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Re: Challenge for naysayers of the Kensington Runestone

Subject: Re: Challenge for naysayers of the Kensington Runestone
From: Eric Stevens
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2005 14:17:29 +1200
Newsgroups: sci.archaeology
On Mon, 22 Aug 2005 17:37:50 -0500, Tom McDonald
<tmcdonald2672@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

>nospam@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
>> Apparently on date Fri, 19 Aug 2005 15:55:33 -0500, Tom McDonald
>> <tmcdonald2672@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> said:
>
><snip>
>
>>>     I looked up 'Eureka' when this all started (did nospam give a 
>>>link?), and so I knew something of what he meant. The Minnesota 
>> 
>> 
>> This one, http://www.collectionscanada.ca/nord/h16-4223-f.html
>
>       Yup, that looks familiar.
>
>> There are doubtless many other equally relevant websites, and I don't agree
>> with every word on that one anyway, but it's fine as a basis for description 
>> of
>> the objects and locations.
>> 
>> 
>>>business seemed like a bit of information not necessary to the 
>>>discussion, but it is what sparked my interest--until I found out 
>>>what he meant. His argument on this issue seems pretty uncontentious.
>>>
>>>     Is Phil correct to say that nospam sees all or most of the Norse 
>>>artifacts in the arctic as evidence of Norse trading, as opposed 
>>>to other methods of distribution? If so, then I'd like some 
>>>reference, as I don't know that that is supported in the 
>>>literature; although I don't know that it isn't, either.
>> 
>> 
>> Working from the other end first, I see the Norse (or similar) transporting
>> shiploads of N.American origin trade goods over to specific ports in Europe -
>> probably the same ports time after time. These trade goods are then 
>> distributed
>> to various locations by Europeans rather than the Norse.
>
>       North America? Are you still speaking of the high latitudes east 
>of the entrance to Hudson Bay? Or do you mean to include interior 
>mainland Canada (and/or the US of A?)
>
>       Do you have evidence of this, or is this your own hypothetical 
>construct?
>
>> And the Canadian end works in a similar way, the Norse bring a shipload of
>> European origin trade goods and go to the same sort of thing, ports in east 
>> and
>> west settlement, and I'm saying also the equivalent of ports in various 
>> places
>> where trade would happen and from that point the Inuit will be moving any
>> objects about.
>
>       What sort of trade goods do you suggest the Norse might have 
>brought over by the boat-load? Their knarrs could hold a lot of 
>metal tools, cooking pots, etc. I'm not sure what else they could 
>have brought to trade that would have resulted in a profitable 
>swap. Your thoughts?

It has been seriously suggested that the Norse brought metal into the
arctic as trade goods and the nature of its use caused us to seriously
underate the quantity in use. Farley Mowat in the Farfarers cites "New
respect for Metal's role in ancient arctic cultures" Heather Pringle,
Science, vol 227, 8 August 1997. He goes on to write "She goes on to
point out that new techniques for identifying rust stains and other
metallic oxides have led to the conclusion that 'metal objects were
common in sites hundreds of kilometres from the few northern sources
of [natural] copper and iron, implying the existence of elaborate
trade networks ...'".

Then there is the story (I can't remember the exact source or details
at the moment and I'm supposed to be working) of Eric Rauda (was it)
and the bull which panicked the skraelings. If I remember correctly,
the original argument which eventually led to the evacuation of the
Norse started because the Norse did not have the iron and coloured
cloth as trade goods which the locals expected.
>
>> Where there is a circle of Norse objects growing more concentrated on some
>> central spot, I see that as the model to point to a "trading port" likely 
>> being
>> at that spot. By "trading port" I don't mean to imply docks and warehouses, 
>> it
>> can be nothing more concrete than a beach that has become well known and the
>> trader will show up around the same sort of time each month, or year, or
>> whatever, and the Inuit will expect this, word will get around, people will
>> come and trade in both directions.
>
>       Do you see such a set of concentrations of Norse objects in the 
>archaeological record? Or are you suggesting a program of 
>investigation? AFAIK, what is currently reliably identified as 
>Norse artifacts is far too thin on the ground to support much 
>planned trading.
>
>> As for any explicit object being owned / transported by any particular 
>> person /
>> group, I'm not really pushing the point. At this level it is just guesswork. 
>> A
>> single iron blade might be owned by either group and the locals in a given
>> region are the most likely owners. The intriguing exception to this is a
>> classic trader's item, weighing scales. There are ways this can get to its
>> terminal location, but it does, for me, strongly suggest the presence of an
>> actual trader in, or not all that far away from, that location at some point,
>> and it is a very remote location.
>
>       What could the scales have weighed? Grams? A few kilograms? A 
>large bundle of animal pelts? Could they have been used in the 
>illicit drug trade? :-)
>
>> If they were sailing up there, in the high arctic, then I reckon it would,
>> relatively speaking, be a picnic to sail Hudson Bay, around to the north and
>> east coasts of Ontario. That's not to say they *were*, just that they could
>> have been without any big changes in accepted history, as far as I can see.
>
>       I don't think there is any real question about the Norse's 
>*ability* to get into the Bay; or even down to Minnesota. The 
>question is what will the evidence support.
>
>       I agree with you, that even if most of what the yea-sayers 
>happen really did happen, history would not be much changed.
>
>       Now if some of the more extreme yea-sayers were to turn out to 
>be right, then the situation would be more interesting. However, 
>that would take the presentation of actual evidence which could 
>be verified; and there seems to be very little chance of *that* 
>happening. :-)



Eric Stevens


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