May 28Liked by Vikingology Podcast

That was a facinating episode. If you have a chance in a future episode with Loretta Decker, I'd love to know why just a base camp? Why not a permanent settlement? As an Atlantic Canadian, who's sailed in the Gulf of St. Laurence and the waters around Newfoundland, I've often wondered about what the Norse got up to here.

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Thanks Greg for listening, the comment, and the support! We can certainly ask her opinion about that, but we don't have any way of knowing for sure, as there are no written records in the hands of those who went there. Archaeologists and historians have speculated about it for years. Some argue that it was the difficulties with the Native Americans (which you can read about in the two saga accounts we've linked up in the show notes) that may have been a factor. Others have argued that the Greenland settlement wasn't that large, and so splitting it up so that several hundred (or even thousand) would move permanently to North America would have been too much of a strain for the survival of both settlements, or perhaps just the Greenlandic one since it was more strapped for resources. There's also the fact that Loretta mentioned in the episode, that the economy was changing and the Greenlanders' main exports (things like walrus) were losing value in the wider networks that the Norse traded in, so they needed to adapt which meant heading back toward Europe and Scandinavia and not staying permanently at, what was for them, the edge of the world. Probably a good way to think about the Vinland settlement is that it was likely never seen by the Norse as more than something to support the Greenland settlement. Once the Greenland settlement started being less viable, they had to abandon all of it, North America included. You can also add climate change to the mix, as newer science is showing that it likely played a role in making life in the North Atlantic even more challenging.

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