Category Archives: NORTH AMERICA

Viking Sex Slaves, Behind The Founding Of Iceland

Viking Sex Slaves – The Dirty Secret Behind The Founding Of Iceland

Thingvellir National Park in Iceland.
Thingvellir National Park in Iceland.

Iceland has become among millennials a famous tourist destination with its incredible landscape, friendly people, and cheap flights.

Although, if any found themselves in Reykjavik and took a trip to the National Museum of Iceland, they might find a display there with an interesting statistic. In fact, it’s a statistic with some dark implications for Iceland’s past.

After analyzing the DNA of modern Icelanders, scientists have been able to come up with a fairly accurate idea of what the founding population of the country looked like.

Around 80% of Icelandic men were Norse, hailing from Scandinavian countries like Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. Of course, as a colony founded by Norse settlers, that’s to be expected.

But based on the mitochondrial DNA, which is only passed down in the female line, we know that over half of the female settlers were Celtic, meaning they came from Ireland, Scotland, and the northwestern islands of Britain. So essentially, the founders of Iceland were a strange combination of Norse men and Celtic women.

At first glance, that fact is just an interesting bit of genealogy. But it quickly grows more disturbing the more you think about it. After all, the people who settled Iceland were also the same people who produced the infamous Vikings.

However, as most people know, the Vikings had a habit of carrying off slaves. Given the genetics of Iceland and the nature of the people who settled it, it’s possible that a large percentage of the first women in Iceland were taken there as slaves.

Slavery played a much larger part in Norse society than most people are aware of. Slaves, or “thralls” as they were called, were present in most Norse communities, with many being taken in Viking raids across Europe. While the warriors spent most of their time fighting or drinking, it was up to slaves to do a great deal of the work around the village.

In fact, it was a serious insult to a Viking to say that he had to milk his own cows. That was considered work for slaves and women, and with so many around, no free-born Norseman needed to milk any cows.

The lives of slaves were often quite brutal. Slaves were regularly subjected to violence, both as punishment and for religious reasons. When their masters died, slaves were often murdered so that they could serve them in death as they had in life.

A depiction of Viking raiders.

Above all, Vikings prized young female slaves. These girls taken in raids could expect to be raped regularly while being pressed into a life of domestic servitude. The desire for women might even explain a lot about why Vikings began to raid Britain in the 9th century.

Some scholars have suggested that early Norse society was polygamous, and powerful chiefs married multiple wives, leaving none for other men.

According to this theory, Vikings first took to the seas to find women because there were few available in Scandinavia.

This theory could also explain why Vikings leaving to settle Iceland would have looked to Britain as a source of women.

There simply weren’t enough available women in Scandinavia to help settle the island. If this is the case, then the settling of Iceland involved Norse raiders making stops in Britain on the way, killing the men, and carrying off the women.

Once on the island, it’s harder to say what these women’s lives might have been like. Some historians have suggested that though they started out as slaves, the Norsemen in Iceland eventually took the women as wives. If so, then they may have treated them with a basic level of respect. Norse culture placed a heavy emphasis on maintaining a happy household with a spouse.

Others have suggested that these women may have willingly gone to Iceland with Norsemen who settled in their communities. But the Vikings were never shy about taking slaves, and there certainly were slaves in Iceland.

The most likely explanation is that there were Celts who volunteered to go to Iceland as well as Celtic women who were taken there as slaves. That means that, on some level, sexual slavery played a significant role in the settlement of Iceland.

The dog who got MUMMIFIED inside a tree trunk

Meet “Stuckie” — The Mummified Dog Who Has Been Stuck In A Tree For Over 50 Years

Stuckie, as the dog is affectionately known now, still stuck in his tree more than 50 years later.
Stuckie, as the dog is affectionately known now, still stuck in his tree more than 50 years later.

Loggers expect to come across some things when they cut down trees. Bird’s nests and things stuck in the branches seem like a given – a mummified dog in the center of a tree, however, does not.

But that’s exactly what a team of loggers with the Georgia Kraft Corp. found while cutting down a tree in the 1980s.

The loggers were working on a grove of chestnut oaks in southern Georgia when they found a most unusual sight.

After cutting off the top of the tree, and loading it onto a truck for transport, a member of the team happened to peer down the hollow trunk.

Inside, he found the perfectly mummified remains of a dog, looking back at him, its teeth still bared in a fight for survival.

Experts who studied the carcass concluded that the pup was most likely a hunting dog from the 1960s, who had chased something such as a squirrel through a hole in the roots, and up the center of the hollow tree.

The higher the dog got, however, the narrower the tree became. From the position of the dog’s paws, experts believe that it continued to climb until it effectively wedged itself in. Unable to turn around, the dog died.

Due to a perfect set of circumstances, however, though it was dead, it was not forgotten.

Normally, a dog that had died in the wild would succumb to decay and be eaten by other foragers.

However, as the dog had died inside a tree, it was unlikely that other animals could reach it – and, due to the height of the body, it was unlikely that other animals could smell it either.

Additionally, the kind of tree that the dog had lodged itself in was uniquely qualified to lend itself to the natural mummification process.

Chestnut oaks contain tannins, which are used in taxidermy and tanning to treat animal pelts so that they don’t decay. The tannins from the inside of the tree seeped out into the dog and prevented it from rotting inside.

The dry environment inside the trunk also provided shelter from the elements and sucked the moisture from the carcass. The air that was sucked into the tree through the base created a sort of vacuum effect, further contributing to the drying process.

After finding the mummified pup, the loggers decided to take it to a museum, to show off the rare sight to the world.

The dog, now affectionately called “Stuckie,” resides at the Southern Forest World museum, still encased in his woody tomb, and on display for the world to see.

Ancient Egyptian Mummy Linen Fragments Seized in Michigan

Ancient Egyptian Mummy Linen Fragments Seized in Michigan

U.S. border officials say they have seized ancient Egyptian mummy linens during enforcement operations at the Blue Water Bridge that connects Port Huron, Mich., to Sarnia, Ont. 

Five containers containing the artifacts were seized on May 25 following the selection of the truck for examination in Michigan near Sarnia, Ont., the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said.

The artifacts had come from Canada in a bulk mail shipment, and were being shipped to a home in the United States, Kris Grogan, spokesman for the agency, said in an interview.

“It’s taken some time to identify what they were,” Grogan said. “We’ve had to work with the State Department as well as other federal agencies in identifying this.”

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced Wednesday officers seized a package of five jars of containing the artifacts found May 25 on a Canadian mail truck.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced Wednesday officers seized a package of five jars of containing the artifacts found May 25 on a Canadian mail truck.

The artifacts would be sent back to Egypt in the near future, Grogan said.

In a statement, the agency said the importer was unable to prove the linens had been taken out of Egypt before 2016.

That could be a violation of the U.S. Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act, a federal law that allows American authorities to impose import restrictions on certain classes of archeological material.

Authorities said they worked with an unidentified archeological organization to pin down the age of the artifacts, which are believed to date back to the Ptolemaic Dynasty from 305-30 B.C.

One expert in antiquities, Sue McGovern-Huffman, said trying to illegally buy ancient artifacts is more trouble than it’s worth no matter what era the object is from.

“If it’s been illegally taken out of the country, it’s got a zero value as far as the commercial market is concerned,” McGovern-Huffman, president of Sands of Time Antiquities, said from Washington, D.C.

Without an artifact’s provenance or proof of ownership and history, even illegally selling ancient artifacts would be difficult for any dealer on the black market, she said.

McGovern-Huffman, an accredited member of the International Society of Appraisers, said pieces like ancient mummy linens have more archeological or study interest than collector interest.

“These fragments have very little value. There are all these reports of antiquities selling for millions and billions of dollars on the black market and it’s completely wrong,” she said. “You’d be lucky to get $50 for this stuff.”

Michael Fox, the customs agency director in Port Huron, Mich., said the seizure was of “historical importance.”

Grogan said no arrests have been made as it remains unclear who might be criminally responsible.

Viking Graffiti in Hagia Sophia: “Halvdan Carved These Runes”

Vikings who may have served as elite guard of Byzantine emperor left runic inscriptions in the Hagia Sophia

Two runic inscriptions are found in the Byzantine church of Hagia Sophia. They are believed to be carved by Vikings in Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) during the 9th century AD, long before the Varangian Guard – an elite Viking unit of the Byzantine Army – was first formed under Emperor Basil II in 988 AD. Who were the Vikings leaving evidence of their visit?

Dubbed the lords of the seas, the  Vikings are widely known as some of the most skilled shipbuilders and sailors in history. The seafaring abilities of these people, who were renowned as fierce warriors, enabled them to travel easily across the European seas and rivers and conquer new territories.

Over the centuries, many exciting archaeological finds of the Vikings, who traveled beyond their settlements in Scandinavia, have been discovered across Europe.

These finds include graves, rune stones, fortresses, precious artifacts such as gold and silver jewelry, and even ships. However, what most people don’t know is the fact that the Vikings also left behind a lot of graffiti. One of the most famous examples can be seen in Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey.

At some point, the epic voyages of the Vikings along the river systems and the European seas would bring them all the way to Constantinople (known today as Istanbul), the capital of the Byzantine Empire and arguably the world’s richest city at the time. Unable to conquer the great city.

They decided to go into the service of the Byzantine Emperor Basil II, who would go on to form his personal Viking-guard elite unit known as the Varangians and would begin a tradition of hiring mercenaries of Viking origin.

Exterior view of the Hagia Sophia

This elite unit of Viking warriors didn’t just take part in many Byzantine campaigns across the Empire but also participated in the social and cultural life of Constantinople, leaving a mark on the Byzantine capital, quite literally in this case.

Today, visitors of the Hagia Sophia can see two pieces of graffiti most likely carved by members of the elite unit into the walls of this important Byzantine structure.

Rebuilt three times over the centuries, this architectural marvel and symbol of Istanbul has witnessed many crucial historical changes, serving both as Imperial Church, from 537 until 1453, and Mosque, from 1453 when Sultan Mehmed II conquered Constantinople.

During the 9th century, the Vikings who visited or possibly lived in Miklagard (The Great City), as they called Constantinople in Scandinavia, most certainly went to see Hagia Sophia and apparently decided to leave a permanent mark on the top floor of the southern gallery by carving two pieces of graffiti into the walls of the Byzantine Imperial Church.

The first discovered runic inscription reads Halvdan.

For centuries it was believed that the runic inscriptions were nothing more than just simple cracks on the marble in the southern gallery of Hagia Sophia.

However, this changed in 1964, when experts finally revealed that what was long thought to be just cracks in the marble was actually a sentence inscribed on the wall with runic letters meaning: “Halvdan was here.”

Apparently, Halvdan was not the only Viking who visited Hagia Sophia. About a decade after this find was revealed, another spectacular discovery connected with the Scandinavian visitors of Constantinople was made. Experts believe that the second Viking “graffiti artist” inscribed his name Ári or Árni in the same gallery.

Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya) indoors captured with fish-eye lens.

There is a debate over whether Halvdan and Ári were members of the Varangian Guard or were just traders visiting Constantinople.

While some argue that the Varangian Guard was established much later, during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Basil II, whose reign began in 976, others claim that they might have been fur traders who came to Constantinople through the Russian river systems and the Black Sea.

There may be additional runic inscriptions from the Viking age waiting to be discovered inside Hagia Sophia. So if you are visiting this iconic museum to be aware, you might find more specimens of ancient runes.

Did Viking’s Discover North America?

Did Viking’s Discover North America?

L’Anse aux Meadows was the first Viking settlement believed to have been found in North America in the 1960s.

Scientists claimed to have uncovered another Viking settlement in Newfoundland that was built between 800AD and 1300AD.

Some experts believe the Vikings may have discovered North America nearly 500 years before Christopher Columbus made his famous journey to the New World

The site, discovered in an area called Point Rosee in southern Newfoundland, is 400 miles (643km) south west of a Viking settlement found in L’Anse aux Meadows during the 1960s.

Now, one expert claims to have found a mysterious location known as ‘Hop’.

Based on Viking descriptions, three key things identify this mystical settlement – an abundance of grapes, salmon and canoes made from animal hide. 

An archaeologist claims the only place that matches this description is the Miramichi-Chaleur bay area in northeastern New Brunswick in Canada.

This would be the third Viking settlement claimed to have been found in North America, although it could be hard to ever prove it for once and for all.

It is thought the Vikings first discovered America by accident in the autumn of 986AD, according to one historical source, the Saga of the Greenlanders.

It tells how Bjarni Herjolfsson was stumbled across North America after being blown off course as he attempted to sail from Norway to Greenland, but he did not go ashore.

Inspired by his tales, however, another Viking Leif Ericsson then mounted his own expedition and found North America in 1002.

Finding it fertile land, rich in grapes and berries, he named it Vinland.

Eriksson also named two further ‘lands’ on the North American coast – one with flat stones, which he called Helluland, and one that was flat and wooded, named Markland.