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Celtic - Norse Greenland?

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    Posted: 01 May 2010 at 19:14

A recent research project in Greenland may perhaps change our view of the old norse settlement there a bit. The genetic part of it seems to indicate a very mixed "celtic" - (it is not vey clea from the webpage if it is mainly Irish, scottish or perhaps "shetland - Orkney") norse ancestry. So perhaps there was not so much a mass - exodus of "norse" people from Norway to the North Atlantic, since after all even then norway may have been one of the least populated countries in all Europe. The population seems to have been very mobile perhaps with different "homes" for different seasons. Perhaps an indication they were not after all so "inflexible" and unable to "adapt" as some perhaps think. Perhaps they did not "perished" but moved after some centuries?

Then I may add sometimes one get an impression parts of northern Europe of the time before 1000 were inhabited by some strange "viking" population, from "planet viking" and alien to the surrounding peoples and societies.Perhaps the truth may be less "exotic"?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 May 2010 at 15:18
Fantassus, I don't think that anyone has ever denied that Celt women and slaves were taken by the Vikings, and thus entered the Norse genetic pool. Shades of Somerled.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 May 2010 at 08:04
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:

Fantassus, I don't think that anyone has ever denied that Celt women and slaves were taken by the Vikings, and thus entered the Norse genetic pool. Shades of Somerled.
No, but it is a question of scale, and from what i read I got the strong impression the "mixing" may have been underestimated (it was not directly stated they mainly were of irish/scottish ancestry with some scandinavian contribution). But there has been hypotheses the norse "died out" because they did not "adapt to the environment".  The results I think did not support that idea. My impression is that both then and later the peoples of especially the norhtern parts of Europe used local environmental opportunities.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Styrbiorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 May 2010 at 20:58
I'm not sure what your saying. Is this assumption correct: you say that because of mixed DNA, the hypothesis of dieing out due to bad adaption is invalid?
If so, I don't see that there would be any correlation whatsoever.

The maybe most supported idea of the disappearance of the Greenland Norse is that they adapted to the environmental change by resettling to Iceland.

Generally, I have to admit I'm confused by the thread topic.


Edited by Styrbiorn - 03 May 2010 at 20:58
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2010 at 03:00
Originally posted by Styrbiorn Styrbiorn wrote:

I'm not sure what your saying. Is this assumption correct: you say that because of mixed DNA, the hypothesis of dieing out due to bad adaption is invalid?
If so, I don't see that there would be any correlation whatsoever.

The maybe most supported idea of the disappearance of the Greenland Norse is that they adapted to the environmental change by resettling to Iceland.

Generally, I have to admit I'm confused by the thread topic.
Then You misunderstood. I perhaps did not made it very clear the mentioned research project were not only about the ancestry of the greenlanders, but about how they lived as well (they seems to have moved a lot, perhaps seasonally). Of course You are right that they could have such a lifestyle whatever they ancestry may be.
But my reaction was that such "nomadism" (perhaps not in the proper sense) seems to indicate they changed their "lifestyle" to fit the natural environment, though I have read they probably disappeared exactly because they "could not adapt"  to the arctic conditions.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2010 at 13:54
What little I know about the Norse in Greenland is mostly from Jared Diamond. As I recall, after laying the basis for his argument that Greenland is an environment that teeters on the edge of habitability, he points out earlier peoples than the Inuit who had died out when the climate again turned too cold. And then points out that Norse settlement took place during one of  Greenland's warmer periods, followed by the arrival of the Inuit as far South as where the Norse were, followed by the arrival of another deep cold cycle, during which the Norse died out and the Inuit, with skill sets that their historical predecessors did not have, managed to hold on. It is always possible that during one of those earlier warm periods, other Europeans had arrived, and the Irish, or more properly the genetic group that later became the Irish, inhabited parts of Greenland during such a period. If the Greenland icecap melts, there is certainly the possibility of some interesting discoveries.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Styrbiorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2010 at 19:33
Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

Then You misunderstood. I perhaps did not made it very clear the mentioned research project were not only about the ancestry of the greenlanders, but about how they lived as well (they seems to have moved a lot, perhaps seasonally). Of course You are right that they could have such a lifestyle whatever they ancestry may be.
But my reaction was that such "nomadism" (perhaps not in the proper sense) seems to indicate they changed their "lifestyle" to fit the natural environment, though I have read they probably disappeared exactly because they "could not adapt"  to the arctic conditions.

What kind of "nomadism" are we talking about here? It is well-known they regularly sailed to America for resources such as wood, but I suspect you are talking about seasonal relocation of the whole population?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 May 2010 at 03:29
Originally posted by Styrbiorn Styrbiorn wrote:

Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

Then You misunderstood. I perhaps did not made it very clear the mentioned research project were not only about the ancestry of the greenlanders, but about how they lived as well (they seems to have moved a lot, perhaps seasonally). Of course You are right that they could have such a lifestyle whatever they ancestry may be.
But my reaction was that such "nomadism" (perhaps not in the proper sense) seems to indicate they changed their "lifestyle" to fit the natural environment, though I have read they probably disappeared exactly because they "could not adapt"  to the arctic conditions.

What kind of "nomadism" are we talking about here? It is well-known they regularly sailed to America for resources such as wood, but I suspect you are talking about seasonal relocation of the whole population?
What I read about lately was a "surplus" of buildings, that lead researchers to conclude they could not all be for permanent residence. That in turn leads to the most likely conclusions people may have migrated, perhaps seasonally. An obvious thing to do with large differences between seasons I think.
As I understood it it was internal greenlandic "nomadism" that was discussed. The project is as I understand from the last 5 years.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jams Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2010 at 06:36
I guess it's because most of them came from Iceland, which is partly of British Isles descend. Some of them came from Norway, via Iceland, so they weren't all partially "Celtic". 
 Fantasus, do you have any particular reference?


Edited by Jams - 07 May 2010 at 06:36
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2010 at 08:18
Originally posted by Jams Jams wrote:

I guess it's because most of them came from Iceland, which is partly of British Isles descend. Some of them came from Norway, via Iceland, so they weren't all partially "Celtic". 
 Fantasus, do you have any particular reference?
Not in english, so far (www.videnskab.dk).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jams Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2010 at 09:04
No worries, I'm Danish, coincidently. The "location" was somehow missing in my profile, but I've put it back. I don't know why it was gone?

I can't find the article, though?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Styrbiorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2010 at 19:32
Could you post a direct link?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2010 at 20:25
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Styrbiorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2010 at 22:06
So they are saying that basicly people had several farms which they moved to, sort of a desperate version of crop rotation in poor soil. Makes sense. I didn't quite get if the separate homesteads were used for farming or grazing though. In Norway and North Sweden it was common to have separate summer houses in the high lands where the cattle was taken to in the warm seasons. 

Edited by Styrbiorn - 07 May 2010 at 22:08
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