31 May 2008

Much Speculative Information Is Accepted As Fact

It is possible to find a supporting opinion for any contention one wishes to make regarding the demise of Eiriksfjord and Lysufjord, the two known medieval Norse settlements on Greenland.

However, it is important to realize while postulating that they disappeared completely. No European ever saw a Norse Greenlander again. According to the only credible record extant, a visitor from the Catholic Church, quoting Church records, stated that, "They joined the natives of Vinland in 1342." Helge Ingstad, The Viking Discovery of America, (Checkmark Books, 2001) 177-178.

Is that contention true? I have no idea and neither does anyone else.

Wherever they went they apparently took what supplies they needed with them, leaving a few head of their livestock grazing the pastures. There were no ships, tools, bodies- nothing remained. Gwyn Jones, The North Atlantic Saga, (Oxford University Press, 1986) 95-111.

The present day Inuit Greenlanders have been found to have Norse genetic markers. Someday perhaps, it will become necessary to begin DNA studies of Cree, Ojibwa, and Iroquois Indians for one reason or another. I believe further studies of these select North America Indian groups will finally provide an answer for all of us who still care about what happened to the medieval Norse Greenlanders. http://www.vinlandpublishing.com/

29 May 2008

Climate Change on Medieval Greenland

The causal factors for the demise of the Norse settlements at Eiriksfjord and Lysufjord, Greenland, around the beginning of the 15th century are no doubt many and varied. The people remaining in the settlements on Greenland would have seen their lifestyle steadily deteriorate and indeed their very existence become threatened as their winter weather continued to worsen.

Why these few residents continued to hang-on is unknown and unfathomable because the end of life as they knew it on the island must have been apparent to them as the Medieval Warm Period--about 800-1300--wound down and their lifestyle became unsustainable. If they did actually remain until the beginning of the 15th century (1425), as some hypothesize, the winter weather must have been awesome as the Mini-Ice Age--about 1300-1850--had already held the island in its grip for some 125-years, or one quarter of the 500-year climate cycle.

Of all the single-cause explanations for the death of Norse Greenland, climate change has been the most durable. (Thomas McGovern, Vikings, The North Atlantic Saga, The Demise of Norse Greenland, 2000-Smithsonian Institution, 330-331.)

Another factor, one that had little affect on the Inuit, or the Tuniit of the Dorset Culture, was certainly the Norse culture itself. The Northmen stubbornly adhered to their unsustainable lifestyle in the face of horrific weather conditions. http://www.vinlandpublishing.com/

They would not have waited, to die alone in the darkness of the long winter. Those few remaining in the Eastern Settlement at Eirksfjord finally abandoned Greenland, perhaps joining the former residents of the Western Settlement at Lysufjord, in Vinland.

25 May 2008

Climate Change

The intent of the RTIR (Radio TV Interview Report) ad that I commissioned, was exposure for my Axe of Iron series of novels to media for the purpose of obtaining live radio/TV interviews. That has happened, however; not as I intended. The interest that has been generated has to do more with climate change and less with my novels, therefore I must set the record straight.

I am not an environmentalist. I am a writer of historical fiction novels that focus exclusively on the medieval Norse Greenlanders. They did have an issue with climate change and that is the only climate change in which I have an interest because it sealed their fate on Greenland. We now know the climatic periods in which they lived as the Medieval Warm Period (700-1200AD) and the Mini-Ice Age (1200-1800). The weather in the northern hemisphere during the Medieval Warm Period(Medieval Climate Optimum) made the Viking Age (793-1200) possible. The changing weather around the end of the period was a causal factor in the end of the Viking Age. The winter weather in the northern hemisphere during the Mini-Ice Age(Maunder Minimum) became positively savage, making shipborne travel in the North Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, and all of their environs, impossible in winter and dicey in summer. The savage winter weather in the 19th century was at least partially responsible for the failure of Napoleon's Russian campaign. All this information is historical fact--look it up, I did.

So, for those of you beating the drum of human-caused global climate change I hope this missive clarifies my position for you. We humans do not affect the global climate, or anything else on that scale. "What is man, that thou art mindful of him?" Psalm 8:4.
Climate is controlled by the sun, not Homo sapiens. Sun cycles occur approximately every eleven years. Weather is cyclical and always has been. During 2011-12, the earth will be bombarded by the most intense Solar Max--solar wind, plasma--perhaps in history. How will this affect the earth? Nobody knows for certain, but it won't be fun.

The two weather cycles I have noted each occupied approximately 500-year periods. Assuming this cyclical trend continues, the earth will be at the halfway point of this cycle in about 2130. Based on history this cycle will be warm and dry. Will the icecaps melt? Certainly, to some extent. They did during the last warm/dry period. Will the polar bears and walrus survive? Who knows? We humans can't help them in any case. They will survive, or not. That is the way of things.

Long before we humans arrived on the scene such cycles occurred; they will continue with or without us. So don't fall prey to self-serving politicians and scientists with an agenda. Use your head, the facts are available if you seek them out. The discipline is called solar physics in reference to the sun and climatology in reference to the earth. Check it out!

20 May 2008

Reader Reviews: Axe of Iron-The Settlers

Our first book has received a number of good reviews. Find out what others have said: http://vinlandpublishing.com/index.php?page_id=277

After you read our book, please share your review here!

01 May 2008

The Vikings Can Teach Us About Climate Change

Extinction was the price the Viking settlers of Greenland paid for ignoring impending climate change and failing to adapt to a changing environment. Will the same thing happen to us?

Residents of two flourishing Viking settlements between the tenth and fifteenth centuries, the Norse Greenlanders had vanished from history by about 1425. Author and amateur historian J. A. Hunsinger says the Greenlanders have much to teach us if we will only listen.

Among these lessons are:
- Be proactive. The Greenlanders probably expected the weather to improve. Instead it got worse. They did not adapt.
- Adopt a sustainable lifestyle. The Greenlanders continued European-farming practices that exhausted the land.
- Learn from others. The Tuniit, and later in the 12th century, the Inuit, indigenous inhabitants of Greenland, thrived while the Greenlanders stubbornly kept to their Old Country ways—starvation loomed.
- Prepare a fallback position. The Greenlanders’ failure to plan left them two options: either starve or attempt to find a new home across the ocean to the West.

Credentials: J. A. Hunsinger is a retired airline pilot and technical writer. He portrays Vikings in a manner relevant to modern audiences. As far back as he can remember he has felt a powerful link with his Norse ancestors and an overwhelming need to tell their story. His character-driven Axe of Iron book series are works of fiction. Axe of Iron—The Settlers, (Vinland Publishing, 2008), begins the saga.

He utilizes actual Norse archaeological discoveries and mysteries associated with the pre-historical ancestors of North American Indian tribes to substantiate his theory that the Greenland Vikings assimilated with the natives and settled in North America centuries before Columbus.

The medieval Norse Greenlanders did not linger on Greenland as the weather worsened with the coming Mini-Ice Age, most had already moved to North America by the beginning of the 14th century.

* Ad copy edited by J. A. Hunsinger, from the original by Liz Milner, RTIR