Second Viking Outpost Discovered in Canada

Picture: John Charles Dollman (PD)

A new discovery may shed more light on the early presence of Vikings in North America.

While digging in the ruins of a centuries-old building on Baffin Island (map), far above the Arctic Circle, a team led by (Dr. Patricia) Sutherland, adjunct professor of archaeology at Memorial University in Newfoundland and a research fellow at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, found some very intriguing whetstones. Wear grooves in the blade-sharpening tools bear traces of copper alloys such as bronze—materials known to have been made by Viking metalsmiths but unknown among the Arctic’s native inhabitants.

Taken together with her earlier discoveries, Sutherland’s new findings further strengthen the case for a Viking camp on Baffin Island. “While her evidence was compelling before, I find it convincing now,” said James Tuck, professor emeritus of archaeology, also at Memorial University.

Sharpen your axe, sing your Immigrant Song, and click here to continue.

, , ,

  • kowalityjesus

    Europeans are just desperate to find street cred in the New World aren’t they?

    No but seriously, that is an awesome find. Given the Baffin is such a giant, giant place, it is rather coincidental that the only outpost of its kind would have been located. Next you need to look in the DNA of the local indigenous to see if there’s any genetic relic left behind, quick! before they interbreed!

  • kowalityjesus

    Europeans are just desperate to find street cred in the New World aren’t they?

    No but seriously, that is an awesome find. Given the Baffin is such a giant, giant place, it is rather coincidental that the only outpost of its kind would have been located. Next you need to look in the DNA of the local indigenous to see if there’s any genetic relic left behind, quick! before they interbreed!

    • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

      The Vikings probably got wiped out. They didn’t play nice with others. Not a smart idea to piss off people who hunt whales from a wooden kayak, in the Arctic ocean, with a hand made spear.

      Vikings were pretty bad ass but not if you are used to fighting Polar bears with hand tools.

      A caste- less society of independent hunters is a little harder to deal with than villages full of peasants with a few warriors living off of them like the Vikings encountered in Europe.

      Weston A Price said the Inuit were the physically strongest people group he studied, before they adopted a Western starch based diet. A culture of just about purely carnivorous people.

      So that’s my theory. The Vikings got tired of getting their asses hand it to them so that’s why no permanent foot hold in North America. It was the germs that got them in the end.

    • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

      The Vikings probably got wiped out. They didn’t play nice with others. Not a smart idea to piss off people who hunt whales from a wooden kayak, in the Arctic ocean, with a hand made spear.

      Vikings were pretty bad ass but not if you are used to fighting Polar bears with hand tools.

      A caste- less society of independent hunters is a little harder to deal with than villages full of peasants with a few warriors living off of them like the Vikings encountered in Europe.

      Weston A Price said the Inuit were the physically strongest people group he studied, before they adopted a Western starch based diet. A culture of just about purely carnivorous people.

      So that’s my theory. The Vikings got tired of getting their asses hand it to them so that’s why no permanent foot hold in North America. It was the germs that got them in the end.

      • kowalityjesus

        very interesting theory, it kind of goes along with the legend of Leif Ericsson in Newfoundland where they encountered natives and had big problems. I’ve also read of an explorer looking for the Northwest passage, John Davis, after whom the water between Greenland and Baffin are named. He had little luck with the warlike natives; a party sent ashore that was explicitly told NOT to land where the natives were, was coaxed in by friendly gestures and never seen or heard from again. There was actually something of a battle between Inuit in kayaks with bows and English in the tall ship with guns and bows. Pretty freakin ballsy. Your theory is probably completely right!

        • Skittles

          If not for the diseases that caused so much death throughout the indigenous populations of north and south america, the europeans would have had a much harder time claiming it for their own, and they may not have been able to colonize at all. Strange how something as simple as a virus can change the entire course of human history so greatly.

          • Matt Staggs

            If you haven’t read it already, Charles C. Mann’s “1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus” explores this very topic. Great book.

          • Ted Heistman

            I think European culture is based on Fedudalism. A legacy of Feudalism remains to this day. Which requires a large population of fairly docile peasants. It was a caste society. Power concentrated at the top. But there are large advantages to mobilizing these peasants in order to create wealth and War Machines.
            So the “average European” would be a peasant. Collectively they can create powerful War machines, which is what each little fiefdom or Kingdom was. Individually though, peasants are weak. They eat gruel, toil in the fields, believe bullshit superstition meant to keep them enslaved to power. They are alienated from displaying aggression.
            Wheras individually an indiginous hunter, living in band society, is a powerful person comparatively to a peasant. More equal to a member of the European warrior caste, though with less of a massive support structure behind them. The most support they would have is a wife sewing their clothes.
            So it would be a tall order to conquer North America. You can’t conquer free independant people as easily as you can peasants. With peasants its just matter of “meet the new boss same as the old boss”
            I think bringing people under feudalism is akin to a human domestication event. And not all animals can be tamed.

21