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Viking sagas read through the lens of climate change
EurekAlert ^ | March 9, 2005

Posted on 03/10/2005 8:19:28 AM PST by Squawk 8888

Ancient Icelandic sagas may be full of treachery, death and destruction, but the real villain behind all the foment could well have been climate change. According to a Canadian scientist, there's a direct link between changes in regional temperatures and the thematic content of the sagas.

The research is based on newly reconstructed temperature records gained from ocean sediment cores collected off the coast of Vestfirdir, the northwest peninsula of Iceland by scientists from the University of Colorado. Analysis of mollusc shells within these cores has provided an astounding, almost weekly, record of temperature changes in the region.

"The difficult social periods in the sagas and other histories correspond to periods when cooler winters were coupled with what were some of the coldest summers of the last 2,000 years," says Dr. William Patterson, an associate professor of geology at the University of Saskatchewan who is leading the research linking seasonal climate change and Norse sagas.

The new temperature record was gleaned from microscopically thin layers cut from the mollusc's growth rings, each layer representing a few days in the animal's submarine life. The layers were powdered and the oxygen and carbon isotope values measured to create a record of environmental stresses, that were primarily due to temperature, on the Icelanders.

The results of the research, funded by NSERC and the U.S. National Science Foundation, show that in Iceland during what's known as the Little Ice Age from about 1350 A.D. to 1850 A.D., there was an increase in what is termed "seasonality," with cooler winters, colder summers and increased temperature variability. On the other hand, temperatures were highest at 80 B.C., 850 A.D. (during Viking settlement), and during the 1740s.

These changes had a profound impact on early Icelanders, and they continue to have an impact today. A one-degree drop in average summer temperatures can result in a 15-per cent drop in crop yields.

"The sensitivity of these people living in this marginal environment is readily apparent when you reconstruct the temperature variation," says Dr. Patterson. "Prior to this research we could speculate that temperature was a cause, but now we can say there's a good correlation between summer temperatures and the social situation."

Dr. Patterson says the Norse sagas provide numerous points for climatological analysis and comparison. One of the early sagas (Egils saga Skallagrímssonar) provides clues to the climate of Norway and Iceland from 850 to 1000 A.D. Other sagas such as Edda depict the Ragnarok, a pagan tale of the twilight of the ancient gods, that starts with the fimbulvinter (mighty winter) in which much is destroyed during a period of many years without summer, heroes and even families turn against and kill each other, and the world is ruined. Though Edda was written in the 1200s by Snorri Sturluson, it is thought to represent a previous cold period in northern Europe about 2,800 years ago. Other less stylized records from the Middle Ages and later are easier to interpret in terms of the climate-society connection, says Dr. Patterson.

The findings are part of a larger research project that will document changes in North Atlantic temperatures over the past 16,000 years. This type of information is critical for the validation of existing climate change models.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: archaeology; catastrophism; climatechange; ggg; globalcooling; godsgravesglyphs; greenland; history; iceland; littleiceage; thevikings
Paging all Freepers with Monty Python stills...
1 posted on 03/10/2005 8:19:28 AM PST by Squawk 8888
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To: Squawk 8888
Analysis of mollusc shells within these cores has provided an astounding, almost weekly, record of temperature changes in the region

Weekly global warning alert....

2 posted on 03/10/2005 8:25:09 AM PST by freebilly (I am The Thread Killer! DO NOT REPLY!)
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To: Squawk 8888

Immanuel Velikovsky, "Earth in Upheaval" (1956) or

http://knowledge.co.uk/velikovsky/


3 posted on 03/10/2005 8:28:18 AM PST by Prost1 (New AG, Berger still free!)
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To: SunkenCiv

GGG ping


4 posted on 03/10/2005 8:29:48 AM PST by Slicksadick (Go out on a limb........Its where the fruit is.)
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To: Squawk 8888

The Romans should be blamed for that 80B.C. global warming!! Those imperialists and their SUV sized chariots.


5 posted on 03/10/2005 8:35:45 AM PST by miliantnutcase
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To: Squawk 8888

Isn't this Bush's fault?


6 posted on 03/10/2005 8:48:38 AM PST by Sertorius (A hayseed with no greek and dam^ proud of it)
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To: miliantnutcase
The Romans should be blamed for that 80B.C. global warming!!

At the very least the Romans should be held accountable for the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. That must've bumped global temperatures up by at least a thousandth of a degree.

7 posted on 03/10/2005 8:48:45 AM PST by aQ_code_initiate
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To: miliantnutcase

They have made up for it in modern times by mass-producing cars that don't run. FIAT = Fix It Again, Tony.


8 posted on 03/10/2005 9:20:38 AM PST by Luddite Patent Counsel ("Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - Groucho Marx)
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To: Prost1

bttt - almost-forgotten footnotes regarding Velikovsky:

In the '50's & '60's, Velikovsky was derisively written off as a charlatan by the scientific community. Non other than Carl Sagan made it his business to drum him out of the self-anointed community of "knowers" that human science too often becomes. Velikovsky's thoughts about catastrophic upheavals on the earth - whether terrestrial or extra in origin - were assigned to the bookshelves next to the "...egyptians in their flying craft..." tomes. Back then, "Science" scoffed at the earth having had anything outside of a benign evolution.

Now, of course, we have this neat meme that expresses when the shit hits the fan on a global scale - Catastrophism. Funny... it seems all one's gotta do is put an "ism" on the end of a word, and it becomes legit, eh?

But I digress - we now have this somber-all-the-smart-geeks-solemnly-nod-their-heads accepted scientific "fact" called Catastrophism - yet the father of the discipline - Velikovsky - gains no recognition.

It's as if Stalin and his removal of opponents from State portraits were employed against those the self-anointed do not accept.


9 posted on 03/10/2005 9:44:42 AM PST by CGVet58 (God has granted us Liberty, and we owe Him Courage in return)
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To: Slicksadick; blam; FairOpinion; Ernest_at_the_Beach; SunkenCiv; 24Karet; 3AngelaD; ...
Thanks Slicksadick.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on, off, or alter the "Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list --
Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
The GGG Digest
-- Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

10 posted on 03/10/2005 10:57:26 AM PST by SunkenCiv (last updated my FreeRepublic profile on Sunday, February 20, 2005.)
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To: aQ_code_initiate
"At the very least the Romans should be held accountable for the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. That must've bumped global temperatures up by at least a thousandth of a degree."

The 79AD incident was recorderd in tree rings worldwide as a cooling event.

11 posted on 03/10/2005 11:13:14 AM PST by blam
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To: Squawk 8888

Well, of course. Ice giants. Global Warming(TM).

I'll bet Earth in the Balance is called a saga in some far off far off.


12 posted on 03/10/2005 11:39:41 AM PST by Duke Nukum (King had to write, to sing the song of Gan. And I had to read. How else could Roland find the Tower?)
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To: Squawk 8888
Paging all Freepers with Monty Python stills...

Why? What's this got to do with a dead parrot?

13 posted on 03/10/2005 12:28:39 PM PST by fanfan (" The liberal party is not corrupt " Prime Minister Paul Martin)
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To: fanfan

He's not dead!!


14 posted on 03/10/2005 12:32:18 PM PST by TC Rider (The United States Constitution 1791. All Rights Reserved.)
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To: fanfan

Actually, I was thinking of the Spam sketch...


15 posted on 03/10/2005 12:37:57 PM PST by Squawk 8888 (End dependence on foreign oil- put a Slowpoke in your basement)
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To: TC Rider

'e sure is! Jus' look at 'im! ;-)


16 posted on 03/10/2005 12:50:13 PM PST by fanfan (" The liberal party is not corrupt " Prime Minister Paul Martin)
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To: Squawk 8888

Oh, OK. :-)


17 posted on 03/10/2005 12:51:07 PM PST by fanfan (" The liberal party is not corrupt " Prime Minister Paul Martin)
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To: fanfan

He's just resting.


18 posted on 03/10/2005 1:00:35 PM PST by TC Rider (The United States Constitution 1791. All Rights Reserved.)
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To: blam
You're right, volcanic eruptions usually lead to a cooling trend. More reflection of the suns rays by high altitude particles.

The global warming movement is a neo-pagan farce based on selective science, fixed computer models, and an anti-capitalist and anti-human freedom political agenda. The warming trend has been going on in fits and starts for about ten thousand years (end of the last in a series of ice ages) and will continue until the cycle (again) reverses itself.

19 posted on 03/10/2005 1:01:20 PM PST by katana
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To: TC Rider

It's stone dead.


20 posted on 03/10/2005 1:10:00 PM PST by fanfan (" The liberal party is not corrupt " Prime Minister Paul Martin)
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To: fanfan

No no he's not dead, he's, he's restin'! Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue, idn'it, ay? Beautiful plumage!


21 posted on 03/10/2005 1:37:18 PM PST by TC Rider (The United States Constitution 1791. All Rights Reserved.)
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To: Squawk 8888; abbi_normal_2; Ace2U; adam_az; Alamo-Girl; Alas; alfons; alphadog; AMDG&BVMH; amom; ...
Rights, farms, environment ping.
Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from this list.
I don't get offended if you want to be removed.
22 posted on 03/10/2005 4:03:35 PM PST by farmfriend ( Why oh why didn't I take the blue pill?!?)
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To: farmfriend

BTTT!!!!!!


23 posted on 03/11/2005 3:05:27 AM PST by E.G.C.
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To: TC Rider

The plumage don't enter into it. It's stone dead.


24 posted on 03/11/2005 4:16:15 AM PST by fanfan (" The liberal party is not corrupt " Prime Minister Paul Martin)
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To: fanfan

No, no -- it's just resting.


25 posted on 03/11/2005 6:41:40 AM PST by TC Rider (The United States Constitution 1791. All Rights Reserved.)
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To: TC Rider
All right then, if he's restin', I'll wake him up! (shouting at the cage) 'Ello, Mister Polly Parrot! I've got a lovely fresh cuttle fish for you if you show...

(owner hits the cage)

26 posted on 03/11/2005 10:48:03 AM PST by fanfan (" The liberal party is not corrupt " Prime Minister Paul Martin)
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To: fanfan

There, he moved!


27 posted on 03/11/2005 4:14:24 PM PST by TC Rider (The United States Constitution 1791. All Rights Reserved.)
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To: TC Rider

No, he didn't, that was you hitting the cage!


28 posted on 03/11/2005 4:27:54 PM PST by fanfan (" The liberal party is not corrupt " Prime Minister Paul Martin)
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To: fanfan

I never!!


29 posted on 03/11/2005 4:35:26 PM PST by TC Rider (The United States Constitution 1791. All Rights Reserved.)
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To: Denver Ditdat; Keith Pickering; Androcles; Big Guy and Rusty 99; Bob J; Habibi; IronKros; PRND21

· GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach ·
· join list or digest · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post a topic · subscribe ·

 
 Antiquity Journal
 & archive
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 Archaeology Channel
 BAR
 Bronze Age Forum
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 Eurekalert
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 Excerpt, or Link only?
 


This topic is from 2005 and had already been pinged. I'm just updating the GGG info, not sending a general distribution.

List update: I've removed Denver Ditdat and Keith Pickering from the GGG ping list, because I don't believe they've been on FR in years. If I'm wrong, my apologies, just drop me a line if you want back on, it's no problem at all.

I've also checked for ex-FReepers in all lists. As a consequence, Androcles was removed from the GGG Digest, and the following were removed from the regular GGG list -- Big Guy and Rusty 99, Bob J, Habibi, IronKros, and PRND21.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
 

· History topic · history keyword · archaeology keyword · paleontology keyword ·
· Science topic · science keyword · Books/Literature topic · pages keyword ·


30 posted on 03/28/2011 6:06:47 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Thanks Cincinna for this link -- http://www.friendsofitamar.org)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; Rurudyne; steelyourfaith; Tolerance Sucks Rocks; xcamel; 75thOVI; agrace; ...
Note: this topic is from 3/10/2005.
Thanks Squawk 8888. I just added this to the Catastrophism catalog, and am going to ping it out of sheer stubbornness.
 
Catastrophism
 
· join · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post new topic · subscribe ·
 

31 posted on 03/28/2011 6:09:47 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Thanks Cincinna for this link -- http://www.friendsofitamar.org)
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The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History 1300-1850 Floods, Famines, and Emperors: El Nino and the Fate of Civilizations The Long Summer: How Climate Changed Civilization
The Little Ice Age:
How Climate Made History 1300-1850

by Brian M. Fagan
Paperback
Floods, Famines, and Emperors:
El Nino and the Fate of Civilizations

by Brian M. Fagan
The Long Summer:
How Climate Changed Civilization

by Brian M. Fagan

32 posted on 03/28/2011 6:11:47 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Thanks Cincinna for this link -- http://www.friendsofitamar.org)
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To: TC Rider

“Ere, E’s just pining for the Fjords.”


33 posted on 03/28/2011 6:19:16 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: SunkenCiv

Thanks for the ping. I think it was back in 1100 A.D.(?) or so when the Vikings abandoned Iceland(?). They were farmers by that time, and Christian. When the farms died off because of the cooling, the native Eskimos tried to get the Vikings to join in their hunts. But the Vikings wouldn’t join because of all the pre-hunt rituals to the pagan gods. The Vikings died off and/or left.

At least that is one theory I saw on TV. Sounds plausible.


34 posted on 03/28/2011 6:27:11 PM PDT by 21twelve ( You can go from boom to bust, from dreams to a bowl of dust ... another lost generation.)
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To: SunkenCiv; FreedomPoster; Para-Ord.45; Entrepreneur; tubebender; mmanager; Fiddlstix; ...
Thanx for the ping SunkenCiv !

 


Beam me to Planet Gore !

35 posted on 03/28/2011 6:31:28 PM PDT by steelyourfaith ("Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." -- Wendell Phillips)
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To: SunkenCiv

I’m going to have to check to see if I can get any of those books on a library loan.

I’ve read all six of the books the library has about as many times as I can stand.


36 posted on 03/28/2011 7:41:51 PM PDT by bigheadfred (Beat me, Bite me...Make Me Write Bad Checks)
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To: 21twelve

Greenland, not Iceland. Greenland was still Viking into the 13th c, the cold got worse, and more importantly, the ships stopped coming from Europe. No trees on Greenland to build boats. The population was trapped. One possibility raised in the 1980s (hmm, maybe 1970s) was that German corsairs arrived there and carried off the entire remaining colony.


37 posted on 03/28/2011 8:12:20 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Thanks Cincinna for this link -- http://www.friendsofitamar.org)
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To: bigheadfred

The library in my town burned down.

Destroyed both books.

One wasn’t even colored yet.

[old joke alert, comes too late to prevent the joke]


38 posted on 03/28/2011 8:14:36 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Thanks Cincinna for this link -- http://www.friendsofitamar.org)
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To: SunkenCiv

Thanks for the corrections. The other one I always get messed up on is “Was Greenland really frozen in the old days, and Iceland was green as the Vikings were trying to be tricky, or vice-versa?”


39 posted on 03/28/2011 9:09:26 PM PDT by 21twelve ( You can go from boom to bust, from dreams to a bowl of dust ... another lost generation.)
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To: 21twelve

And Eric the RED discovered Greenland — IOW, I think they just did that to piss us off.


40 posted on 03/29/2011 6:58:27 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Thanks Cincinna for this link -- http://www.friendsofitamar.org)
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To: SunkenCiv
"No trees on Greenland to build boats."

But there were plenty of trees to the west and Newfoundland was closer than Iceland. I think they abandoned Greenland and were ultimately absorbed by the native populations in North America.

41 posted on 03/29/2011 7:08:41 PM PDT by Flag_This (Real presidents don't bow.)
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To: Squawk 8888

Sure wish coach Grant believed in ANY type of warming.
42 posted on 03/29/2011 7:16:25 PM PDT by Spruce
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To: Flag_This; SunkenCiv

There was a thread a month or so ago on native (Alquonqin?) (spelling?) languages that have (or is interpreted to have) Old Norse names and pronounciations. I imagine that was Sunk’s doing as well!


43 posted on 03/29/2011 7:42:37 PM PDT by 21twelve ( You can go from boom to bust, from dreams to a bowl of dust ... another lost generation.)
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To: SunkenCiv; Flag_This

Eric the Red - Greenland. And then made it to North America. Thank goodness!

Otherwise we may never have gotten the Red Green Show from Canada!


44 posted on 03/29/2011 7:44:41 PM PDT by 21twelve ( You can go from boom to bust, from dreams to a bowl of dust ... another lost generation.)
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