Vanished Vikings of the West: Demise of the Western Settlement

In Part I, we looked at the Viking colonization of Greenland, and the failure of their settlement in America. In Part II we saw the fall of the Eastern Settlement. Now we will look at an even more mysterious disappearance, that of the Western Settlement. Of the two Viking settlements, the Western Settlement was both…

Vanished Vikings of the West: the Eastern Settlement

In part I, we have discussed how the Greenland Vikings lived. After the initial settlement around 1000 AD, there was a century of expansion as they made their homes and explored – and used – the North American coast. Walrus ivory brought them a valuable export product. But Greenland was always marginal for their way…

Vanished Vikings of the West: the fall of Greenland

Colonization is recreation. It features on board and computer games, from Simcity to Civilization, and from Settlers of Catan to Musk at Mars (ok, that one is apparently not a game). The games invite us to imagine a fresh start in a place where the past does not matter and where everything is a new…

Okmok versus the Roman republic

Okmok is a known hazard. The volcano occupies its own half of Umnak, an isolated part of the Aleutian islands. Okmok is possibly the most active of the 40-odd Aleutian volcanoes. Over the past 8600 years it has produced over 50 ash layers from separate explosions, and minor eruptions happen every other decade. AVO has…

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon

There is something about it. Gardening is a very human passion. Wherever there is nature, there is the urge to improve on it, removing the thorns, thistles and weeds, and replacing them with colour and fruit, adding beauty and harmony, a taming of the wild world, an artifice of flowers and pleasing shapes, where every…