New evidence of Viking life in America?

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Re: New evidence of Viking life in America?

#81  Postby The_Piper » Apr 08, 2016 1:42 am

jamest wrote:
The_Piper wrote:Newfoundland's weather isn't all that extreme temperature-wise

Ice sank The Titanic, 400 miles south of Newfoundland, in mid April.

This is neither here nor there. Icebergs floating out in the north Atlantic in April doesn't mean extreme temperatures occur in southwestern Newfoundland. I said temperature-wise, because they get a lot of wind and big storms, like the entire eastern seaboard. I guess that's extreme weather, but nothing an 18th century explorer would be caught off-guard by, I wouldn't think. But I'll retract that. One from England might consider it extreme to have temperatures average slightly below freezing in January. :tongue: Maybe I've been in northern Maine too long.
Here's a link showing their average temps throughout the year. I'd guess that the gulf of St Lawrence doesn't always have ice on it all winter? http://www.worldweatheronline.com/codroy-weather-averages/newfoundland-and-labrador/ca.aspx
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Re: New evidence of Viking life in America?

#82  Postby felltoearth » Apr 08, 2016 3:09 am

Theres also a difference between sea ice and ice bergs. Ice bergs are calve from glaciers. No ice breaker will get through that.
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Re: New evidence of Viking life in America?

#83  Postby Sendraks » Apr 08, 2016 10:02 am



Fascinating stuff, thanks for the link.

I note that the Fram was designed to survive being trapped in the ice and indeed the ship was intentionally trapped in the ice and turned into a research station for the duration, rather than being built to travel through ice as per an ice-breaker.
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Re: New evidence of Viking life in America?

#84  Postby jamest » Apr 08, 2016 3:34 pm

The_Piper wrote:
jamest wrote:
The_Piper wrote:Newfoundland's weather isn't all that extreme temperature-wise

Ice sank The Titanic, 400 miles south of Newfoundland, in mid April.

This is neither here nor there. Icebergs floating out in the north Atlantic in April doesn't mean extreme temperatures occur in southwestern Newfoundland. I said temperature-wise, because they get a lot of wind and big storms, like the entire eastern seaboard. I guess that's extreme weather, but nothing an 18th century explorer would be caught off-guard by, I wouldn't think.

You appear to be severely underestimating how dangerous those waters were [and still are], particularly for 18th century seamen. For instance, have you not heard of the 'Independence Hurricane' (1775)?

A storm struck the eastern coast of Newfoundland on September 9, 1775. It is uncertain if this storm was the remnants of the hurricane that had crossed the Outer Banks over a week earlier.

... A total of 4,000 sailors, mostly from England and Ireland, were reported to have been drowned.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1775_Newf ... _hurricane

Ice, storms, war... all very good reasons for shipping to find itself crippled in those waters, especially before the time of morse/radio and real-time weather forecasts. Is it really a stretch to imagine that in a span of time stretching two or three centuries that a ship (or small fleet) encountered difficulties sufficient to make for the nearest land and conduct emergency repairs/construction involving iron? I don't think so.
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Re: New evidence of Viking life in America?

#85  Postby Onyx8 » Apr 08, 2016 3:44 pm

It's also not like one can just get washed ashore and start smelting iron. There would have to be a ready supply of ore...
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Re: New evidence of Viking life in America?

#86  Postby The_Piper » Apr 08, 2016 4:32 pm

jamest wrote:
The_Piper wrote:
jamest wrote:
The_Piper wrote:Newfoundland's weather isn't all that extreme temperature-wise

Ice sank The Titanic, 400 miles south of Newfoundland, in mid April.

This is neither here nor there. Icebergs floating out in the north Atlantic in April doesn't mean extreme temperatures occur in southwestern Newfoundland. I said temperature-wise, because they get a lot of wind and big storms, like the entire eastern seaboard. I guess that's extreme weather, but nothing an 18th century explorer would be caught off-guard by, I wouldn't think.

You appear to be severely underestimating how dangerous those waters were [and still are], particularly for 18th century seamen.

Not at all, I took issue with your use of the term extreme weather. There are big storms but not persistent extreme cold like you seemed to imply, by thinking they may have been using iron to cut through sea ice. Newfoundland's average temperatures at the coast can't really be called extreme, it minimizes the meaning of the word.
If 4000 people died in a hurricane in 1775, that even further suggests that it was already quite populated at that time, which it was.
Guessing the large death toll in 1775 was due to the complete lack of storm forecasting. Their weather is not an outlier for the east coast of North America. Someone sailing from Western Europe or down from Greenland/Labrador/up from North Carolina would be in dangerous waters for most of the trip. The ocean is dangerous. :mrgreen:
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Re: New evidence of Viking life in America?

#87  Postby Sendraks » Apr 08, 2016 4:41 pm

I'll be spending the evening down the pub with one of the staff from the Royal Armouries who has a real passion for Viking history. The subject of "did the Vikings take iron ore with them on long voyages" and "how easy is it to set up an iron smelter" will come up.

Whilst the answers I get will hardly peer reviewed research likely to satisfy Jamest, they'll do for me.
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Re: New evidence of Viking life in America?

#88  Postby Onyx8 » Apr 08, 2016 4:45 pm

My son and I are trying to get our act together to set up a bloomery. We have the ore already.
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Re: New evidence of Viking life in America?

#89  Postby jamest » Apr 08, 2016 5:11 pm

The_Piper wrote:
jamest wrote:
You appear to be severely underestimating how dangerous those waters were [and still are], particularly for 18th century seamen.

Not at all, I took issue with your use of the term extreme weather. There are big storms but not persistent extreme cold like you seemed to imply,

I have at no time said that it's always cold around Newfoundland. It doesn't have to be in order that ice be a danger. Again, look at what happened to The Titanic in the month of April.

If 4000 people died in a hurricane in 1775, that even further suggests that it was already quite populated at that time, which it was.

There was close to a thousand men on some ships, so your comment isn't merited.


Guessing the large death toll in 1775 was due to the complete lack of storm forecasting. Their weather is not an outlier for the east coast of North America. Someone sailing from Western Europe or down from Greenland/Labrador/up from North Carolina would be in dangerous waters for most of the trip. The ocean is dangerous. :mrgreen:

Why does this detract from the possibility that something bad happened near Newfoundland sufficient for a ship's crew to make nearest landfall?
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Re: New evidence of Viking life in America?

#90  Postby jamest » Apr 08, 2016 5:11 pm

Sendraks wrote:I'll be spending the evening down the pub with one of the staff from the Royal Armouries who has a real passion for Viking history. The subject of "did the Vikings take iron ore with them on long voyages" and "how easy is it to set up an iron smelter" will come up.

Whilst the answers I get will hardly peer reviewed research likely to satisfy Jamest, they'll do for me.

Hey, I'm only chewing the fat. Let us know what he thinks.
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Re: New evidence of Viking life in America?

#91  Postby Macdoc » Apr 08, 2016 5:16 pm

If 4000 people died in a hurricane in 1775, that even further suggests that it was already quite populated at that time, which it was

FFS that's coming up on the War of Independence and the Napoleonic wars....ships were extremely sophisticated but were built of wood and transatlantic trade was booming ....London fashions brought to New York etc.

Cannon on the other hand were a rapidly developing technology

http://www.cim.org/en/Publications-and- ... lurgy.aspx

It would be 1860 before "iron clads" were developed.

She was the name ship of the Warrior-class ironclads. Warrior and her sister ship HMS Black Prince were the first armour-plated, iron-hulled warships, and were built in response to France's launching in 1859 of the first ocean-going ironclad warship, the wooden-hulled Gloire.

Iron fittings were common from about 1700 ish forward.

http://www.maritime.org/conf/conf-goodwin.htm

Weapons forging has a much much longer history .....
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Re: New evidence of Viking life in America?

#92  Postby Sendraks » Apr 08, 2016 6:10 pm

jamest wrote:
Sendraks wrote:I'll be spending the evening down the pub with one of the staff from the Royal Armouries who has a real passion for Viking history. The subject of "did the Vikings take iron ore with them on long voyages" and "how easy is it to set up an iron smelter" will come up.

Whilst the answers I get will hardly peer reviewed research likely to satisfy Jamest, they'll do for me.

Hey, I'm only chewing the fat. Let us know what he thinks.


Will do. They are genuinely interesting questions and I want to know the answers for my own interest more than anything else.
And if what he tells me raises more questions here, so much the better.
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Re: New evidence of Viking life in America?

#93  Postby The_Piper » Apr 08, 2016 7:25 pm

jamest wrote:
The_Piper wrote:
jamest wrote:
You appear to be severely underestimating how dangerous those waters were [and still are], particularly for 18th century seamen.

Not at all, I took issue with your use of the term extreme weather. There are big storms but not persistent extreme cold like you seemed to imply,

I have at no time said that it's always cold around Newfoundland. It doesn't have to be in order that ice be a danger. Again, look at what happened to The Titanic in the month of April.

If 4000 people died in a hurricane in 1775, that even further suggests that it was already quite populated at that time, which it was.

There was close to a thousand men on some ships, so your comment isn't merited.


Guessing the large death toll in 1775 was due to the complete lack of storm forecasting. Their weather is not an outlier for the east coast of North America. Someone sailing from Western Europe or down from Greenland/Labrador/up from North Carolina would be in dangerous waters for most of the trip. The ocean is dangerous. :mrgreen:

Why does this detract from the possibility that something bad happened near Newfoundland sufficient for a ship's crew to make nearest landfall?

this is the post that I replied to
Yes, but I'm talking about explorers who might have wanted to explore further north and west from Europe who may have encountered difficulties with ice during these longer ventures. Knowing little if anything of the extreme weather in those realms, they may well have needed to adapt their ships to proceed or even escape. Constructing a metal ram or protective plate for the hull seems like a very possible scenario, imo. It's very easy for a ship to succumb to the ice, as anyone familiar with Shackleton's expedition to Antartica in 1914 will know.

You mention Ice, Antarctica, and earlier in post # 48 said that the area is treeless (which it's not).
Basically, I thought you had Newfoundland confused with a place more like Greenland. You can admit that mentioning extreme weather of Newfoundland and an expedition to Antarctica in the same paragraph was unclear, at least?
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Re: New evidence of Viking life in America?

#94  Postby jamest » Apr 08, 2016 9:34 pm

The_Piper wrote:
jamest wrote:
The_Piper wrote:
jamest wrote:
You appear to be severely underestimating how dangerous those waters were [and still are], particularly for 18th century seamen.

Not at all, I took issue with your use of the term extreme weather. There are big storms but not persistent extreme cold like you seemed to imply,

I have at no time said that it's always cold around Newfoundland. It doesn't have to be in order that ice be a danger. Again, look at what happened to The Titanic in the month of April.

If 4000 people died in a hurricane in 1775, that even further suggests that it was already quite populated at that time, which it was.

There was close to a thousand men on some ships, so your comment isn't merited.


Guessing the large death toll in 1775 was due to the complete lack of storm forecasting. Their weather is not an outlier for the east coast of North America. Someone sailing from Western Europe or down from Greenland/Labrador/up from North Carolina would be in dangerous waters for most of the trip. The ocean is dangerous. :mrgreen:

Why does this detract from the possibility that something bad happened near Newfoundland sufficient for a ship's crew to make nearest landfall?

this is the post that I replied to
Yes, but I'm talking about explorers who might have wanted to explore further north and west from Europe who may have encountered difficulties with ice during these longer ventures. Knowing little if anything of the extreme weather in those realms, they may well have needed to adapt their ships to proceed or even escape. Constructing a metal ram or protective plate for the hull seems like a very possible scenario, imo. It's very easy for a ship to succumb to the ice, as anyone familiar with Shackleton's expedition to Antartica in 1914 will know.

You mention Ice, Antarctica, and earlier in post # 48 said that the area is treeless (which it's not).
Basically, I thought you had Newfoundland confused with a place more like Greenland. You can admit that mentioning extreme weather of Newfoundland and an expedition to Antarctica in the same paragraph was unclear, at least?

I haven't presented a theory here, Piper. I'm just developing my initial objection to the researchers' claim that metallurgy = vikings = champagne. It's an ongoing discussion so I accept that my thoughts may come across as being unclear. That objection was formerly about ice, yes, but there are other reasons why ships could encounter difficulties in that region (storms and war, for instance).

The bottom-line for me is that for all the difficulties a ship can encounter at sea, it's not difficult to envisage one of them being forced to land on the southern tip of Newfoundland to make repairs or to [perhaps] construct something to deal with the ice. I've also had another idea, though am not sure how daft it is: perhaps a warship needed to construct more cannonballs because it had ran out and its supply was cut off, or going back to Europe was not an option (running out of ammo seems like a plausible scenario to me, but feel free to laugh).

The main objection to my idea would be where the men got their supply of iron ore from, but I could ask the same question in reference to any Vikings who may have settled there. Anyway, as I said, I'm just playing devil's advocate. If my ideas can be entirely ruled-out, then fair enough.
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Re: New evidence of Viking life in America?

#95  Postby Sendraks » Apr 08, 2016 10:44 pm

The carbon dating at the site is an expected result because the site is not sealed. So its all contaminated and will give an inaccurate reading. There is sufficient evidence at the site to make it consistent with other viking finds.

The view from the pub is also that yes, vikings would most probably have had someone with them capable of metallurgy and may well have carried ore for smelting.

No known evidence to support any sort of icebreaking tech.
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Re: New evidence of Viking life in America?

#96  Postby The_Piper » Apr 08, 2016 10:46 pm

[Reveal] Spoiler:
jamest wrote:
The_Piper wrote:
jamest wrote:
The_Piper wrote:
Not at all, I took issue with your use of the term extreme weather. There are big storms but not persistent extreme cold like you seemed to imply,

I have at no time said that it's always cold around Newfoundland. It doesn't have to be in order that ice be a danger. Again, look at what happened to The Titanic in the month of April.

If 4000 people died in a hurricane in 1775, that even further suggests that it was already quite populated at that time, which it was.

There was close to a thousand men on some ships, so your comment isn't merited.


Guessing the large death toll in 1775 was due to the complete lack of storm forecasting. Their weather is not an outlier for the east coast of North America. Someone sailing from Western Europe or down from Greenland/Labrador/up from North Carolina would be in dangerous waters for most of the trip. The ocean is dangerous. :mrgreen:

Why does this detract from the possibility that something bad happened near Newfoundland sufficient for a ship's crew to make nearest landfall?

this is the post that I replied to
Yes, but I'm talking about explorers who might have wanted to explore further north and west from Europe who may have encountered difficulties with ice during these longer ventures. Knowing little if anything of the extreme weather in those realms, they may well have needed to adapt their ships to proceed or even escape. Constructing a metal ram or protective plate for the hull seems like a very possible scenario, imo. It's very easy for a ship to succumb to the ice, as anyone familiar with Shackleton's expedition to Antartica in 1914 will know.

You mention Ice, Antarctica, and earlier in post # 48 said that the area is treeless (which it's not).
Basically, I thought you had Newfoundland confused with a place more like Greenland. You can admit that mentioning extreme weather of Newfoundland and an expedition to Antarctica in the same paragraph was unclear, at least?

I haven't presented a theory here, Piper. I'm just developing my initial objection to the researchers' claim that metallurgy = vikings = champagne. It's an ongoing discussion so I accept that my thoughts may come across as being unclear. That objection was formerly about ice, yes, but there are other reasons why ships could encounter difficulties in that region (storms and war, for instance).

The bottom-line for me is that for all the difficulties a ship can encounter at sea, it's not difficult to envisage one of them being forced to land on the southern tip of Newfoundland to make repairs or to [perhaps] construct something to deal with the ice. I've also had another idea, though am not sure how daft it is: perhaps a warship needed to construct more cannonballs because it had ran out and its supply was cut off, or going back to Europe was not an option (running out of ammo seems like a plausible scenario to me, but feel free to laugh).

The main objection to my idea would be where the men got their supply of iron ore from, but I could ask the same question in reference to any Vikings who may have settled there. Anyway, as I said, I'm just playing devil's advocate. If my ideas can be entirely ruled-out, then fair enough.

and I was just nitpicking a point in your developing objection. As I already said, I don't really object to your skepticism on the origin of the site. I have no reason to object or accept the conclusion in the story in the op. The BBC doesn't seem to draw a conclusion. I can't watch the documentary. Based on the BBC article, general skepticism is warranted.
About the cannonballs, wouldn't the French and English be making their own in the new world during the 1700's? What did they date to 1700-1930, specifically, do they say?
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Re: New evidence of Viking life in America?

#97  Postby jamest » Apr 09, 2016 12:08 am

Sendraks wrote:The carbon dating at the site is an expected result because the site is not sealed. So its all contaminated and will give an inaccurate reading.

What do you mean? Are you suggesting that the researchers were incompetent to request the carbon datings which they did? If that is the case, then they can shove their champagne up their arses! We should not be taking any of this seriously if they've fucked-up at such a basic level.


There is sufficient evidence at the site to make it consistent with other viking finds.

Rubbish. What we [currently] have at the site is evidence of iron smelting and turf structures. Nothing else (other than plenty of carbon datings which are generally indicative of late 18th century occupancy). But since there's nothing to make structures from there other than turf, then we can discount the turf evidence as being [automatically] evident of Viking residency. I mean, even if I were to find myself there at that particular site, in [say] the 18th century, I'd also be using the turf to construct a shelter.

The view from the pub is also that yes, vikings would most probably have had someone with them capable of metallurgy and may well have carried ore for smelting.

Then why wouldn't explorers from [say] the 18th century do the same thing?

No known evidence to support any sort of icebreaking tech.

How do you know that it isn't 20,000 leagues under the sea?
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Re: New evidence of Viking life in America?

#98  Postby Onyx8 » Apr 09, 2016 12:36 am

Sendraks wrote:The carbon dating at the site is an expected result because the site is not sealed. So its all contaminated and will give an inaccurate reading. There is sufficient evidence at the site to make it consistent with other viking finds.

The view from the pub is also that yes, vikings would most probably have had someone with them capable of metallurgy and may well have carried ore for smelting.

No known evidence to support any sort of icebreaking tech.



Why in hell would anyone carry ore for smelting? Why wouldn't you smelt it at home in the comfort of your own village and carry the iron? My son tells me that when you smelt the ore you get ~1/4 the weight of bloomery iron which still has to be reduced drastically to get workable (and useful) raw iron. So you would not only be carrying tremendous weights of useless rock, but would also be burdening yourself with untold hours of heating and beating the bloomery iron in a distant and unknown place with no idea of how much fuel might be available.
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Re: New evidence of Viking life in America?

#99  Postby Sendraks » Apr 09, 2016 12:41 am

Jamest - you're no expert so your responses can be dismissed as the uninformrd laymans pish that they are.

I'm honestly disappointed in myself for thinking I'd get something engaging from you other than usual shit stained leavings that pass for "thought" in your commentary.
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Re: New evidence of Viking life in America?

#100  Postby kiore » Apr 09, 2016 2:08 am

Onyx8 wrote:
Sendraks wrote:The carbon dating at the site is an expected result because the site is not sealed. So its all contaminated and will give an inaccurate reading. There is sufficient evidence at the site to make it consistent with other viking finds.

The view from the pub is also that yes, vikings would most probably have had someone with them capable of metallurgy and may well have carried ore for smelting.

No known evidence to support any sort of icebreaking tech.



Why in hell would anyone carry ore for smelting? Why wouldn't you smelt it at home in the comfort of your own village and carry the iron? My son tells me that when you smelt the ore you get ~1/4 the weight of bloomery iron which still has to be reduced drastically to get workable (and useful) raw iron. So you would not only be carrying tremendous weights of useless rock, but would also be burdening yourself with untold hours of heating and beating the bloomery iron in a distant and unknown place with no idea of how much fuel might be available.


Well ore could be carried as ballast, as in the age of exploration cannon balls were carried, or (sorry) it could be carried from an area with low or no fuel to an area rich in fuel. Iron smelting requires large amount of charcoal, if that is the fuel available.
Whatever the reason smelting iron is complicated and not likely to be indigenous without intermediate steps unless the technology imported in a more developed stage. This is really the key here, the technology and the availability of ore and or fuel, scratch independent discovery of iron working with no intermediate steps, scratch iron working as a emergency activity in modern age (why ??) and you are left with those used to working iron, and really this was not an easy or common or garden activity even now, this is an activity for specialists, and in the past a closely guarded secret in most societies. Not only those used to working iron but those who have both access to ore and suitable fuel sources. Fuels sources are probably the most problematic until large scale mining of coal, until then forests were consumed to produce the charcoal required.
I will invoke Occam's barber shop here, the processors of iron ore should be those used to working iron, and the working of iron in a forested environment suggests access to fuel as a motivator. Iron ore is common but the combination of iron ore and available fuel not so common until quite recently. Ore is relatively compact while fuel requires more space, therefore the effort gradient is more likely ore to fuel than fuel to ore. In this setting the carrying of ore in the anticipation of abundance of fuel makes more sense.
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