Discovery[ edit ] The site where the boat was found, situated on arable land, had long been named Gokstadhaugen or Kongshaugen from the Old Norse words konungr meaning king and haugr meaning moundalthough the relevance of its name had been discounted as folklore, as other sites in Norway bear similar names. Insons of the owner of Gokstad farm, having heard of the legends surrounding the site, uncovered the bow of a boat while digging in the still frozen ground.
It was in fact my lot to spend almost two decades in the Canadian Arctic, firstly on the east and west coasts of Hudson Bay, on James Bay, and then at a variety of locations largely along the lower reaches of the Northwest Passage itself.
During these years I lived on the east and west coasts of Baffin Island; on the coasts of Melville and Boothia Peninsulas, on Jenny Lind Island, on the southern coast of Victoria Island, on the mainland coast of the Barren Lands; at Cape Parry at the mouth of the Beaufort Sea, further west at Nicholson Peninsula, then Tuktoyaktuk, and two more locations further west again along the Yukon coastline.
In retrospect these were not particularly hard years, but nor were they pleasant ones. Then again, one needs to experience the seasonal round and especially the "Land of the Midday Night" to appreciate the impact of the numbing cold and soul-destroying darkness that exists above the Arctic Circle during the long arctic winters.
It is another world to be experienced and dimly understood. But to return to the issue at hand.
During my time along An analysis of the gokstad in ancient viking ships Northwest Passage I was required to make daily synoptic weather observations at many of the locations mentioned above on a year-round basis, and at times, e.
And it is here, I suggest, that the old adage "there is no substitute for experience" becomes applicable. There remains one further matter concerning Thule that was related by Pytheas: As Polybius quoted him, he said there is neither sea nor air, but a mixture like sea lung, in which earth and air are suspended; the sea lung binds everything together.
Much dotty ingenuity has been devoted to explaining this weird statement. A common suggestion is that sea lung means jelly fish, but that does not help to explain the environmental conditions that Pytheas was trying to indicate.
His sarcasm is withering. Not a word of his original narrative of this epic voyage, On the Ocean, survives. But it seems to have contained a wealth of information about the relatively unknown lands of the north, which was quoted by later writers, albeit skeptically.
It is clear that he visited Britain and the northern isles of Shetland and the Orkneys. He described the amber island of Abalus, now thought to have been Heliogoland, whose inhabitants traded amber with the Teutones of Jutland.
It was a rainy, sunless place, where the inhabitants lived by agriculture. They grew millet, which they threshed in covered barns, and supplemented their diet with herbs, roots and berries. It was the end of the inhabited world, beyond which stretched a primordial confusion of the elements: Hammer of the North, Orbis, London, I would suggest with some confidence that this was "Storis Ice" - a strange, barely fluid form of ice and seawater that occurs just before the ocean freezes over and winter sets in for the duration.
I observed this strange phenomenon just once during my northern sojourns - again north of the Arctic Circle on the southern coast of Victoria Island, but once seen it is never to be forgotten. Moreover, returning to the accounts provided by Pytheas, when the latter speaks of berries in the same arctic context Magnusson Thus all things considered I would tend to place more credence than most on what Pytheas reported concerning the north - passage of time, ambiguities and third-hand accounts notwithstanding.
As for the actual journeys taken by Pytheas, short of recovering new material these will have to remain unknown. The Northwestern Approaches to the Americas.
Larger map dpi jpg Nevertheless, as Map 1a above shows, few lengthy voyages are required to reach Greenland from Europe or the Mediterranean in any case. Further, as far as any impetus to expand activities westward from Greenland may have been concerned, a number of commentators have already noted that the Vikings could well have obtained a glimpse of Baffin Island during their earlier and subsequent forays into Baffin Bay.
Once again I can testify that occasionally it is possible to discern the coast of Greenland from Baffin Island; thus the reverse situation might well have prevailed from time to time in the case of Greenlanders looking west.
As for the opening of the Northwest Passage itself, there is something else that needs to be considered. Along the coastal regions of the lower portions of the Northwest Passage the strength and the duration of the summer run-off has to be witnessed to be fully appreciated.
For mile upon mile, river after river, stream after stream, a massive flow of fresh water empties into the Passage, cutting great holes in the ice at the larger river mouths as well as seeping out along the shorelines.
Tidal forces start to come into play, as do winds and currents, and soon narrow coastal leads begin to open up.
The effect may vary from year to year, but such an outflow would nevertheless provide limited access for oar-powered Viking boats well in advance of the the relatively short sailing season that attends the opening of the Northwest Passage proper.
Here it is necessary to add three further images of the short arctic summers - images that come together in the present context. The first is obvious enough, yet it is still perhaps not taken fully into account with respect to travel though the Northwest Passage - namely that for some weeks the sun does not set at all at these latitudes and even when it does there is still a usable period of twilight for a while longer.
This means that all other things considered, one could keep moving 24 hours a day- at least for short intervals. Given the time factor and dire consequences of falling behind i. Next there are the images of the wildlife that abounds on the west coast of Baffin Island and the southern coast of Victoria Island during the short arctic summer - the latter region especially.
Trout are abundant in many lakes, arctic char make their annual runs along the coastline to the rivers, many thousands of geese and ducks breed in this region, while caribou, muskox, ptarmigan, arctic hare, seals, whales and the occasional bear are also present.The Gokstad ship is a 9th-century Viking ship found in a burial mound at Gokstad in Sandar, Sandefjord, Vestfold, ashio-midori.com is currently on display at the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, Norway..
It is the largest preserved Viking ship in Norway. Countless sailing experiments with replica ships continue to confirm the excellence of Viking ship design. Much less is known about Viking navigation methods on the high seas, although one of the.
There remains one further matter concerning Thule that was related by Pytheas: the curious phenomenon he called the 'sea lung'. As Polybius quoted him, he said there is neither sea nor air, but a mixture like sea lung, in which earth and air are suspended; the sea lung binds everything together.
Oseberg is the name of a Viking ship burial, located about 95 kilometers south of Oslo, on the banks of the Oslo Fjord in Vestfold county, Norway. Oseberg is one of several ship burials in the Slagen district, but it is the richest of such burials.
Prior to excavation, the mound had been known as. Using ground-penetrating radar, archaeologists in Norway have discovered an ancient Viking ship buried just 20 inches beneath the surface of a farmer’s field.
The original ships from Tune, Gokstad and Oseberg. International: Dover Museum - Dover, Kent, UK. Bronze age sewn boat.
Ormen Friske disaster - analysis by Martin Braun on the distastrous collapse of this Gokstad replica. Ove Långe Vikingship site Steigen - The ancient northern Norway.
Viking Ships - canadian site about viking ships.