limate scientists have been examining the past
environments and archaeological remains of Norse Greenland, Iceland and
North Atlantic Islands for several years. They have been particularly
interested in the end period of the settlements in the early part of the
Little Ice Age
(1300-1870 CE) and have been able to analyse how well the Norse
responded to changes in economy, trade, politics and technology,
against a backdrop of changing climate.
They found that Norse societies fared best by keeping their options
open when managing their long-term sustainability, adapting their trade
links, turning their backs on some economic options and acquiring food
from a variety of wild and farmed sources. Researchers say their
findings could help inform decisions on how modern society responds to
global challenges but also warns of inherent instabilities that do not
directly link to climate.
In the middle ages, people in Iceland embraced economic changes
sweeping Europe, developed trading in fish and wool and endured hard
times to build a flourishing sustainable society. In Greenland, however,
medieval communities maintained traditional Viking trade in prestige
goods such as walrus ivory.
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