Ancient Vikings Settled Greenland for the IvoryBreaking News
tags: Greenland, Vikings, Archeology, Ivory
After Erik the Red killed his enemies in Iceland, he found himself banished and sailing westward. Around 985 CE, Erik settled his family on an unexplored island, and, in what is widely regarded as the first act of real estate branding, named the place “Greenland,” hoping to attract other Vikings with the implicit promise of rich farmland. But as archaeologists are now learning, Erik may have been better off naming the place “Walrusland.”
Scholars have long thought that Erik’s branding deception worked, and that Vikings flocked to Greenland to set up farms—even though the growing season is short and raising livestock difficult. Archaeologist Thomas McGovern and colleagues, however, are testing a new idea: that Vikings settled Greenland to provide European markets with luxury trade goods such as furs, eiderdown, hides, and walrus tusk ivory.
As new research suggests, it does appear that walrus hunting, not farming, was the main source of prosperity for many of the Vikings—an estimated 3,000 at peak population—who chose to eke out a living on the farthest fringe of European culture.
comments powered by Disqus
- 131-Year-Old Confederate Statue Removed From Alexandria Intersection
- All the History I Learned in my Youth Came from the American Girl Doll Books
- Is This the Worst Year in Modern American History?
- Role-Playing Games are Breathing New Life into the History Classroom
- Dallas Awarded $50,000 to Preserve Civil Rights History
- What Is Antifa, the Movement Trump Wants to Declare a Terror Group?
- Confronting the History of a Southern Asylum: An Interview With Mab Segrest
- Nazi or Hero? Historian Looks at the Stories a German Consultant Told of His Father
- History, Right Now: Echoes of 1968, and Other American Years
- Don't Assume There'll be a 'Post-COVID-19 Era' - Historian Niall Ferguson Tells World vs Virus