Falconry in Viking-Age Europe

 


“They had hawks on their shoulders” ‘Their haufdu Hauka sina a oxlom’ (Rolf Krakes Saga)

 

The remains of hawks are found in the graves of men of importance from the Viking-Age, but after Greenland was settled by Erik the Red in 985, Greenland Gyrfalcons were sent back to Europe. They were so prized that only the highest ranking Kings could afford to own them. Lesser ranking Earls might sport a Tiercel Peregrine, Knights a Saker, Yeomen perhaps a Groshawk or Hobby, Priests had Sparrowhawks, Knaves, servants, and children were restricted to Kestrels. The Gyrfalcon became the cash cow export of the Greenlanders.

 

Recently a 2,500-year-old nest was discovered on a cliff in Greenland. The nesting site is still continually used and it’s the oldest raptor nest ever recorded. Three other nests over 1000 years old have also been found. One contained feathers from a bird that lived more than 600 years ago. It wasn’t easy for the Greenland Norse to capture these birds. Take a look at the cliffs.

 

And, take a look at the chicks! I’m happy there are laws about exporting captured birds today.

 

You can get BUFFALOed at:
http://www.amazon.com/Buffaloed-Fairlee-Winfield/dp/1439200998

 

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Published in: on April 1, 2010 at 8:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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