Hvalsey, Greenland

Twelve miles by Zodiac up the Hvalseyjarfjord from Qaqortoq, the largest community in South Greenland, lies the most prominent Norse archaeological site in Greenland. The so-called Eastern Settlement lasted from the 10th until the mid-15th century. Your expedition team archaeologist can interpret for you the ruins of the great halls and church at Hvalsey that hint of a prospering medieval farmstead. The site evokes an era when the Norse were trading with the indigenous Thule people of the area for furs and ivory, which were a prized commodities in Europe. A wedding held in the church in 1408 comprises the last written record of the Norse adventure in Greenland. Within a few years, Hvalsey and the rest of other Norse communities of Greenland withered as immigrants returned to the more established communities in Iceland and Norway. The site’s meadows of wildflowers sloping up from the fjord give a sense of the peaceful community that existed here in that long-ago summer.