Saturday, February 25, 2017

Rewrite the history books

The "meme" was that Greenland's Vikings died out because they were too stupid to adjust their way of life when the climate changed, and refused to learn how to live from hunting seals as did the local Eskimos.

Well, not really.

Smithsonian magazine reports on more recent findings.

In the earliest days of the settlements, Smiarowski says, the study found that marine animals made up 30 to 40 percent of the Norse diet. The percentage steadily climbed, until, by the end of the settlement period, 80 percent of the Norse diet came from the sea. Beef eventually became a luxury, most likely because the volcano-induced climate change made it vastly more difficult to raise cattle in Greenland.

what happened was that the ivory trade, which was their way of buying necessities, collapsed due to migration pattern change due to global cooling, the economic collapse following the Black death in Europe (although it probably didn't reach Greenland), and opening of African ivory trade. In other words, globalization.

So did they emigrate? Did they get killed by storms when they hunted/fished, or tried to migrate? Or just die off? or all three?

One clue: The dead were buried, not found in abandoned farms, and the empty houses didn't show objects of value left behind, suggesting they took stuff with them.

more HERE.

"During the same time period, a lot of Norse settlements in Iceland and northern Norway were being abandoned, but nobody writes big books about that," Lynnerup says. "I'm not sure that the Norse saw Greenland as being very different from the fjords they came from in Norway, and leaving it was no more stressful than abandoning a hamlet in Norway." His theory: In the 1300s and 1400s, Greenland's youths voted with their feet, leaving until the colony could no longer support itself. The last few left.

but like the Easter Island "they died off because they were stupid" meme, it is a bit more complicated when you look at the evidence.

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