Artikkel

walrus

Tema: walrus

Odobenus rosmarus

The boom and bust economy of the Greenland Norse walrus ivory trade

The Norse settlements on Greenland was founded by Erik the Red around 985 and lasted almost 500 years. New research show that the settlers hunted walrus and traded tusks and ivory across Europe during the Middle Ages, but the hunt became so intense that it may have led to the collapse of Norse Greenland. 

A walrus rostrum with tusks that can be dated to c. 1200-1400 CE.

Ancient DNA reveals the extent of Norse Greenland’s trade in walrus ivory

When the explorer Erik the Red reached the southwest coast of Greenland in the 980s, he established a colony of Norwegian and Icelandic settlers that lasted for almost 500 years. A team of British and Norwegian researchers have now proved, by analysing ancient DNA, that the export of  valuable ivory from walrus tusks helped the Norse settlements to survive for centuries.