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1. Woven into the Earth: Textile
2. The Far Traveler: Voyages of a
3. Vikings : The North Atlantic Saga

1. Woven into the Earth: Textile finds in Norse Greenland (None)
by Else Ostergaard
Hardcover: 256 Pages (2004-11)
list price: US$49.95 -- used & new: US$36.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 8772889357
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
One of the century's most spectacular archaeological finds occurred in 1921, a year before Howard Carter stumbled upon Tutankhamun's tomb, when Poul Norlund recovered dozens of garments from a graveyard in the Norse settlement of Herjolfsnaes, Greenland. Preserved intact for centuries by the permafrost, these mediaeval garments display remarkable similarities to western European costumes of the time. Previously, such costumes were known only from contemporary illustrations, and the Greenland finds provided the world with a close look at how ordinary Europeans dressed in the Middle Ages. Fortunately for Norlund's team, wood has always been extremely scarce in Greenland, and instead of caskets, many of the bodies were found swaddled in multiple layers of cast-off clothing. When he wrote about the excavation later, Norlund also described how occasional thaws had permitted crowberry and dwarf willow to establish themselves in the top layers of soil. Their roots grew through coffins, clothing and corpses alike, binding them together in a vast network of thin fibers - as if, he wrote, the finds had been literally sewn in the earth. Eighty years of technical advances and subsequent excavations have greatly added to our understanding of the Herjolfsnaes discoveries. "Woven into the Earth" recounts the dramatic story of Norlund's excavation in the context of other Norse textile finds in Greenland. It then describes what the finds tell us about the materials and methods used in making the clothes. The weaving and sewing techniques detailed here are surprisingly sophisticated, and one can only admire the talent of the women who employed them, especially considering the harsh conditions they worked under. While "Woven into the Earth" will be invaluable to students of mediaeval archaeology, Norse society and textile history, both lay readers and scholars are sure to find the book's dig narratives and glimpses of life among "the last Vikings" fascinating. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Woven into the Earth
This is a must have for anyone interested in the subject. This book is well worth the price.

5-0 out of 5 stars Woven into the Earth
This is a fantastic book for academical purposes or for someone who has been re-enacting early middle ages for some time.
By this I mean somebody who is really interested in making medieval garments themselves.
I would not recommend this book just for the pleasure of reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Astounding connection between weaving and life
This book is so well written that you can read it even if you aren't particularly interested in weaving, and enjoy it. It is a cultural connection between the craft of weaving and the culture of life. Highly recommended to weavers who are interested in the history of their craft.

4-0 out of 5 stars Historical textiles from Greenland
This hard-cover book, translated from Danish, is a fascinating look at an obscure treasure. Clothing found in the ancient settlements of Greenland (1000 A.D.) is discussed, color photos and drawings explaining construction details of the garments are included. It is a beautiful book and anyone interested in clothing or textiles of the middle ages will consider it a must-have.

5-0 out of 5 stars Instant Classic
It is rare that more than a few shreds of fiber survive from an archaeological site.Thanks to the unique climate and soil conditions in Greenland, we have a number of whole garments that have survived from about a 200-year span during the middle of the medieval period. Until now, most of that information was known in detail only to specialists.Ms. Ostergard's book collects the information she and her colleagues have derived from the Greenland finds and presents it clearly and succinctly, with full color photographs and line illustrations describing the weave, cut, pattern and techniques used to sew the items in meticulous detail.This book is a permanent asset to the study of medieval costume, an instant classic and, thanks to its clarity of writing and layout, useful even for the costumer. ... Read more

2. The Far Traveler: Voyages of a Viking Woman
by Nancy Marie Brown
Hardcover: 320 Pages (2007-10-09)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$1.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 015101440X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Five hundred years before Columbus, a Viking woman named Gudrid sailed off the edge of the known world. She landed in the New World and lived there for three years, giving birth to a baby before sailing home. Or so the Icelandic sagas say. Even after archaeologists found a Viking longhouse in Newfoundland, no one believed that the details of Gudrid’s story were true. Then, in 2001, a team of scientists discovered what may have been this pioneering woman’s last house, buried under a hay field in Iceland, just where the sagas suggested it could be. Joining scientists experimenting with cutting-edge technology and the latest archaeological techniques, and tracing Gudrid’s steps on land and in the sagas, Nancy Marie Brown reconstructs a life that spanned—and expanded—the bounds of the then-known world. She also sheds new light on the society that gave rise to a woman even more extraordinary than legend has painted her and illuminates the reasons for its collapse.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting, Informative Read, but Not Without its Faults
This book is far from what the title makes it out to be. Expecting a chronicling of the life of a Viking woman who comes to North America, I was surprised to find a detailed history of Greenland and Iceland with just a few sprinklings of Gudrid in between. I'm a huge fan of the old Norse world and loved reading these, but sometimes the random tangents the book took were just too hard to uninteresting to read.

Towards the end of the book, the author starts to ramble and at one point writes for 15 pages about the types of weaving done by Icelandic women; going into minute details about every single part in the process of turning wool into cloth. The final chapter of the book only begins to mention the Norse pagan religion, something that probably should have been addressed right from the beginning. Then, after what seemed like an eternity, Brown once again mentions her titular character, only to end the tale 2 pages later.

If you're a fan of Vikings, Norse Mythology or Nordic History, this book is a good read. But even die-hards will question the author's tangents and be begging for a more complete or compact story about Gudrid.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Far Traveler
Delightful writing style. The author combines Icelandic archeology, history and her own interpretations of the life of a woman circa 1000 Ad.

3-0 out of 5 stars 19 cent book
Yep, I spent 19 cents for this book.Was it worth it?That all depends.If you're looking for trashy beach reading save you money.Having spent mine I decided to read it anyway.The book turns out to be a semi-scholarly attempt to define every day life, particularly that of women, in Viking times.The result is semi-interesting but not exactly a page turner.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good read.
Very interesting book on a under reported part of European history in Iceland, Greenland & North America.

5-0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding

I only wish more photos, diagrams and website links and/or information (on those specific archeological discoveries and digs) would have been provided, so that we could have researched it a bit more, and tracked any furhter progress.

The listings of the incredible array of artifacts found in these archeoligical digs would have also benefited by some drawings and photos.

That being said, this is a wonderful book that brings the action to life -- I can almost see the ship rise and fall with the waves. The natives (skraalings) and the landscape of the new world is rendered in vivid word pictures. The descriptions of the Viking farms in Greenland and the hazardous trips sometimes needed to be made to reach those farms, gives me a sense of the tremendous resiliency and resourcefulness of those heroic people way back then.

Exceptional -- but would definitely benefit from photos, diagrams, links, -- even a rendering of what Gudrid may have looked like. ... Read more

3. Vikings : The North Atlantic Saga
by National Museum of Natural History
Paperback: 416 Pages (2000-04-15)
list price: US$34.95 -- used & new: US$17.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1560989955
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
The story of the Viking expansion west across the North Atlantic between AD. 800 and 1000, the settlement of Iceland and Greenland, and the exploration of northeastern North America, is a chapter of history that deserves to be more widely known.Norse discoveries in the North Atlantic are the first step in the process whereby human populations became connected into a single global system. The Norse, and their Viking ancestors, are little known, misunderstood, and almost invisible on the American landscape. Although Norse voyages were known since the early 1800’s, the near absence of physical evidence of Vikings in the New World has rendered the information, and the possibility that Norse explorers reached the North American mainland five hundred years before Columbus, speculative, at best. Yet, discovery of a Viking site in Newfoundland in 1960 confirmed a pre-Columbian European presence in the Americas, and Norse artifacts found in archaeological sites scattered throughout the eastern Canadian arctic and sub-arctic, raise the issue of how far south of Newfoundland the Norse did explore, and what impact their contacts had on Native Americans. The term “Viking” is indelibly associated with seafaring warriors. Carpentry, and especially boat building, were skills known to all Viking men, and along with maritime skill, was the characteristic upon which Viking expansion and influence depended. Viking craft had an advantage over all other watercraft of their day in speed, shallow draft, weight, capacity, maneuverability, and seaworthiness, giving Vikings the ability to trade, make war, carry animals, and cross open oceans safely.The territorial expansion of the Vikings from their Scandinavian homelands began in the last decades of the eighth century, and started as seasonal raids on the British Isles. Those Vikings who ventured west settled the islands of the North Atlantic. Many theories attempt to explain what propelled Vikings outward from their northern homelands: developments in ship construction and seafaring skills; internal stress from population growth and scarce land; loss of personal freedom as political and economic centralization progressed; but the overriding factor seemed to be an awareness of the opportunities for advancement. By taking on lives as soldiers of fortune, Vikings could dramatically alter their prospects: becoming wealthy, reaping glory and fame in battle, and achieving high status as leaders and heroes based on their own abilities and deeds.Although there is reason for speculation about how far the Norse traveled south of Newfoundland, recent archaeological research provides a solid basis for understanding more about Norse explorations and contacts in the north. Archaeologists found Norse artifacts in early Inuit (Eskimo) sites in the Canadian arctic and Greenland. That people of the Dorset culture had begun to replace their stone blades with metal after AD. 1000 seemed curious, although understood when both late Dorset and Early Thule sites began to produce not only Norse iron and copper, but a host of other Norse materials. Soon Norse materials were reported from many eastern Canadian arctic and northwest Greenland sites dating to the Norse period. These finds suggest that Native Americans interacted with the Norse in a variety of ways: by casual contacts, scavenging Norse wrecks, or outright skirmishes This volume celebrates the Vikings’ epic voyages, which brought the first Europeans to the New World. In doing so, the ring of humanity that had been spread in different directions around the globe for hundreds of thousands of years, was finally closed. Even though Leif Eriksson’s was not the first—nor the last—voyage of Viking exploration, nor did it lead to permanent settlement in the Americas, his voyage achieved an important and highly symbolic goal that made the world an infinitely smaller placeAmazon.com Review
In the early Middle Ages, driven by famine at home and thepromise of wealth to be had in other lands, the Viking people explodedout of Scandinavia and set about conquering parts of England, Ireland,France, Russia, and even Turkey. Emboldened by their successes, theVikings pushed ever farther outward, eventually crossing the NorthAtlantic and founding settlements in Iceland, Greenland, and easternCanada.

In The Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga, some three dozenscholars examine the growing archaeological evidence of the Vikingpresence in the New World--including such items as a Norse coinexcavated in Maine, runic stones from the Canadian Arctic, and farmingimplements found in Newfoundland. The contributors consider thesometimes friendly, sometimes warlike history of Viking interactionswith the native peoples of northeastern North America (whom the Norsecalled skraelings, or "screamers"); compare the archaeologicalrecord with contemporary sagas and other records of exploration; andargue for the need to better document the Viking contribution to NewWorld history.

"As an historical and cultural achievement," write the editors, "theViking Age and its North American medieval extension stand out as oneof the most remarkable periods in human history." This oversized,heavily illustrated volume celebrates that little-understoodtime. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars A wealth of info on the medieval Norse reach across the ocean
This sumptuous and lavishly illustrated volume of 432 large pages, was published by the Smithsonian Institution in 2000 to coincide with the thousandth year, as close as we can reckon, of Leif Erikson's pioneering voyage to North America where he founded an outpost in "Vinland" that was used by subsequent expeditions until finally being abandoned after several skirmishes with the native inhabitants -- this according to the two pertinent surviving sagas.

The book is an impressive compendium of scholarship by 40 writers in 32 different articles, naturally from often different viewpoints. It gets a five-star rating not because I don't have disagreements with certain conclusions of a number of articles, but because of the wealth of information it contains on Viking/Norse life and legacies for anyone seriously interested in the topic. It's divided into seven sections, titled Viking Homelands, Viking Raiders (in Europe), Vikings in the North Atlantic (including Iceland), Viking America, Norse Greenland, and Viking Legacy. (The term "Viking" is ill-used as applied to Iceland and the farther lands -- or for that matter in Europe after about 1100 -- but the label seems irresistible to publishers in titles, even to the Smithsonian. At least Greenland gets a proper "Norse" label.)

Obviously it's not a work to be read cover to cover in one gulp. Since there are too many topics and regions covered in detail to look at closely in a review of any reasonable length, I'll focus briefly here on "Viking America," which presents eight major articles. Their topics range from Ellesmere Island in the High Arctic where Norse artifacts have been found, to, of course, Vinland in the far south (just how far south a matter of complex disputes often passionately held.) Too, it explores what the lore and the sagas tell us on one hand, to hard archeological digs on the other, both subject to interpretation. An interesting wrap-up article in this section is intriguingly titled "Unanswered Questions." The Canadian archeologist Birgitta Linderoth Wallace, who wrote two articles and collaborated on another, has been in charge of the famous L'Anse aux Meadows site at the northern tip of Newfoundland since its discoverers Helge and Anne Ingstad finished their work there in the late 1960s. With the Ingstads she believes the site is in fact the remains of Leif's settlement of Leifsbudir -- although others, including Carl Sauer, Erik Wahlgren and myself, have strong doubts on that score. But even if we're right, this in no way diminishes the importance of the site, as this is the first thoroughly, physically confirmed site of Norse occupation found in America. If I may register a guess, it might have been a strategically placed "way station" occupied for a few years by some other unrecorded Norse voyagers presumably from Greenland, which would open other intriguing questions. There's a good possibility that we'll never know.

Another engrossing article deals with the native peoples of these regions: the Innu, Dorset, and Thule Inuit in northern Canada and Greenland (it was the Thule"Eskimos"who remained after the Dorset and Norse were gone), plus the now-extinct Beothuk Indians of Newfoundland; a panel of four maps shows their respective areas of occupancy from AD 900 to 1500. Several articles in the America and Greenland sections look at contacts and relations between the Norse and "natives" (remembering that the Norse Greenlanders were no less "native" than the Thule, having lived in southwest Greenland for over 300 years before the Thule ever arrived in that region). One article includes a recounting of an Inuit folk tale as told to the Danish Greenland official H.J. Rink in 1858, of a bloody incident and reprisals between a group of Inuit and Norse hundreds of years before, complete with color illustrations drawn for Rink by an Inuit artist.

The above comments scarcely touch the surface of the riches to be found in this volume. The general tone is scholarly and carefully conservative in most respects (sometimes too conservative and one-sided in my view, as if the writers/editors were reluctant to delve much into matters subject to heated controversies except to dispose of them as quickly as possible). Nevertheless, all in all it's a most impressive compendium of fascinating information not obtainable elsewhere, and the editors and writers are to be congratulated for that.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Resource!!!
For those interested in:
the history of an ancient people, the Vikings
the history of a people's travels and explorations
the history of a people's art, storytelling, and craftsmanship
the history of a people's society and everyday living

This book is for you. I constantly use references from this book in my writings, as it contains such detail that is just begging to be acknowledged. The images are fantastic, and continues to inspire! Historical enthusiasts, novice and veterans alike are sure to enjoy this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great start
This great book takes you from western Europe and Russia to L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland in a gigantic arc of detail and archaeology. Many areas of great intrest such as the Isle of Man and the Shetland Isles are often overlooked in OTHER books but not this one. If you want to start learning about the Vikings disembark from here.

5-0 out of 5 stars A touchdown
If you know only a little about Vikings, and want to know a lot more, this is the book to get. Lavishly illustrated, although, as another reader pointed out, a little big for bedtime reading or the train. I really liked the way the book recalls the entire Norse history -- from the 700s right up to the Minnesota Vikings. By the way, I got to sail for a couple days on the very ship depicted on the cover.

5-0 out of 5 stars This gorgeous Viking book ranks with the best
What a complete package! Absolutely loaded with huge beautiful pictures of everything from ancient maps to medieval Scandinavian jewelry to charts of what individual experts think the Vikings dubbed "Vinland", this book has it all. Someone familiar with the subject will find it gorgeously re-introduced in this extremely professional layout, and yet anyone new to the subject will find this book to be inviting, informative, and fun to read. While this book doesn't dig quite as deep as either Jones' textbook-format "A History of The Vikings" or Haywood's geographically well-documented "The Penguin Historical Atlas of The Vikings", this is still like a huge compilation of every other Viking book I've seen yet, giving the subject the spotlight that it needs after so many recent discoveries. A very professional complete package for everyone. ... Read more

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