I have always been interested in the Vikings, especially their visits to North America and the encounters with the natives (Skraelings). As if to spur this on, I was commissioned to build a model of a Viking Longship for our Local Scandinavian Cultural Center. Near the same time I obtained a copy of the book Westviking by Farley Mowat (1965) and after reading it, we decided to take a vacation to Newfoundland where L' Anse Aux Meadows, the only verified Norse site in North America is located. What I learned in Newfoundland and the subsequent results of my research is remarkable.
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PF1. Not likely. Prove to me that it is.
|Copper Culture spearpoint similar to type found in the Yukon|
|Copper Culture vase in Milwaukee Museum|
|Copper Culture socketed long knife or sword|
|Copper Culture weapons in the Runestone Museum, Alexandria (photo- author)|
|Copper Culture arrow points of flat style|
|Adena tablet from Cincinnati, Ohio|
|Adena earspools, Mound City Group, Ohio|
|Serpent made of Mica, Turner Site, Ohio|
|Polished granite axe head, Spiro Mounds, OK, Mississippian Culture (photo - Author)|
|Engraved copper plate, Spiro Mounds, OK, Mississippian Culture (photo - Author)|
|Map of North American mounds|
|Ephraim George Squier and E. H. Davis, "The Serpent;" Smithsonian institution, 1848|
|A different view of Serpent Mound, Ohio|
|A cutaway view of of a burial mound.|
|Grand Mound (Photo courtesy MN Historical Society) Rainy River, Minnesota|
|Rainy River, Ontario mound (Reproduced from Wright 1972a: Plate 13)|
|Forging a sword (from the saga of Sigurd)|
|Cutaway of an iron forge|
|Raw slag or iron. Note the tool.|
|Twelve miles of the Scioto River Valley indicating ancient sites (Map from Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley 1848)|
|Six miles of the Paint Creek Valley indicating ancient sites (Map from Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley 1848)|
|Six miles of the Great Miami Valley indicating ancient sites (Map from Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley 1848)|
|The Great Mound at Cahokia (photo Smithsonian Magazine)|
|Artist's depiction of Cahokia (Image courtesy of Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site)|
|Natural rock formations can sometimes be confused with man made structures. These are natural. (Photo used previously)|
|Artist's concept of the fortifications at Scott, Arkansas|
|Aerial view image of the fortifications at Scott, Arkansas (Democrat-Gazette file photo)|
|Animal effigy mounds at Horeb, Wisconsin (Map from Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley 1848)|
|Animal effigy mounds at Riley, Wisconsin (Map from Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley 1848)|
|Fortifications at Duck River, Tennessee (Map from Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley 1848)|
|Fortifications at Manchester, Tennessee. Note different styles of stone work.|
|Trail map of the Manchester fortifications.|
|Satellite image of ancient fortifications, Fort Knox, Kentucky (Google Maps)|
|Old Photograph, Cherokee Park, Kentucky|
|Stonework, Cherokee Park, Kentucky (View 1)|
|Stonework, Cherokee Park, Kentucky (View 2)|
|Stonework, Cherokee Park, Kentucky (View 3)|
|Stonework, Cherokee Park, Kentucky (View 4)|
|Fortifications at Miami Township, Ohio (Map from Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley 1848)|
|Fortifications at Midway, Kentucky (Map from Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley 1848)|
|Fortifications at Coleraine, Ohio 39.308, -84.631 (Map from Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley 1848)|
|Fortifications at Lexington, Kentucky (Map from Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley 1848)|
|Fortifications at Hamilton, Ohio (Map from Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley 1848)|
|Toucan pottery handle, Hamilton, Ohio (Illustration from Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley 1848)|
|Fortifications at West Alexandria, Ohio (Illustration from Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley 1848)|
|Fortifications at Stoners Creek, Kentucky (Illustration from Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley 1848)|
|Fortifications at Piqua, Ohio (Illustration from Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley 1848)|
|Fort Ancient Stoneworks, Washington Township , Ohio (Illustration from Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley 1848)|
|Oseberg wool winder (Oslo museum)|
|Nineteenth century woodcut of the Pollock Works|
|An aerial image taken between 1960-1980 shows the full Serpent Mound site in Adams County, Ohio (Photo courtesy of Ohio History Connection)|
|Copy of trail map brochure, Serpent Mound, Ohio|
|Fort Hill Earthworks, Lincolnville, Ohio (Illustration from Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley 1848)|
|Fort Hill Earthworks, Lincolnville, Ohio viewed from a distance|
|Fort Hill Earthworks Old photo from "Masterpieces of the Mound Builders"|
|Arlington Mallery's chart of duplication of ancient letters in North America|
A viking came home from pillaging to find that everyone thought he was dead. His wife, enraged, went to the village chieftain to complain.
The chieftain apologized profusely, saying: “I must have taken Leif off my census!”.
Even as I write this blog the Kievan Rus (Swedish Vikings) along with the Verengian Guard are standing strong in the shield wall against the Muscovites. It is interesting to realize the current war in Ukraine has traditional roots over one thousand years old. Hostilities started around the time the Swedes moved their trade routes to Byzantium from the Volga to the Dnieper rivers.
I am aware that this blog is supposed to deal with the Vikings and their relationships to North America. I also realize I have been covering some quite NON Viking subjects lately, but I feel it is also most essential to look at some of the identified native cultures in North America that were around before and during the Viking/Norse incursions. This is important as we begin to look at the central portion of North America.
We have already determined that the Norse were not the first visitors to this continent and that they were mainly following already well established trade routes but, their interactions with the native peoples they met are critically important and must be considered.
THE COPPER CULTURE
One of the most impressive and enigmatic of the cultures to come out of North America is called the Old Copper Culture. They emerged in an area from the northwest region of Lake Superior down into Lake Michigan and including western portions of the Michigan peninsula.
Recent radio carbon dating has confirmed the earlier dates put forward with the scientific study of magnesium and copper trailings from Isle Royale, this culture's major source of wealth. During their time over 125,000 tons of copper were taken from there. Some experts suggest this figure could be up to 750,000 tons. Current discussions focus around whether this culture smelted or only annealed this metal.
With Gobekli Tepi dating at 8000 BCE and excavations of sites at 12,000+ the concept of an advanced copper culture in North America at 7500 BCE can no longer be dismissed. We see the evolution of socketed weapons and tools that are at their apex around 3500 BCE. Long knives and swords are developed.
An article from the Fenwick Papers discusses North American Viking artifacts but also refers to some copper items. There is also a good picture of a Copper Culture sword at the bottom of this article.
Spear or Sword?
Current thoughts suggest that massive amounts of copper (125,000 tons) were exported to the Old World where, combined with tin, helped the Bronze Age come to be. The fact is that we cannot account for even a fraction of that amount of copper in North American artifacts while the Old World cannot account for the amount of copper used during the Bronze Age. Copper ingots in ancient shipwrecks have been traced to the Lake Superior region.
Interestingly, a change in the Copper Culture is parallel to the start of the Bronze Age. By around 3300 BCE sophisticated copper weapons are found less while flat tang arrow points and ornamental items start to become more plentiful. A reduction in the making of these items seems to parallel the iron age even more at 1200 BCE.
By 500 BCE this culture is replaced by the Woodlands and Hopewell cultures although exports of copper from this area seem to have continued on well into the sixteenth century.
Here is an excellent article and good theories on the decline of the Copper Culture:
THE ROLE OF TOOL FUNCTION IN THE DECLINE OF NORTH AMERICA’S OLD COPPER CULTURE (6000-3000 BP) by Michelle Rae Bebber
The remains of a prehistoric village was found at Lake Gogebic,Wisconsin. Copper arrowpoints and several awls or stylus were uncovered there. More important is Isle Royale itself where copper was taken from ancient mine shafts. Wood found in sockets of copper mining tools has been carbon dated to 3700 BC but not only copper was found. Obsidian and chalcedony points, human bones, skulls thicker than Aboriginal or European and a Medallion from India dating between CE 700-1300 were located in archaeological digs.
To give an idea of the extent of the Old Copper Culture's influence we find arrowpoints, spearheads, knives and swords from as far away as Carcross, Yukon while many artifacts have been found through Minnesota and Northern Ontario. In Green Bay, Wisconsin the Neville Public Museum displays a nice selection of Copper Culture artifacts that would probably bear having a good look at. The Museum in Milwaukee boasts 1500 artifacts.
Is it possible that early Viking explorers heard tales of great wealth in the new world and had to see for themselves?
A NEW FIND TURNS BACK THE CLOCK
A runestone of Ringerike style has recently been discovered in Denmark with sediment carbon dating to CE 0-150. The stone was carved in proper runic style which experts say indicates the language was in use for 200 years previous, extending the dating of Elder Futhark from CE 300-800 to BCE 200- CE 800. This indicates ELDER FUTHARK was used for an entire millenium!
Native cultures continued...
When looking at the following cultures it is important to note that the dating used is all approximate relying on the current accepted norms. The emergence and decline of these cultures was a gradual process that would have taken a number of generations on either end.
THE WOODLANDS CULTURE
The Eastern Woodlands culture is one of the two basic cultures to replace the Old Copper Culture. Emerging around 500 BCE, this is an unusual case that shows the people of the area devolved from the use of copper weapons and tools to using stone tools and although agriculture was practiced, the emergence of nomadic hunting practices occurred. Hammered copper is still present but more in the forms of ornamentation and jewellery.
Around CE 1100 the culture separated into some of the more distinct tribes we know today from post Columbus contact such as the Algonquin, Mi’kmaq, Ojibwe, Abenaki, Iroquois and Huron. Is it possible the Norse had something to do with this?
This article provides further details for those who wish to learn more about these people:
The Woodland Culture
The other culture to emerge from the Old Copper Culture is the Adena around 500 BCE. Divergently the Adena appear to be more static than their Woodland Culture contemporaries while the Adena's cultivation of crops is more plentiful. Copper is still used decoratively and in trade. Intricately carved effigy pipes are turned up in many sites. We hear of mounds.
More details can be found here:
There is a decline in the Adena around CE 100. It is most likely this group assimilated into the Hopewell Culture although there are possibilities they migrated southward. Perhaps both occurred. What is quite noticeable is how strikingly similar Adena artwork is to that of the Mesoamerican cultures.
Here is a great link with some excellent pictures:
(While researching the Adena artifacts at the above website I ran across a pair of silver earspools as pictured at right. They were dug out of the Mound City Group, Ohio. Although copper earspools are not uncommon, silver pairs are exceedingly rare. Sort of reminds me of King Tuts iron meteorite dagger. Bears looking into, but not by me.)
THE HOPEWELL CULTURE
The Hopewell Culture emerged around 200 BCE and are so closely related to the Adena that it is likely they are a sub-culture. Sharing many characteristics with the Adena such as copper, trade and crop cultivation.
The Hopewell Culture is also reknowned for their mound building, again shared with the Adena. Later European settlers coming to this part of central North America encountered thousands of mounds. Many were destroyed while tilling the land. More were looted and some were dug properly by credited archaeologists. Very few remain today leaving us with a sadly unsolvable mystery.
The Hopewell Culture was in decline somewhere around CE 500.
A large volcanic eruption occurred in Ilipango(?), Guatemala in CE 536. A dense ash cloud hovered over the northern hemisphere for some time resulting in extremely inclement weather and starvation. The demise of the Mayan culture has been attributed to this event.
Could this also have been the cause of the end of the Hopewell culture or were there other mitigating factors?
Patricia Sutherland's finds in the north indicate a European people were there around this time frame. That they made their presence known further south is indicated not only by saga reports but by numerous sites and artifacts.
Byzantium, in this time era was also affected by this eruption but it was additionally hit by a bout of the Bubonic Plague. This eastern culture nearly collapsed because of these factors. This era is considered to be the end of the Classical Ages and the beginning of the Dark Ages.
THE MISSISSIPPIAN CULTURE
The Mississippian People must have encountered the Norse. Their emergence around CE 700 was a result of the rebuilding of a vast culture and trade network to replace that devastated by the events of CE 500.
They covered a vast area from north of the great lakes, west of the Mississippi and south almost to the Gulf of Mexico. Their eastern ranges were to the Allegeny Mountains and throughout the Ohio valley.
Again mound building was one of their specialties although this was more sophisticated into temples and pyramids. They are known for their great city centers such as Cahokia, Aztalan, Moundsville and Spiro. Some of their centers had populations of up to 50,000 individuals and extensive trade networks featured goods exchanged from all over North America.
The Norse were clearly aware of this culture for they are mentioned on the Spirit Pond Runestone (Which is covered in detail later) as the 'Trade Empire'.
Around CE 1050 one of this culture's settlements east of Cahokia was destroyed by unknown attackers and this prompted many of this culture's city centers to have pallisades built around them. Could this have been a Viking raid? These people were eventually replaced arounde CE 1600 by the westward migration of other tribes in contact with the Europeans.
Around CE 1000 a number of divergent cultures inhabited portions of the Ohio River Valley, most predominant among them being the Fort Ancient people.
Possibly branching from the Mississippian Culture, the Fort Ancient culture continued with effigy mounds, the cultivation of crops with more modern farming techniques and their larger, fortified villages. They continued involvement with the trade network but on a more reduced scale.
Other related sub cultures in this area to emerge around the same timeframe are those of the Sandusky Culture, the Whittlesley Culture and the Monongahela Culture. Very much similar to the Fort Ancient, their differences seem to be mainly with pottery styles.
Again these cultures ended with the westward migration due to European contact around CE 1600.
WHO WAS FIRST: MERCHANT OR RAIDER?
Notwithstanding exploration, it is generally accepted that the merchants or traders were first and that raiders followed the trade routes to get to their victims. Many of the Scandinavian peoples, when they went Vikingr, were well equipped for either.
The word Viking is as much a misnomer as saying they had horns on their helmets. In reality, the word 'Vikingr' really meant 'to go adventuring' or 'to go sailing' whether it be raiding, trading or exploring.
Initially the Scandinavian ships were primarily designed for coastal travel. This can be seen on numerous ancient Scandinavian rock carvings. However, advancements in their shipbuilding techniques created durable seagoing vessels that they used to range farther and farther as time passed. To go Vikingr.
Although officially the Viking age began in CE 792 with the raid on the Lindisfarne Monastery and ended with the Battle of Hastings in CE 1066, Vikingr activities occurred well before and after these dates. Some experts suggest two to three hundred years on either side as a buffer.
Numerous sagas describe this adventuring by various characters. They provide interesting information on ships, journeys and interactions of the 'Vikings'.
A Technology Rant
Although I constantly applaud the advancements of technology to increase our knowledge of the past one of the hugest thorns in my side is the complete lack of permanence when we come to the internet or media sites.
A prime example is streaming sites. I will go through dozens of program offerings to find one I want to watch, which I will then usually save as a favorite. Now here is the thorn: In many situations when I have the time or are in a mood to watch one of these favorites, they are no longer there, having been pulled by some streaming executive looking at stats. In the meantime I once again have to surf through piles and piles of garbage before I can find something I am interested in. What was once a 'movie night' for my son and I is now a 'wading through junk night'.
The same goes when I am trying to research something. Time and time again, while hunting information on a particular subject, I will come across links vital to other areas of interest I am exploring.
Saving the links, I will go back only to find them obsolete and the information gone. It requires a whole new round of research... and more links to be saved for further research. Back to square one.
Perhaps a technology could be developed that took daily 'snapshots' of the entire internet somehow that were permanently archived. A person could go back to any given day to see what was on the web then.
Enough ranting. On to Viking stuff...
The central area of North America is made up of the territory east of the Mississippi River, encompassing the Great Lakes and the vast area known as the Ohio valley. Some areas north of the great lakes can be considered and there are some things we can look at as far south as Tennessee.
We now encounter mounds, which have been studied, excavated professionally, dug up unprofessionally, looted, plowed under and plowed over for centuries. Sadly, much of what was there is forever lost and what we have left is a book with half of it's pages ripped out at random leaving only a base indication of what happened. Mounds principally occur through Minnesota, Ontario, Wisconsin, Ohio, West Virginia and into the east.
Previous examination of the indigenous cultures show that they were building mounds since 3500 BCE and up to CE 1500. But what about old world presence or influence? Can we consider the possibility that any of these mounds could have been Norse or Alban (Christianized Celts)? Both cultures were also known for mound building. Yet whose are whose?
I have deliberately left in here what I feel to be the Alban footprints as I believe their descendants had contact with the Norse in this area.
As a point of interest while we enter the central part of North America the frequency of stone walls, towers and roadwork also increases. Another notable tell tale sign of old world presence is iron forges.
Rainy Lake, Ont.
Rainy Lake Mounds
Discovered in 1957, these mounds are just east of Fort Frances, Ontario. The Rainy River area also contains numerous mounds.
La Verendrye built a fort in this area. He most likely came down the Ottawa and French river systems into Lake Superior from Montreal following the traditional route of the later North West Company. Could the Norse have also used this route?
Geographical location: 48.720, -93.213
PF 3 (PF 5)
The Indiana Republican Banner reported this discovery in 1835.
Geographical location: 38.716,-90.214
Entering into the Ohio Valley we encounter not only a large number of mounds but we encounter iron ingots, metal objects, stone roads and mooring Stones. The cultures of the area also built extensive defensive fortifications, enclosures, cities and ceremonial sites.
Unlike further west, European habitation came much sooner with surveys being done as early as the 1780s. James Foster, a Newspaper editor, was making reports by 1810 and Caleb Atwater put out a book called Archaeological Americana in 1819; but by far one of the most comprehensive is Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley by E. G. Squier and E. Davis. Not only do they detail their own survey work but that of several others with dozens of woodcuts and maps. This book was published by the Smithsonian in 1848 and I have used it extensively for the Central section of North America in our search for Vikings.
On my wish list is:
The Graves of the Golden Bear: Ancient Fortresses and Monuments of the Ohio Valley by Rick Osmon. It is a large, expensive reference that examines and maps over 45 sites and makes no bones about the relation of these sites to old world cultures. I have yet to read this one. Anyone have a good, economical second hand one around?
Here is some further information that I think is important about the upcoming Central section:
In 1846 it was estimated that there were over 10,000 mounds and 1000 to 1500 enclosures in this area. Many of these enclosures have been considered as defensive fortifications and all those have independent water sources.
There are numerous types of mounds. Most seem to be grave mounds, usually having a single burial at the bottom. (Squier reports many of these skeletons crumbling to dust with extreme age when exhumed.) In numerous cases later more contemporary burials are interred higher up in the mound.
Related to this are altar mounds which are many times included in burials. These would be burnt offerings but animal and human bones are also reported. They could be cremations, either done on the site or brought from somewhere else. Some contain large quantities of offerings such as one at Mound City that contained 200 effigy pipes.
Not to be confused with pipes is effigy mounds, of which I am including a few interesting examples. These seem to rarely have anything in them and are constructed in the form of geometric, human and animal shapes. Much like the Nazca lines, they are viewed best from height.
But what we are looking for are iron forges. While Foster, Atwater and Mallery pinpoint these with slag and ore, Squier uses the argument that they are watchtowers. Forges give the indication of Alban (Irish Celts) and Nordic influence.
* I had to go back a bit on these first two.
Stone foundations 1823
Reported by Dr. Beck in his Beck's Gazeteer of Missouri. This appeared to be the ruins of a town with numerous buildings having stone foundations.The remains of the stone walls were sod covered.
Geographical location: 38.669,-91.560
Stone Building Remains 1846
Reported by Squier and Davis in 1848. The building was of unhewn stone with the walls 2' to 5' in height. It was guessed wood was used to complete the building. It measured 22' x 56' and contained several chambers.
These fall within the dimensions of a Viking longhouse.
Geographical location: 39.448,-91.051
The Mississippian Culture, as examined previously, linked a vast trade network along the Mississippi River including the Ohio Valley west of the Allegheneys. This predominantly peaceful society is known for it's trade, mound building and agricultural growing of crops. Several city centers were scattered across this area.
One of the major city centers of the Mississippian Culture was Cahokia. The site is situated less than five miles east of St. Louis, Missouri and is well preserved.
This constantly growing city had a population of 20,000 by CE 1250. Some experts even claim the population grew to 40,000. It was larger than London, England during the time of its existence.
Archaeologists have determined that prior to CE 1100 there was a raid of an outlying settlement of Cahokia that was along the Mississippi River, a couple miles west of the city. There is evidence that this small community was burnt to the ground and some of its residents massacred. It is after this date that construction of wooden palisades occur at Cahokia and a population surge takes place. For the next 200 years their defensive fortifications were modified and improved. Taking place in four stages, watch posts begin in a round shape, then change to square towers.
The extensive trade network and mound building of these people disappeared around 1600 with European contact, their demise coming from the migration of eastern tribes and very likely smallpox.
We can make a couple considerations from this.
Not all Norse were good guys and it is possible that some took their Vikingr to the Mississippi, raiding settlements for loot and slaves. The continuing modification of the Cahokia defensive fortifications indicate this raiding to be an ongoing issue. As well, a large number of defensive works show up east of the Mississippi with the Fort Ancient Culture around CE 1000.
It is also possible that other Norse allies may have assisted or advised in improvement of defenses. With the large number of forts present in the area we could be looking at the start of a familial or feudal style of warfare.
Geographical location: 38.655,-90.062
A YouTube video by cf-apps7865 takes a very good look at Celtic Forts in Ireland. I believe it is important to be aware of these as we progress deeper into the Ohio Valley.
This fortified enclosure is at present the most southern of our subjects. It was originally known as the Toltec Mounds because of its similarity to those in Mesoamerica but they are actually part of the Fort Ancient (or related) Culture. Just southeast of Little Rock they were first noted by Palmer in 1894.
This site is currently preserved as the Plum Bayou Mounds Archaeological State Park.
Geographical location: 34.645, -92.059
Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin
Animal Effigy Mounds 1850
There was a very large number of effigy mounds in the area roughly bordered by Madison, Milwaukee and Rockford although few exist today. They portrayed a wide variety of mammals, birds and reptiles. There were mounds that visualized human and even geometric figures.
The effigy mounds here portray animals that cannot be readily identified. They could be female deer or may be likened to horses. Nearby is a human and some geometric mounds. They were originally documented by R. C. Taylor prior to 1850.
I have done my best to pinpoint their location although this may not be correct. They no longer exist.
Geographical location: 43.022, -89.643
Animal Effigy Mounds 1850
These appear to be more female deer or horses. Again, this is an estimated location. They were originally documented by R. C. Taylor prior to 1850.
Geographical location: 43.015, -89.603
Sainte Marie, IL
A breastplate made up of 6 inscribed brass plates held together by iron wire was reported by Atwater in 1819. The mound this came out of is still visible by Google satellite. North 1700th Street runs through it.
Geographical location: 38.902,-88.0583
Duck River, Tennessee
An old stone fort is said to be Celtic. It was there before settlers came to the area. The walls are of unhewn stone and a number of the mounds present are rectangular. Since initially identified Duck River has changed its course a number of times and whether these fortifications still exist or not is in question.
Geographical location: 35.460, -86.353
These fortifications first reported in 1819 are composed of gigantic walls that are 15 feet at base. A tree growing out of the top of the structure was cut down and displayed 357 rings, indicating abandonment of this site well before 1460.
Generally Norse and Celtic building techniques constructed walls that were much less massive. These huge walls, which are quite common worldwide,are now thought to be Pre Ice Age Megalithic Structures. However, differences in the patterns of stone indicate this site was occupied by later cultures.
This area is now known as the Old Stone Fort Archaeological Park.
Geographical location: 35.486, -86.102
Although there will be a large number of hill fortifications covered in the next few months, many of which are just plain rock walls, their relationship to the Norse will be seen as we progress.
Allen County, Kentucky
This stonework was located on the bluffs above a sharp bend of one of the many systems in this county, possible Coruth Branch. Published in Collin's History of Kentucky. It's status today is not known.
Geographical location: 36.712, -86.019
Fort Knox, Kentucky
This hill fort is situated on the bluffs above a sharp bend of Rolling Fork. Published in Collin's History of Kentucky. The site appears to be intact on Google satellite.
Geographical location: 37.890, -85.820
This area is currently preserved as the Falls of the Ohio State Park. It was also known as Kentucky Falls because of its location.
Delaware and Cherokee oral legends tell of a great battle that was fought here that involved white men from the north that built forts. They were also said to have brought with them 'strange new things'. Could this be iron and forges? A subsequent investigation of Sandy Island at the base of the falls by Col. James Moore did indeed turn up human bones. Some reports say these remains were butchered which would verify either cannibalism or a battle site.
Here is an excellent, single page article that provides a good idea of what happened here with special regards to the native perspective:
Kentucky Geneology Website - Earliest Inhabitants
Geographical location: 38.272, -85.762
Just across the Ohio River is Cherokee Park and a section known as the Big Rock.
This park was originally created during early twentieth century integration attempts for 'colored people'. Since those times the park has been extensively landscaped, however, much of the stonework here bears examination. Could this have been a demolished fortress and related to the above battle?
Geographical location: 38.233,-85.683
Miami Township, Ohio
This site is near the mouth of the Greater Miami River where it intersects the Ohio River and the Kentucky border. It has been mostly populated but some remains are still visible by satellite. Geo located by topography.
Geographical location: 39.154, -84.775
These fortifications are at a distinct bend of Four Mile Creek. They were surveyed by J. McBride in 1832. They are currently covered by overgrowth.
Geographical location: 39.487, -84.703
These stoneworks were surveyed by C. S. Rafinesque in 1820, our only clue is they are six miles from Lexington. This site appears to have been obliterated.
Geographical location: 38.161, -84.690
There are several reports of glass beads being found in local pre contact sites.
Geographical location: 39.136,-84.680
Surveyed by McBride and Erwin in 1840 these are now covered in residential with a martini lounge overlooking what was once a large mound. Geo located by topography.
Geographical location: 39.305, -84.649
These stoneworks were surveyed by C. S. Rafinesque in 1820, our only clue is they are half a mile south of the Elkhorn River (Creek). This site is not located.
Geographical location: 38.068, -84.635
Here are a few more interesting links. Thanks again Tom:
Rebuilding the Sutton Hoo Ship
Viking Shields Analysis
Viking Burial Goods
These fortifications were on a hill overlooking a wide portion of the Miami River Valley. They were surveyed by McBride in 1840. This is now residential area. Unfortunately the hill has heavily eroded.
Geographical location: 39.298, -84.634
These works were surveyed by McBride and Erwin in 1836. They are now replaced with residential and roads.
Geographical location: 39.308, -84.631
These stone walls were surveyed by C. S. Rafinesque in 1818. Some remnants can still be seen by geo locating.
Geographical location: 38.112, -84.629
This hill fort was surveyed by McBride in 1836. It is on the west bank of the Miami River across from the Miami University. It is preserved as the Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park.
A broken handle from a pottery jug found at this site bears the likeness of a toucan or flamingo. It's accuracy indicates the creator must have physically seen the bird and therefore the artist or the piece itself must have traveled a great distance.
Although not specifically Norse, this artifact does indicate the extent of trade in PCE America.
Geographical location: 39.372, -84.579
These fortifications overlooked Seven Mile Creek. They were surveyed by McBride and Erwin in 1836. They are now residential. Geo located by topography.
Geographical location: 39.463, -84.549
Near Cotton Run Creek. Cut stone foundations were found underneath one of the many mounds in the area that were obliterated for farmland.
Geographical location: 39.456, -84.539
*There were some corrections made to the above illustrations for Miami Township, Ohio and Midway, Kentucky.
West Alexandria, Ohio
This site was surveyed in 1846 by J. McBride. It can be geo located by using a topographical map as there is an unmistakable 'chip' in the heights. The site is presently cultivated fields and wooded area.
Geographical location: 39.715, -84.522
Fairfield Township, Ohio
This site was surveyed in 1840 by McBride. It appears to remain in natural condition. Geo located by topography.
Geographical location: 39.420, -84.492
Identified by Moorehead, Landsverk, Carlson. It is purported to be of celtic or mediterranean style.No further information is available at this time.
Geographical location: 40.149,-84.276
Stoners Creek, Kentucky
At the mouth of Flat Run, this site was mapped by C. S. Rafinesque in 1820. Geo locating shows the walls have been destroyed but mounds are still present.
Geographical location: 38.289, -84.263
North of Piqua on the Great Miami River, this fortification was surveyed by McBride in 1846. This appears to be developed over with a dam, cemetery, Indian agency and dog park.
Geographical location: 40.178, -84.260
Surveyed by McBride and Forber in 1846, this was originally 3 miles below Dayton and now completely within the city limits. This appears to be completely obliterated by residential.
Geographical location: 39.678, -84.239
Washington Township, Ohio
Wool Winder 1994
The Fort Ancient stoneworks are some of the best known in Ohio with just under 4 miles of walls. Surveyed and mapped by Professor Locke prior to 1809. It is a well preserved site today.
In 1994 Joseph reports a wool winder was excavated here that is similar to a specimen in Oslo, Norway.
Geographical location: 39.406, -84.089
Goose Creek, Kentucky
Reports of this ancient Celtic writing have come out of Clay County. No further information is available.
Geographical location: 37.115,-83.838
This site on the south side of Massie Creek was surveyed by Oweins and Dill before 1846. It is now preserved as the Pollock Works Ancient Hopewell Indian Village.
Geographical location: 39.740, -83.822
Sautee Nacoochee, Georgia
Stone Building Remains
One mile east of the Nacoochee Indian Mound on the north bank of the Chatahoochee River can still be seen by topography the remains of a stone building. The site is quite overgrown and most of the stones taken by farmers over the years. It is covered nicely in a YouTube video by cf-apps7865.
Situated on a hilltop and having the remains of stone fortifications this could have been a small fort or an outpost. It is on a watershed system that runs south into the Chatahoochee River while less than five miles north east is the Savannah River system which leads into the Atlantic Ocean.
Upriver, the sources lead into the divide where waterways flow into the Ohio Valley.
Geographical location: 34.682, -83.683
This site is unlikely to have survived the ravages of river and man.
Geographical location: 41.591, -83.587
Bratton Township, Adams County, Ohio
Animal Effigy Mound 1846
One of the most reknowned of the animal effigy mounds and one we briefly looked at previously is the Ohio Serpent Mound. First catalogued in 1846 by Squier and Davis, this site has been likened to Celtic mounds in Abury, England.
The mound is believed to have been built by the Adena around 300-100 BCE and rebuilt around CE 1100 by the Fort Ancient Culture.
It is currently well preserved as the Serpent Mound State Memorial.
Geographical location: 39.025,-83.432
This is now known as the Fort Hill Earthworks. Locke first described them in 1838, Squier and Davis surveyed them in 1846.
A ring count of a large tree on top of the fortifications indicated they were abandoned before CE 1200. Authors suggest they were built around CE 800.
These fortifications can be clearly geo located by topography and are now a well preserved site.
Geographical location: 39.116, -83.402
Although I am unable to provide the source to this submitted article, it nevertheless provides some excellent information about sea levels and the Greenland ice sheet.
The increasing mass of the Greenland ice sheet caused local sea level to rise more than 3 metres after Vikings colonised Greenland, flooding many settlements and contributing to their abandonment of the place.
The sea level around Greenland rose more than 3.3 metres from AD 1000 to 1450, contributing to the woes of Viking settlers and to their eventual abandonment of the island, researchers have found.
In AD 985, Erik the Red established a colony in Greenland after being exiled from Iceland. At the time, the North Atlantic region was unusually warm – the so-called medieval warm period – but after a massive volcanic eruption in Indonesia in 1257, conditions became much colder for several centuries, a period known as the little ice age.
That led to the expansion of the Greenland ice sheet, say Marisa Borreggine at Harvard University and their colleagues, causing the land adjacent to the ice sheet to subside because of the increased weight. The bigger ice sheet also had a greater mass and so exerted a stronger gravitational pull on the waters around Greenland. These two factors had roughly equal effects on sea level there.
The growth of the Greenland ice sheet reduced global sea level by 7 millimetres during this time as it locked away water, but due to other factors, there was a small overall rise on average across the world. All of this contributed to the 3.3-metre rise around Greenland.
It was already known that the sea rose in Greenland when Vikings lived there, but Borreggine’s team is the first to calculate the effect. The findings show that the coast would have retreated hundreds of metres, with the water swamping more than 200 square kilometres of land and impinging on many farms and homes.That must have had a major impact on the settlers.
"There is evidence that their diet shifted from land-based to sea-based", says Borreggine.
The settlers – including Erik the Red’s son Leif Erikson, who sailed to North America some 500 years before Christopher Columbus – were also grappling with colder weather making farming more difficult, conflict with Inuit peoples and reduced demand for walrus ivory as more elephant ivory reached Europe. By around 1450, all the settlements were abandoned.
“What we found is that sea level rise did indeed play a role in the Viking abandonment,” says Borreggine. “But it was not necessarily the number one cause.”
Greenland’s ice sheet is now shrinking fast. Local sea level is already falling around Greenland as the gravity effect weakens and the reduced weight of ice allows land to rise. If the entire ice sheet there melts, as may soon become inevitable, local sea level will fall by more than 100 metres over coming centuries– but rise globally by around 6 metres on average.
....to be continued.