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Medieval Place Names Offer Clues to Viking Waterway

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Orkney Viking WaterwayINVERNESS, SCOTLAND—The Scotsman reports that a new study of Old Norse place names with nautical themes, combined with an investigation of infilled channels with remote sensing technology and sediment analysis, suggests a waterway connected the farms around the Loch of Harray, in the center of the Orkney mainland, to the estates of nobles living at the Brough of Birsay, a tidal island off its northwest coast. The shallow route would have allowed the Vikings to move boats and heavy goods, and collect taxes and rents, according to Alexandra Sanmark of the University of the Highlands and Islands. From the Brough of Birsay, the route continued on to the North Atlantic, she explained. To read about a Viking hall unearthed on the Orkney island of Rousay, go to "Skoal!"  

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