And if you don’t, they’ll, burn your house down, though i love taking part in all these wonderful magical holiday. Festivities, i especially look forward to my annual leaf erickson day special, where i share amazing adventurous stories of the norse exploration of north america. With my gracious viewers last year, i told you about the first voyage that the greenlanders took to the new world led by leif. Erikson himself or les ferreira eriksson, as he is called by those who can consistently pronounce names in icelandic or old norse, without screwing up and sounding like an idiot in that first voyage leaf discovered three lands. There was helu land, the land of flat stones, markland, the land of trees and vinland, the land of wine or grapes, but leaf was only the first of many norse sailors to explore these new lands. Shortly after his return to his family farm in southwestern, greenland leaf’s brother thorvald expressed interest in seeing vinland for himself leif lent thorvald his ship and advised him on the preparations. Thorvald recruited a crew of thirty men and after an uneventful voyage, he landed at leitz boutir, which is known as leaf’s houses. If you’ll remember, that was the winter camp that leaf had set up during his voyage to finland. They settled in for the winter and come spring forward, sent a few men out with the ship’s boat to explore the coastline to the west. But where were leaf’s houses and what coastline did thorvald’s men explore that summer? Well, it’s it’s kind of impossible to know uh trying to pair up geographic and directional clues from the sagas with the archaeological evidence, namely the north settlements.

At lonzo meadows in newfoundland, is like trying to put a square peg in a round hole it’s. Just that way. Madness lies sailing along the coast. They landed on a westerly island and found evidence of human habitation. It was a wooden shed of some kind i’ve seen it translated as a granary, a stack cover and a corn shed leaf hadn’t encountered any native americans during his initial voyage to finland. So the norris up until this point had no reason to think that finland was inhabited, but at the same time, while this was a notable discovery, it wouldn’t have come as a huge shock to thorvald’s men in the book of the icelanders. A sort of a tome of early icelandic history, it mentions toward the beginning how the initial norse settlers of iceland found irish books bells and staffs evidence that some seafaring monks had reached the island before then so definitely a notable find, but it probably didn’t blow their Minds so that autumn they returned to leaf’s houses and spent another winter. Next summer, thorvald led most of the men in leaf’s ship to the north and then east along the coast. A strong wind. Much like this one drove the ship ashore and shattered the keel. So the norse had to stay ashore for quote a long time to fix it once this was done. Thorvald ordered that the old keel be erected by the shoreline and he called the place kia larness, which means cape keel.

They sailed on and next made landfall at a promontory that was jutting out between the mouths of two fjords. They got out of the boat and explored for a little bit until they came across three skin boats on a beach, and i don’t mean to keep interrupting the story by obsessing over weird little details, but skin boats. The algonquin people, which broadly include the beofuck of newfoundland, built canoes out of birch bark skin boats, were more of a thing used by the dorset people of the eastern canadian arctic at the time and then later, of course, the inuit. So it doesn’t really seem to check out, so i had a thought while i was editing this. Obviously the simplest explanation to this whole birch bark versus skin boat problem is that thorvald misidentified, the boats or the saga riders got it wrong or both or maybe these particular native americans just preferred to use skin boats rather than birch bark canoes. But what, if there’s another explanation? Did you ever hear about that norse coin that was found on the coast of maine in an algonquin settlement that coin dated to 1080 a.d and it got there by trade? I mean almost certainly from further north. Also at that site were found, two distinctly dorset artifacts. Now the dorset people lived in the canadian high arctic before the ancestors of today’s inuit got there and for a long time it was thought that they had abandoned the eastern canadian arctic.

By the time the norse got there, but recent finds have started to throw that premise into doubt. For example, at lonsell meadows itself, the north settlement at the northern tip of newfoundland, uh dorset soapstone bowl, was found also on baffin island. A piece of yarn made from goat hair was discovered in a dorset settlement, almost certainly of norse origin, and that is the sort of thing that you wouldn’t trade. Over long distances, you know it’s just a piece of yarn made from goat hair it’s just a little like trinket, so that probably means that the dorset acquired that piece of yarn. When norsemen arrived, you know off their coast in a ship and came off the boat and said hello here. Have this yarn isn’t that a funny little thing? It comes from an animal called a goat, it’s, interesting um. So maybe, when the saga of the greenlanders was being written down around the year 1200 – and you know the icelanders and the greenlanders at this time, they they were interacting, i mean they, they talked and they traded and stuff. You know uh, so icelanders of the 13th century would have known what a skrilling as they would have called native americans was, but in their mind when they call this grylling to mind they probably didn’t. Think of the algonquin native americans that thorvald met on his journey. They probably thought of the dorset and that more arctic style of living you know, so maybe the saga writer is imagining a more you know: inuit style, arctic native american, rather than uh sort of a moral kind of like new englandy uh uh southeastern, canadian native american.

When he’s writing these words, so maybe that’s why it says skin boat, because this author is thinking, oh well, you know the skrillings use skin boats, not really understanding that. Obviously you know the inhabitants of the eastern seaboard of north america. Are you know vastly different cultures, and you know languages and and and tools that they would have and stuff like that, that you know sort of he would think of of every skrilling as just being part of a monolith right, because he doesn’t kind of fully understand How large the continent of north america is? I don’t know supposition on my part, admittedly, but i think it’s kind of interesting anyway, back to the story. Thorvald just found their ships, the boats on the beach, so thorvald’s men overturned the boats and lo and behold there were three men under each of them. So thorvald said something like my god: a previously unknown race of people, let’s kill them, and so he did. The norse killed eight of the natives, but one managed to escape. Then thorvald’s men were overcome by drowsiness and fell asleep until they were woken up by a voice which shouted wake up thorvald with all your men. If you want to survive which definitely never happened, but according to the saga, they woke up from this extremely badly timed nap to discover that a huge fleet of skin boats bristling with pissed off scriling warriors was heading up the fjord to kill them.

It was an emergency almost as dire an emergency as my camera, which is currently being soaked by rain coming in off of the sea. So let’s continue the story further in the woods Music Applause. Music. Well seems. The gods of the sea have tempered their wrath for the moment. So let me just continue the story. Oh yes, that’s right, so a big scrawling fleet was heading up. The fjord toward our norseman, so thorvald told everybody to get onto the boat and they formed a shield wall right above the gunnel of the ship. So you know it’s pretty sort of nice impressive little barricade there with all the shields lined up and their bodies were pretty much safe. Now a hail of arrows came and started, peppering the boat and the shield. Eventually, the natives were treated and thorvald looked around and asked if everybody was okay seemed like they were and then thorvald lifted up his arm, revealing that an arrow had pierced deep into his armpit, which, as i understand, is not a really good place to get hit By an arrow or anything, really he correctly surmised that this would lead to his death, thorvald commanded, his crew, to bury him at that promontory, where they had landed and place a cross at his head and a cross at his feet and call the place crossiness or Cape cross forever after thorvald apparently had a thing for naming places. Now it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to us that thorvald would want to be buried in this way, it’s very likely that he was a christian.

Some sort of viking history enthusiasts are quick to point out that the sagas were written during christian times in iceland and that there may be a bit of christian bias in what we know about these events or these stories, and not just the vinland sagas. But really all the icelandic sagas, but honestly the icelanders were remarkably non judgmental of their ancestors worship of pagan gods. So i really don’t see why we would doubt the saga’s word on this. I think it’s extremely plausible, very likely in fact that thorvald was a devout christian and i know that’s not what our inner metal heads want to hear right. We like the idea of of hard drinking odin, worshiping vikings, exploring america not tame greenlandic christians, but that’s. Just not what the sagas are telling us here, so thorvald dies very dramatically: his crew returned to leaf’s houses, gathered grapes and vines that gave finland its name and went back to greenland. They had plenty of news to tell leaf, but thorvald’s voyage was not the last time that the norse would come face to face with native americans. The sagas tell us of two other voyages to finland, which i’ll tell you all about next year. In the meantime, i want to wish you a very happy leif, erikson day, drink your mead down to the dregs, my friend and, if you’re not sure where to get mead. Ask your friend who does hima.