Leigh Syms, Manitoba archaeologist and historian, comments on Fara Heim expedition

A recent quote by Dr. Leigh Syms:

Fara Heim Expedition–An Exciting Search for Viking Occupations in Hudson Bay

One of the great mysteries of Viking settlements in North America is the disappearance of the last Vikings. Did they travel inland into the Bay? Did they eventually merge with Inuit camps and intermarry with the Inuit women? Early expeditions such as Knut Rasmussen in the 1920s reported “blond Eskimos”. This appears to be somewhat of a misnomer since they are described as having fair (as in brown) hair, blue or grey eyes, European facial features, and more beard than other Inuit pictures show, but they present an intriguing enigma. Viking artifacts have been found in Inuit camps on the east side of the Bay, indicating contact.
But did the Vikings set up their camps in the Bay, on their own or with Inuit partners? No one has searched for the evidence. One is reminded of the Viking site at L’Anse aux Meadows which remained a fabled site reported in Icelandic sagas until Helge Ingstad set out to find it and lucked in to find the people who could show him a strange site. It is entirely possible that Viking sites will be found in the Bay but it will require extensive searching and discussions with local Inuit elders about any such traditions. Fortunately the Fara Heim Expedition is well on its way in this regard.

E. Leigh Syms, PhD
Adjunct Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Manitoba
As the former Curator of Archaeology at The Manitoba Museum, he developed a travelling exhibit on the Vikings which is still circulating.

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