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[nafex] Re: Grapes in Vinland

--- In nafex@egroups.com, Ray Givan <raygivan@e...> wrote:
> There are two main theories. 1) The word "vin" and the story about 
> may have been substited for the word "vi'n" meaning grassy pasture 
which had
> become obsolete when the sagas were written down in the 13th 
century. 2) The
> settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows was not Vinland. Vinland proper 
lay further
> south on the south shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence somewhere 
around the
> Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border. This idea is supported by various
> botanical remains (haxelnuts, etc.) found at L'Anse aux Meadows 
which had to
> have been imported from the southern shore of the Gulf since they 
have never
> grown in Newfoundland.

In his book "Westward to Vinland" (Macmillan, 1969) the Norwegian 
Helge Ingstad who led the expedition which located and excavated the 
Norse settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland, cites a good 
deal of evidence in favour of the idea that "vin" was "the old Norse 
word for 'grazing land' or 'meadow', as it exists in Norway today in 
names such as Vinas and Vinje."

He states, "the sailing directions [in the sagas] ...the sailing 
distance and the time spent at sea... and the descriptions of the 
land point to the fact that the Norsemen settled on the north coast 
of Newfoundland and that it was this area that was known as Vinland."

He also cites evidence suggesting that the Vikings were accustomed to 
make wine from the berries which grew in Norway. We know that similar 
berries grow in profusion in Newfoundland and in Labrador. 

Ingstad also states his belief that the mentions in the sagas of 
grapes having been found in Vinland and Markland (=Labrador!) arose 
from misunderstandings by later bards and writers of the original 
references to wine, or from an insertion of traditional and 
conventional statements about newly discovered countries.

Ingstad and others cite evidence for the Norse having voyaged farther 
than L'Anse aux Meadows, perhaps as far south as Rhode Island.

Doug Woodard