Vikings who lived in Greenland for centuries were driven out in the fifteenth century by a sea level rise of at least 3 meters. It was previously thought that the Normans left because of the cold, but that has now been debunked.
Archaeological evidence provides insight into how the Vikings lived in southwest Greenland. For example, ruins and human and animal bones have been found.
The last written evidence that the Vikings lived in Greenland dates from the early fifteenth century. It’s a record of a wedding ceremony. But why the Vikings disappeared has remained a mystery until now.
Researchers now think they are one step closer to solving the mystery. The Vikings were plagued by a sea level rise of up to 3 meters. That was the result of a huge ice sheet that collapsed into the sea. Large parts of the habitat flooded and eventually became uninhabitable.
Social unrest and economic factors may also have played a role. For example, in the twelfth century the diet of the Normans changed from cattle to fish and seals. The Vikings therefore became dependent on coastal areas, but these were not stable due to major environmental changes.