27 March 2010

Medieval Viking Propensity to Assimilate

As I have noted in earlier posts, some of the medieval Greenland Norse assimilated with the natives of North America at least as early as the 12th century. I believe it will eventually be proven that this process began soon after the Norse settlements were founded on Greenland in 986 by Eirik Thorvaldsson.

It seems that assimilation with the native peoples also began occurring with their Viking brethren on the European continent by the 11th century. After a couple generations of conflict they stopped returning to the homeland.

They began to permanently settle with the inhabitants of lands that they conquered and/or traded with from Ireland to Russia, adopting their languages and customs. Researchers at the universities of Leicester and Nottingham, in England, recently found that up to half the DNA from men in northwest England matches Scandinavian genetic types. Raiders or Traders? Andrew Curry, (Smithsonian Magazine, New York, NY, July 2008 - 29).

To check the proliferation of the Norse DNA Haplogroup throughout the medieval world, I recommend clicking on the link to an excellent WIKI article on the subject: R1a1

The Viking Age endured about 400-years. During these centuries the men gradually stopped returning to the homelands at the conclusion of each summer's season of raiding and trading. The distances became too great, the voyages too hazardous as the Mini-Ice Age settled over their areas of influence in the northern hemisphere.

The process of assimilation throughout the Viking World, from Constantinople and North Africa, across the North Atlantic Ocean to Greenland and L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland finally ensured that the sun would set on the young men who had gone iviking.

J. A. Hunsinger, Vinland Publishing, http://www.vinlandpublishing.com/
©2010 Jerry A. Hunsinger, All Rights Reserved

24 March 2010

Authors: to get answers to the legalities concerning your craft, consider free membership in IPALLY.

19 March 2010

Confrontation-A Rousing Tale of the Greenland Vikings

“For readers who enjoy the historical fiction genre, Axe of Iron is a must-have. The descriptive writing makes you feel as though you are a part of the journey.” Tracy Roberts, Write Field Services, Lunenberg, Nova Scotia


Axe of Iron: Confrontation is the second novel in the continuing story of Halfdan and his lieutenant, Gudbjartur and the band of adventuresome souls who set sail from Greenland in the spring of 1008 determined to establish a new home across the western ocean.

Standing in their way are uncounted numbers of indigenous people, the pre-historical ancestors of the Cree (Naskapi), Ojibwa (Anishinabeg), and Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) Indians. From the outset, these native people strenuously resist the incursion of these tall, pale-skinned invaders.

Two calamitous events occur that pave the way from the hostile beginnings to a scenario that seems ordained by the will of the gods. The way is rocky and fraught with danger at every turn. It all has a thin chance to fall into place because of a budding friendship between a Northman and a Naskapi war chief brought about by an affair of honor. Acceptance by the natives is the only way the Northmen will survive.

14 March 2010

First book review Confrontation a tale of the Vikings.

Axe of Iron: Confrontation by J. A. Hunsinger -- Book Review

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Axe of Iron: Confrontation by J. A. Hunsinger -- Book Review

The epic saga of the Northmen continues in Axe of Iron: Confrontation by J.A. Hunsinger.

The second book in the Axe of Iron series picks up where the first book, Axe of Iron: The Settlers, left us. It is the late summer of 1008, and while the settlement at Halfdansfjord is flourishing, the uncounted numbers of indigenous peoples--the Naskapi, Anishinabeg, and Haudenosaunee Indians--have violently resisted the arrival of these pale-skinned invaders.

An ill-fated hunting trip, a blending of cultures, friendship with a tribe of Naskapi, the capture and eventual acceptance of a young boy of the Northmen by his Haudenosaunee captors, and an event that seems destined by the gods, leave the Northmen's fate hanging in the balance.

Can their developing relationship with the native tribes pave the way for the Northmen to survive in Vinland?

As with Axe of Iron: The Settlers--which we reviewed here--Hunsinger uses his wealth of knowledge and years of study to bring the Northmen and their adventures to life. Halfdan Ingolfsson and his second in command, Gudbjartur Einarsson, continue to lead the settlers in Halfdansfjord to what they hope is a prosperous life in Vinland.

Readers, who will recognize many of the names and characters from the first novel, are treated to watching these people develop and change as they meet the challenges of their lives in this new place; a place that is filled with hope and danger.

In Confrontation, we begin to see the blending of cultures as Thora of the Northmen marries Deskaheh the Haudenosaunee, who had once been captured by the Northmen, but who is now considered a member of their tribe. While Halfdan and Gudbjartur hope commitments such as these will allow the indiginous tribes and Northmen to better understand each other, they cannot let their guard down for a single moment. Hunsinger captures well, the dangerous situation in which the Northmen find themselves on a daily basis.

The Foreword provides important information for the reader, in addition to sharing a brief synopsis of what happened in Axe of Iron: The Settlers. Also included is a Glossary of Norse and Native Terminology to define terms that readers might find unfamiliar.

I found that as soon as I finished Confrontation, I was eager to continue reading the story of the Northmen. Luckily, Hunsinger also includes a short excerpt of the next Axe of Iron novel, Assimilation, which appears to be just as exciting as the previous two installments.

Readers of historical fiction are sure to be drawn in by this sweeping epic of the Northmen.

Title: Axe of Iron: Confrontation

Author: J.A. Hunsinger

Publisher: Vinland Publishing

ISBN-10: 0980160154

ISBN-13: 978-0980160154

SRP: $16.95

Note: This blogger was paid to copy edit this manuscript. No payment was received to provide a review of the book.

Posted by Cheryl at 1:53 PM

Labels: Axe of Iron: Confrontation, Axe of Iron: The Settlers, book reviews, historical fiction, J.A. Hunsinger, Norse history, Viking history

07 March 2010

Axe of Iron: Confrontation, a novel, was released last week at AtlasBooks and Amazon.

04 March 2010

Vikings In Nunavut

The following article appeared in the Calgary Herald last summer. It supports my contention that much has happened on this continent that we know nothing about. My interest is the Greenland Norse and I commend archaeologist Pat Sutherland, chief of Arctic Archaeology, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Ottawa, ON, Canada, for her findings and her work in the Arctic. Unlike another archaeologist, Robert Park, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, Sunderland approached the find with an open mind. Unfortunately, Park sounds like the majority of his ilk. He disagrees for two obvious reasons: he did not make the discovery, and his mind is closed to anything he disagrees with.
As others comb the Arctic and northern Canada for clues about the disappearance of the Greenland Norse settlers, their findings will add credence to my beliefs on the subject: the Norse settlers did not disappear, they assimilated with the pre-historical natives of eastern Canada and the north central United States.
Vikings in Nunavut?

Find may indicate medieval Norse presence on Baffin Island

By Randy Boswell, Canwest News Service May 26, 2009

This May 26 handout photo shows a Nanook archeological site on Baffin Island. Traces of a stone-and-sod wall found at the site, if confirmed, would represent only the second location in the New World where Norse seafarers -- popularly known as Vikings -- built a dwelling.

Photograph by: P. Sutherland, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Canwest News ServiceOne of Canada's top Arctic archeologists says the remnants of a stone-and-sod wall unearthed on southern Baffin Island may be traces of a shelter built more than 700 years ago by Norse seafarers — a stunning find that would be just the second location in the New World with evidence of a Viking-built structure.

The tantalizing signs of a possible medieval Norse presence in Nunavut were found at the previously examined Nanook archeological site, about 200 km southwest of Iqaluit, where people of the now-extinct Dorset culture once occupied a stretch of Hudson Strait shoreline.

A UNESCO World Heritage site at northern Newfoundland's L'Anse aux Meadows — about 1,500 km southeast of the Nanook dig — is the only confirmed location of a Viking settlement in North America. There, about 1,000 years ago, it's believed a party of Norse voyagers from Greenland led by Leif Eiriksson built several sod-and-wood dwellings before abandoning their colonization attempt under threat from hostile natives they called "Skraelings."

But over the past 10 years, research teams led by the Canadian Museum of Civilization's chief of Arctic archeology, Pat Sutherland, have compiled evidence from field studies and archived collections that strongly suggests the Norse presence in northern Canada didn't end with Eiriksson's retreat from Newfoundland.

At three sites on Baffin Island, which the Norse called "Helluland" or "land of stone slabs", and at another in northern Labrador, the researchers have documented dozens of suspected Norse artifacts such as Scandinavian-style spun yarn, distinctively notched and decorated wood objects and whetstones for sharpening knives and axes.

A single human tooth from one of the sites was tested a few years ago for possible European DNA, but the results were inconclusive.

Among the new artifacts found near the sod-and-stone features at Nanook is a whalebone spade — consistent with tools found at Norse sites in Greenland, and which might have been used to cut sections of turf for the shelter.

There is also evidence at Nanook of what appears to be a rock-lined drainage system comparable to ones found at proven Viking sites.

The apparent "architectural elements" found at the site "still have to be confirmed," Sutherland told Canwest News Service. "They're definitely anomalous for Dorset culture. And when you see these things in connection with Norse artifacts, it suggests that there may have been some kind of a shore station."

Sutherland's theory is that Norse sailors continued to travel between Greenland and Arctic Canada for generations after the failed colonization bid in Newfoundland. She believes they encountered and possibly traded with the Dorset, ancient aboriginals who were later overrun — probably before 1400 A.D. — by the eastward-migrating Thule ancestors of modern Inuit.

The theory is a controversial one.

University of Waterloo archeologist Robert Park recently challenged the dating of artifacts and Sutherland's interpretations of evidence in a paper published by the journal Antiquity.

Park argues that the "most plausible explanation" for Norse-like traces at Nanook and other sites is that "none of these traits come from Dorset-European contact."

He suggests such items may have been developed without any Norse influence by the ancient indigenous inhabitants of northern Canada.

"Despite the difficulty of proving a negative — i.e. establishing that Dorset did not come into contact with the Norse — on the basis of these data there appears to be no convincing archeological evidence that contact occurred," Park concludes.

Sutherland insists that while proof of Norse-Dorset interaction isn't overwhelming, there are now "several lines of evidence" pointing to sustained contact. And she notes that the kind of "boulders and turf" structural feature observed at Nanook is "atypical for Dorset" and consistent with Norse culture.

"I think in any scientific field, when something new comes along that hasn't been given much consideration in the past, it generates debate," she said.

Sutherland, whose research is also featured in the current issue of Canadian Geographic, said a scientific paper summarizing a decade's worth of work on the national museum's Helluland project is due to be published in August.

Further field work at a Dorset site in northern Labrador is scheduled for 2010, she added.

© Copyright (c) Canwest News Service