicious swings in climate on icy Greenland.

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Arcus adds a Viking twist to its liquor

Arcus, a Norwegian liquor producer, was out in the Norwegian woods recently to look for the same herbs that the Vikings used to make their liquor.

Pors is the name of the herb that apparently had such a strong effect on King Harald Hårfagre that he simply forgot to rule the country for about three years, according to the Snorre Saga. Now, a busload of Arcus employees finds the plant so fascinating that they want to produce liquor with it.

“Our goal is not to make people go crazy from drinking pors liquor,” says Hege Ramseng, chief of information at Arcus. “We only want to use this herb to add flavor to liquor that goes well with food, for example, aquavit.”

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Climate played big role in Viking disappearance from Greenland

The end of the Norse settlements on Greenland likely will remain shrouded in mystery. While there is scant written evidence of the colony’s demise in the 14th and early 15th centuries, archaeological remains can fill some of the blanks, but not all.

What climate scientists have been able to ascertain is that an extended cold snap, called the Little Ice Age, gripped Greenland beginning in the 1400s. This has been cited as a major cause of the Norse’s disappearance. Now researchers led by Brown University show the climate turned colder in an earlier span of several decades, setting in motion the end of the Greenland Norse. Their findings appear in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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