USA: Ruins of Viking Settlement Discovered near Hudson River

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Stony Point, NY | A team of landscaping workers, proceeding to an excavation near the banks of the Hudson river, has discovered the archeological remains of a Norse village dating from the 9th or 10th Century AD.

The workers were digging with a mechanical shovel near the shores of Minisceongo creek when they stumbled upon the ruins of an ancient building. A team of archaeologists linked to Columbia University was called to the site to inspect the findings, and they rapidly identified the site as a possible Viking settlement. They proceeded to extend the excavation, and have finally discovered the remains of six buildings.

The various structures are believed to have been constructed of sod, placed over a wooden frame. Based on the associated artifacts, the buildings were variously identified as four dwellings and two workshops. The largest dwelling measured 88 by 42 feet (26.8 by 12.8 meters) and consisted of several rooms, while two of the dwellings were much smaller and were identified as living quarters for lower-status crew or slaves. The two workshops for their part were identified as an iron smithy, containing a large forge, and a carpentry workshop.

It is unclear how many men and women lived at the site at any given time, but the archaeological evidence suggests it had the capacity of supporting between 30 to 100 individuals, and that the site was inhabited by the Norse for a relatively short period of time.

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The Norse smithy still contained the remains of 10th Century tools and a small quantity of raw iron ore.

During their search of the site, the archaeologists have discovered nine skeletons, who were identified as four adult males, two adult females and three children. Only one of the male warriors had been given a proper burial, being placed in a tomb with his weapon and belongings. The other skeletons showed traces of violent injuries and seemed to have been simply left on the site of their death by the killers.

Many clues discovered on the site suggest that the Vikings could have come into conflict with the indigenous people of the region. Besides the skeletons that were found, who were most likely killed in combat, the numerous remains of native American weapons found on the site suggest the colony suffered a large-scale attack by indigenous warriors.

Several artifacts were also found on the site, suggesting the inhabitants of the site who survived the attack, must have left hastily. These include a dozen of pieces of jewelry, like brooches, pins, and arm-rings, mostly made of silver and walrus ivory. The archaeologists also unearthed iron pots, potteries, oil lamps, tools, a whetstone, coins, as well as a few broken weapons and pieces of armor.

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Dozens of silex arrowheads were found all over the site, suggesting the settlement could have been attacked by the ancestors of the Lenape tribe.

The Vikings were Germanic Norse seafarers, speaking the Old Norse language, who raided and traded from their Scandinavian homelands across wide areas of northern and central Europe, as well as European Russia, during the late 8th to late 11th centuries.

Using their advanced seafaring skills and their famous longships, they created colonies and trading posts throughout the North Atlantic islands, navigating as far as the north-eastern coast of North America. Another short-lived Viking settlement was already discovered in 1960, in present-day L’Anse aux Meadows, located in the province Newfoundland and Labrador, in Canada. The remains of butternuts found on that site had indeed suggested that other settlements further south because these nuts do not grow naturally north of New Brunswick.

The scientists believe that the settlement could indeed be the legendary Norse colony known as “Vinland”, mentioned in the Icelandic Sagas. Based on the idea that the name meant “wine-land”, historians had long speculated that the region contained wild grapes. Wild grapes were, indeed, still growing in many areas of the Hudson Valley when the first European settlers arrived in the region, so the archaeologists believe that this could really be the colony described in the mythological saga.

 

5 Comments on "USA: Ruins of Viking Settlement Discovered near Hudson River"

  1. It is said that Leiv Eriksson accidently discovered Wineland, or North America, when he sailed from the city where I live, Trondheim, Norway, back to Iceland. When it comes to naming the territories, Iceland, Greenland and Wineland, it is said that it’s a “marketing strategy”. They gave Iceland and Greenland the names because those who lived on Iceland didn’t want more people to come there. They wanted them to sail further to Greenland and maybe also Wineland, because the names indicated better land. Also knowing that the word “branding” is an old Norwegian word, it may make some sense. We can’t dispute the fact that there are more ice on Greenland than Iceland, so there must be a reason for the naming. 🙂

  2. These people arrived in the America’s. There were already between 50 to 100 million people here with developed cultures when they arrived.

  3. very interesting coincidence that the Anastazi and the Maya fall into decline in the 9th century…One Anastazi site was said to have the sign of the Norse tree of life…did not see enough evidence on that but if they can get to NYC they could cruise down the Atlantic coast

  4. William Conner | August 15, 2015 at 2:49 am | Reply

    I am author of the book “Iron Age America:Before Columbus.” It is on sale on the web bookstores. I have been an amateur archaeologist for many years.

    William Conner, Columbus, Ohio

  5. Here is what I found on our “honored ‘discover’ ” Columbus’ treatment of the Hispaniola natives was even worse; his soldiers raped, killed, and enslaved with impunity at every landing. When Columbus fell ill in 1495, soldiers were reported to have gone on a rampage, slaughtering 50,000 natives. Upon his recovery, Columbus organized his troops’ efforts, forming a squadron of several hundred heavily armed men and more than twenty attack dogs. The men tore across the land, killing thousands of sick and unarmed natives. Soldiers would use their captives for sword practice, attempting to decapitate them or cut them in half with a single blow.[110]

    The historian Howard Zinn writes that Columbus spearheaded a massive slave trade; in 1495 his men captured in a single raid 1500 Arawak men, women, and children. When he shipped five hundred of the slaves to Spain, 40% died en route.[46] Historian James W. Loewen asserts that “Columbus not only sent the first slaves across the Atlantic, he probably sent more slaves – about five thousand – than any other individual… other nations rushed to emulate Columbus.”[111]

    When slaves held in captivity began to die at high rates, Columbus switched to a different system of forced labor: he ordered all natives over the age of thirteen to collect a specified amount (one hawk’s bell full) of gold powder every three months. Natives who brought the amount were given a copper token to hang around their necks, and those found without tokens had their hands amputated and were left to bleed to death.[46][112]

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