Among the many contributions of Norse settlers in Ireland, the introduction of new naval technologies which expanded the scope and cost of warfare ranks next to the development of port towns in its impact on Irish material and political culture and economy. This paper will explore the effects of a growing need to exert some measure of control or influence over the production, distribution, and use of naval ships in the encouragement of impulses towards state formation in early medieval Ireland, alongside comparative examples from contemporary Scandinavia and England.
During the time between the Late Medieval Warm Period (c. 950-1250) and the Little Ice Age (c. 1300-1850), the cooling climate of the North Atlantic necessitated a change in people’s material priorities and methods of acquisition. These changes had far-reaching consequences for individuals and society collectively, precipitating the collapse of peripheral settlements and strengthening the centralisation of the Norwegian kingdom. This paper summarily explores the extent to which climate change can be said to have contributed to these events and the impact of changing material supply and demand on regional sustainability, social order, and individual and social prosperity.
985 to c. 1415 Viking peasants lived in south-west Greenland, at its maximum c. 2500 people. They became the stepping-stone between Europe and the Vinland settlement in Newfoundland. How did they survive in the Arctic climate? How did they combine their agriculture with hunting and fishing? C. 1415 they disappear from our sources. One hypothesis is that a deteriorating climate made survival impossible. After c.1260 Inuit Eskimos penetrated southwards into the Norse settlement area, and violent confrontations occurred. An alternative hypothesis is that the Norse succumbed in these confrontations. The two hypotheses will be discussed.