Segments in this Video

Early Norse Traders (01:01)


An archaeologist has found evidence of early contact between Europeans and indigenous North Americans.

Arctic Archaeological Discovery (02:33)

Dr. Pat Sutherland has found an elm building on Baffin Island—possible evidence of early Norse traders and the origins of globalization.

Norse Trading Artifacts (03:17)

Sutherland discovered a Scandinavian balance in the Canadian Arctic in the '70s, leading her to a Baffin Island settlement site excavated by Moreau Maxwell.

Dorset Culture (02:55)

Learn the phases of human occupation of the Eastern Arctic. Sutherland explains how mismatching artifacts at the Nanook site indicate Norse settlers.

Nanook Site Complexity (02:21)

Sutherland discusses building on existing archaeological knowledge and explains how Maxwell inadvertently mixed Norse and Dorset artifacts in the '60s.

North Atlantic Exploration (01:33)

Sutherland believes that "Helluland" referred to in Norse sagas is Baffin Island. Learn how Scandinavian mariners gradually moved west to Britain, Greenland, and Canada.

Recreating a Norse Voyage (02:46)

Danish historians and sailors test a ship modeled after a Viking excavation. Rats hid in holds—providing evidence of European settlements on Baffin Island.

Early European-American Trade (03:44)

Norse settlements allowed the collection of valuable Canadian goods. Evidence suggests they interacted with Dorset people at Nanook.

Dorset Artifacts (03:12)

Sutherland finds a knife on Baffin Island. Carvings and masks provide insight to the indigenous culture, and suggest there was mixing with Norse traders.

Norse Textile Evidence (03:15)

Cordage discovered on Baffin Island matches samples from Greenland. Sutherland believes Europeans traded arctic fox furs with Dorset people.

Ancient Scottish Architecture (05:34)

The Norse lived in the Outer Hebrides for five centuries. Sutherland believes Nanook dwellings had a similar design to Viking "black houses."

Norse Architectural Feature (02:21)

A Nanook stone dwelling has a floor drain matching a design in Viking "black houses" in Scotland.

Nanook Timeline (02:40)

Radio carbon dating of Arctic Norse sites is challenging due to mammal fat. Sutherland compares artifacts to ones in Europe to determine when they were made.

Dating Arctic Norse Arrival (03:33)

Sutherland analyzes a Nanook whetstone under a microscope and finds metal molecules matching ones on Greenland.

Nanook Conclusions (03:12)

Considering archaeological evidence, Sutherland believes Norse traders lived and interacted with Dorset people on Baffin Island—long before Columbus.

Credits: Norse: An Arctic Mystery (00:56)

Credits: Norse: An Arctic Mystery

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Norse: An Arctic Mystery

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Arctic archaeologist Dr. Pat Sutherland started finding artifacts that weren’t made by indigenous hands, but by Norse traders, possibly as far back as a thousand years ago. Is it possible that this is the site of first contact between native North Americans and Europeans? This program follows Sutherland from the south shore Baffin Island to the Outer Hebrides in Scotland, the departure point for Norse sailing west, searching for trade goods like ivory and furs across the North Atlantic to Canada. In Denmark a crew of latter-day Vikings lifts the sails on a reproduction of an ocean-going ship. And in Ottawa, Sutherland uses state of the art technology to unlock the hardest kept secrets of Norse arrival on Baffin Island. (45 minutes)

Length: 46 minutes

Item#: BVL58451

ISBN: 978-0-81608-556-9

Copyright date: ©2012

Closed Captioned

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Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.

Only available in USA.