The Polaris expedition of 1871–1873 was an American expedition, one of the first serious attempts to reach the North Pole, after that of British naval officer Sir William Edward Parry, who reached 82° 45′N in 1827. The expedition's notable achievement was reaching 82 ° 29 ′ N by a record at the time; the expedition was commanded by the experienced and self-taught Arctic explorer Charles Francis Hall, who had lived among the Inuit in the Arctic region while on his obesessive quest to determine the fate of Franklin's lost expedition of 1845. Hall possessed the necessary survival skills, but lacked an academic background, had no experience leading men and commanding a ship, he had managed to secure the position of expedition commander based on his authority on the subject of the Arctic. Polaris departed from New York in June 1871. Underway, the expedition found itself hampered by poor leadership. Insubordination loomed at the instigation of chief scientist Emil Bessels and meteorologist Frederick Meyer—both German—who looked down on what they perceived to be their unqualified commander.
Bessels and Meyer were supported by the German half of the crew, further increasing tensions among a crew, divided by nationality. By October, the men were wintering in Thank God Harbor, on the shore of northern Greenland, making preparations for the trip to the Pole. Hall returned to the ship from an exploratory sledging journey to a fjord he named Newman Bay, promptly fell ill. Before he died, he accused members of the crew of orchestrating his murder, an accusation directed at Bessels. On the way southward, 19 members of the expedition became separated from the ship and drifted on an ice floe for six months and 1,800 miles, before being rescued; the damaged Polaris was run aground and wrecked near Etah in October 1872. The remaining men were rescued the following summer. A naval board of inquiry investigated Hall's death, but no charges were laid. However, an exhumation of his body in 1968 revealed he had ingested a large quantity of arsenic in the last two weeks of his life. Coupled with recently-discovered affectionate letters written by both Hall and Bessels to Vinnie Ream, a young sculptor they met in New York while waiting for Polaris to be outfitted, suggests Bessels had a motive, besides the means, to kill Hall.
In 1827, Sir William Edward Parry led a British Royal Navy expedition with the aim to be the first men to reach the North Pole. In the next five decades following Parry's attempt, the Americans would mount three such expeditions: Elisha Kent Kane in 1853–1855, Isaac Israel Hayes in 1860–1861, Charles Francis Hall with the Polaris in 1871–1873. Hall was a Cincinnati businessman with no notable academic sailing experience, he worked as a blacksmith and for a couple of years he published his own newspaper – the Cincinnati Occasional. Energetic and enterprising, he enthusiastically wrote about the latest technological innovations, he was a voracious reader captivated by the Arctic. His focus was directed towards the region around 1857, after it had dawned on society that Franklin's Arctic expedition of 1845, in all likelihood, would never be coming home, he spent the next few years studying the reports of previous explorers and trying to raise money for an expedition. As a result of his charisma and personality, he was able to launch two solo expeditions in search of Franklin and his crew.
These experiences established him as a seasoned Arctic explorer, gave him valuable contacts among the Inuit people. The renown he gained allowed him to convince the U. S. Government to finance a third expedition. In 1870, the U. S. Senate introduced a bill in Congress to fund an expedition to the North Pole. Hall, aided by Navy Secretary George M. Robeson lobbied for, received, a $50,000 grant to command the expedition, he began recruiting personnel in late 1870. He secured a 387-ton screw-propelled steamer. At the Washington Navy Yard, the ship was fitted as a fore-topsail schooner, renamed Polaris, she was prepared for Arctic service by the addition of solid oak timber all over her hull, the bow was sheathed in iron. A new engine was added, one of the boilers was retrofitted to burn seal or whale oil; the ship was outfitted with four whaleboats, 20-foot-long and four-foot-wide, a flat-bottomed scow. During his previous Arctic expeditions, Hall came to admire the Inuit umiak—a type of open boat made of driftwood and walrus- or seal skins—and brought a constructed collapsible boat which could hold 20 people.
Food packed on board consisted of tinned ham, salted beef and sailor's biscuit. They intended to prevent scurvy by supplementing their diet with fresh muskox and polar bear meat. In July 1870, U. S. President Ulysses S. Grant designated Hall as the expedition's overall commander, he was to be referred to as captain. Although Hall had abundant Arctic experience, he had no sailing experience, the title was purely honorary. In selecting officers and seamen, Hall relied on whalers with experience in the Arctic waters; this was markedly different from the polar expeditions of the British Admiralty, who tended to use naval officers and disciplined crews. For his selection of sailing master, Hall first turned to Sidney O. Budington to George E. Tyson. Both declined due to prior whaling commitments; when those commitments fell through, Hall named Budington as sai
Viking expansion is the process by which Norse explorers and warriors, the latter known in modern scholarship as Vikings, sailed most of the North Atlantic, reaching south to North Africa and east to Russia and the Middle East as looters, traders and mercenaries. Vikings under Leif Erikson, the heir to Erik the Red, reached North America and set up a short-lived settlement in present-day L'Anse aux Meadows, Canada. Longer lasting and more established settlements were formed in Greenland, the Faroe Islands, Great Britain and Normandy, it is debated. There is much debate among historians about. One held idea is that it was a quest for retaliation against continental Europeans for their previous invasions of Viking homelands, such as Charlemagne's campaign to force Scandinavian pagans to convert to Christianity by killing any who refused to become baptized; the historian Rudolf Simek has observed, "It is not a coincidence if the early Viking activity occurred during the reign of Charlemagne." Those who favor this explanation point out that the penetration of Christianity into Scandinavia caused serious conflict and divided Norway for a century.
However, the first target of Viking raids was not the Frankish Kingdom, but Christian monasteries in England. According to the historian Peter Sawyer, these were raided because they were centers of wealth and their farms well-stocked, not because of any religious reasons. Another idea is that the Viking population had exceeded the agricultural potential of their homeland; this may have been true of western Norway, where there were few reserves of land, but it is unlikely the rest of Scandinavia was experiencing famine. Alternatively, some scholars propose that the Viking expansion was driven by a youth bulge effect: since the eldest son of a family customarily inherited the family's entire estate, younger sons had to seek their fortune by emigrating or engaging in raids. Peter Sawyer suggests that most Vikings emigrated due the attractiveness of owning more land rather than the necessity of having it. However, no rise in population, youth bulge, or decline in agricultural production during this period has been definitively demonstrated.
Nor is it clear why such pressures would have prompted expansion overseas rather than into the vast, uncultivated forest areas in the interior of the Scandinavian Peninsula, although emigration or sea raids may have been easier or more profitable than clearing large areas of forest for farm and pasture in a region with a limited growing season. An idea that avoids these shortcomings is that the Scandinavians might have practiced selective procreation leading to a shortage of women, that the Vikings' main motive for emigration was to acquire wives, although this would not explain why the Vikings chose to settle in other countries rather than bringing the women back with them to Scandinavia, it is possible that a decline in the profitability of old trade routes drove the Vikings to seek out new, more profitable ones. Trade between western Europe and the rest of Eurasia may have suffered after the Roman Empire lost its western provinces in the 5th century, the expansion of Islam in the 7th century may have reduced trade opportunities within western Europe by redirecting resources along the Silk Road.
Trade in the Mediterranean was at its lowest level in history when the Vikings began their expansion. The Viking expansion opened new trade routes in Arab and Frankish lands, took control of trade markets dominated by the Frisians after the Franks destroyed the Frisian fleet. Viking settlements in Ireland and Great Britain are thought to have been male enterprises, however some graves show nearly equal male/female distribution. Disagreement is due to method of classification; the males buried during that period in a cemetery on the Isle of Man had names of Norse origin, while the females there had names of indigenous origin. Irish and British women are mentioned in old texts on the founding of Iceland, indicating that the Viking explorers were accompanied there by women from the British Isles who either came along voluntarily or were taken along by force. Genetic studies of the population in the Western Isles and Isle of Skye show that Viking settlements were established by male Vikings who mated with women from the local populations of those places.
However, not all Viking settlements were male. Genetic studies of the Shetland population suggest that family units consisting of Viking women as well as men were the norm among the migrants to these areas; this may be because areas like the Shetland Islands, being closer to Scandinavia, were more suitable targets for family migrations, while frontier settlements further north and west were more suitable for groups of unattached male colonizers. During the reign of King Beorhtric of Wessex three ships of "Northmen" landed at Portland Bay in Dorset; the local reeve mistook the Vikings for merchants and directed them to the nearby royal estate, but the visitors killed him and his men. The earliest recorded planned Viking raid, on 6 January 793, targeted the monastery on the island of Lindisfarne, off the north-east coast of Northumbria. According to the 12th-century Anglo-Norman chronicler Symeon of Durham, the raiders killed the resident monks or threw them into the sea to drown or carried them away as slaves—along with some of the church treasures.
In 875, after enduring eight decades
A hermit is a person who lives in seclusion from society for religious reasons. Hermits are a part of several sections of Christianity, the concept is found in other religions as well. In Christianity, the term was applied to a Christian who lives the eremitic life out of a religious conviction, namely the Desert Theology of the Old Testament. In the Christian tradition the eremitic life is an early form of monastic living that preceded the monastic life in the cenobium; the Rule of St Benedict lists hermits among four kinds of monks. In the Roman Catholic Church, in addition to hermits who are members of religious institutes, the Canon law recognizes diocesan hermits under the direction of their bishop as members of the consecrated life; the same is true in many parts of the Anglican Communion, including the Episcopal Church in the US, although in the canon law of the Episcopal Church they are referred to as "solitaries" rather than "hermits". Both in religious and secular literature, the term "hermit" is used loosely for any Christian living a secluded prayer-focused life, sometimes interchangeably with anchorite/anchoress, recluse and "solitary".
Other religions, for example, Hinduism and Taoism have hermits in the sense of individuals living an ascetic form of life. In modern colloquial usage, "hermit" denotes anyone living apart from the rest of society, or participating in fewer social events, for any reason; the word hermit comes from the Latin ĕrēmīta, the latinisation of the Greek ἐρημίτης, "of the desert", which in turn comes from ἔρημος, signifying "desert", "uninhabited", hence "desert-dweller". In the common Christian tradition the first known Christian hermit in Egypt was Paul of Thebes, hence called "St. Paul the first hermit", his disciple Antony of Egypt referred to as "Antony the Great", is the most renowned of all the early Christian hermits owing to the biography by his friend Athanasius of Alexandria. An antecedent for Egyptian eremiticism may have been the Syrian solitary or "son of the covenant" who undertook special disciplines as a Christian. In the Middle Ages some Carmelite hermits claimed to trace their origin to Jewish hermits organized by Elijah.
Christian hermits in the past have lived in isolated cells or hermitages, whether a natural cave or a constructed dwelling, situated in the desert or the forest. People sometimes sought them out for spiritual counsel; some acquired so many disciples that they no longer had physical solitude. The early Christian Desert Fathers wove baskets to exchange for bread. In medieval times hermits were found within or near cities where they might earn a living as a gate keeper or ferryman. From the Middle Ages and down to modern times eremitical monasticism has been practiced within the context of religious institutes in the Christian West. For example, in the Catholic Church the Carthusians and Camaldolese arrange their monasteries as clusters of hermitages where the monks live most of their day and most of their lives in solitary prayer and work, gathering only briefly for communal prayer and only for community meals and recreation; the Cistercian and Carmelite orders, which are communal in nature, allow members who feel a calling to the eremitic life, after years living in the cenobium or community of the monastery, to move to a cell suitable as a hermitage on monastery grounds.
This applies to both their nuns. There have been many hermits who chose that vocation as an alternative to other forms of monastic life. In the 11th century, the life of the hermit gained recognition as a legitimate independent pathway to salvation. Many hermits in that century and the next came to be regarded as saints; the term "anchorite" is used as a synonym for hermit, not only in the earliest written sources but throughout the centuries. Yet the anchoritic life, while similar to the eremitic life, can be distinct from it. Anchorites lived the religious life in the solitude of an "anchorhold" a small hut or "cell" built against a church; the door of an anchorage tended to be bricked up in a special ceremony conducted by the local bishop after the anchorite had moved in. Medieval churches survive that have a tiny window built into the shared wall near the sanctuary to allow the anchorite to participate in the liturgy by listening to the service and to receive Holy Communion. Another window looked out into the street or cemetery, enabling charitable neighbors to deliver food and other necessities.
Clients seeking the anchorite's advice might use this window to consult them. Catholics who wish to live in eremitic monasticism may live that vocation as a hermit: in an eremitical order, but in both cases under obedience to their religious superior, or as an Oblate affiliated with the Camaldolese or as a diocesan hermit under the canonical direction of their bishop. There are lay people who informally follow an eremitic lifestyle and live as solitaries. In the Catholic Church, the institutes of consecrated life have their own regulations concerning those of their members who feel called by God to move from the life in community to the eremitic life, have the permission of their religious superior to do so; the Code of Canon
The Arctic Ocean is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceans. The International Hydrographic Organization recognizes it as an ocean, although some oceanographers call it the Arctic Mediterranean Sea or the Arctic Sea, classifying it a mediterranean sea or an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean, it is seen as the northernmost part of the all-encompassing World Ocean. Located in the Arctic north polar region in the middle of the Northern Hemisphere, the Arctic Ocean is completely surrounded by Eurasia and North America, it is covered by sea ice throughout the year and completely in winter. The Arctic Ocean's surface temperature and salinity vary seasonally as the ice cover melts and freezes; the summer shrinking of the ice has been quoted at 50%. The US National Snow and Ice Data Center uses satellite data to provide a daily record of Arctic sea ice cover and the rate of melting compared to an average period and specific past years. Human habitation in the North American polar region goes back at least 50,000–17,000 years ago, during the Wisconsin glaciation.
At this time, falling sea levels allowed people to move across the Bering land bridge that joined Siberia to north west North America, leading to the Settlement of the Americas. Paleo-Eskimo groups included the Pre-Dorset; the Dorset were the last major Paleo-Eskimo culture in the Arctic before the migration east from present-day Alaska of the Thule, the ancestors of the modern Inuit. The Thule Tradition lasted from about 200 B. C. to 1600 A. D. around the Bering Strait, the Thule people being the prehistoric ancestors of the Inuit who now live in Northern Labrador. For much of European history, the north polar regions remained unexplored and their geography conjectural. Pytheas of Massilia recorded an account of a journey northward in 325 BC, to a land he called "Eschate Thule", where the Sun only set for three hours each day and the water was replaced by a congealed substance "on which one can neither walk nor sail", he was describing loose sea ice known today as "growlers" or "bergy bits". Early cartographers were unsure whether to draw the region around the North Pole as water.
The fervent desire of European merchants for a northern passage, the Northern Sea Route or the Northwest Passage, to "Cathay" caused water to win out, by 1723 mapmakers such as Johann Homann featured an extensive "Oceanus Septentrionalis" at the northern edge of their charts. The few expeditions to penetrate much beyond the Arctic Circle in this era added only small islands, such as Novaya Zemlya and Spitzbergen, though since these were surrounded by pack-ice, their northern limits were not so clear; the makers of navigational charts, more conservative than some of the more fanciful cartographers, tended to leave the region blank, with only fragments of known coastline sketched in. This lack of knowledge of what lay north of the shifting barrier of ice gave rise to a number of conjectures. In England and other European nations, the myth of an "Open Polar Sea" was persistent. John Barrow, longtime Second Secretary of the British Admiralty, promoted exploration of the region from 1818 to 1845 in search of this.
In the United States in the 1850s and 1860s, the explorers Elisha Kane and Isaac Israel Hayes both claimed to have seen part of this elusive body of water. Quite late in the century, the eminent authority Matthew Fontaine Maury included a description of the Open Polar Sea in his textbook The Physical Geography of the Sea; as all the explorers who travelled closer and closer to the pole reported, the polar ice cap is quite thick, persists year-round. Fridtjof Nansen was the first to make a nautical crossing of the Arctic Ocean, in 1896; the first surface crossing of the ocean was led by Wally Herbert in 1969, in a dog sled expedition from Alaska to Svalbard, with air support. The first nautical transit of the north pole was made in 1958 by the submarine USS Nautilus, the first surface nautical transit occurred in 1977 by the icebreaker NS Arktika. Since 1937, Soviet and Russian manned drifting ice stations have extensively monitored the Arctic Ocean. Scientific settlements were established on the drift ice and carried thousands of kilometers by ice floes.
In World War II, the European region of the Arctic Ocean was contested: the Allied commitment to resupply the Soviet Union via its northern ports was opposed by German naval and air forces. Since 1954 commercial airlines have flown over the Arctic Ocean; the Arctic Ocean occupies a circular basin and covers an area of about 14,056,000 km2 the size of Antarctica. The coastline is 45,390 km long, it is surrounded by the land masses of Eurasia, North America, by several islands. It is taken to include Baffin Bay, Barents Sea, Beaufort Sea, Chukchi Sea, East Siberian Sea, Greenland Sea, Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait, Kara Sea, Laptev Sea, White Sea and other tributary bodies of water
William Parry (explorer)
Rear-Admiral Sir William Edward Parry was an English explorer of the Arctic, known for his 1819 expedition through the Parry Channel the most successful in the long quest for the Northwest Passage. In 1827 he attempted one of the earliest expeditions to the North Pole, he reached 82°45′N, setting the record for human exploration Farthest North that stood for nearly five decades before being surpassed at 83°20′N by Sir Albert Hastings Markham in 1875. Parry was born in Bath, the son of Caleb Hillier Parry and Sarah Rigby, he was educated at King Edward's School. At the age of thirteen he joined the flagship of Admiral Sir William Cornwallis in the Channel fleet as a first-class volunteer, in 1806 became a midshipman, in 1810 received promotion to the rank of lieutenant in the frigate Alexander, which spent the next three years in the protection of the Spitsbergen whale fishery, he took advantage of this opportunity for the study and practice of astronomical observations in northern latitudes, afterwards published the results of his studies in a small volume on Nautical Astronomy by Night.
From 1813 to 1817 he served on the North American station. In 1818 he received command of the brig Alexander in the Arctic expedition under Captain John Ross; this expedition followed the coast of Baffin Bay without making any new discoveries. Parry and many others thought that Ross was wrong to turn back after entering Lancaster Sound at the north end of Baffin Island; as a result Parry was given command of a new expedition in HMS Hecla accompanied by the slower HMS Griper under Matthew Liddon. Others on the expedition were science officer and Frederick William Beechy. For protection from ice the ships were clad with 3-inch oak, had iron plates on their bows and internal cross-beams, they carried food in tin cans, an invention so new that there were as yet no can openers. Instead of taking Ross's easy route anti-clockwise around Baffin Bay he headed straight for Lancaster Sound. Fighting his way through ice he headed for Lancaster Sound, he kept going. Blocked by heavy ice, they went south for more than 100 miles into Prince Regent Inlet before turning back.
Continuing west they passed 110 ° W. Blocked by ice they turned back to a place Parry called Winter Harbour on the south shore of Melville Island, somewhere near 107- or 108° W. Cutting their way through new ice the ships reached anchorage on 26 September. Here they were frozen in for the next 10 months. There were three months of total darkness and in the new year the temperature reached −54 °F; the men were kept busy with regular exercise while the officers put on plays and produced a newspaper. The first case of scurvy was reported in January and by March fourteen men were on the sick list, about half with mild scurvy. Parry planted them in his cabin; the leaves seemed to help. There was some excitement in early March when the first melt water appeared, but by the end of the month the ice was still 6 feet thick. In June Parry led a group of men dragging a wooden cart to the north shore of the island which he named Hecla and Griper Bay, it was the first of August. They got as far west as 113°46'W before turning back.
It was too late in the season and new ice was beginning to form. They reached England in October 1820 having lost only one man. Parry's voyage, which had taken him through the Parry Channel three quarters of the way across the Canadian Arctic Archipelago was the single most productive voyage in the quest for the Northwest Passage. Luck had been on their side. A narrative of the expedition, entitled Journal of a Voyage to discover a North-west Passage, appeared in 1821, publisher John Murray paying 1,000 guineas for it. Upon his return Lieutenant Parry received promotion to the rank of commander, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in February 1821. In April 1821 he again left for the Arctic commanding HMS Fury accompanied by HMS Hecla under George Francis Lyon. Others with him were George Fisher and chaplain, William Hooper and diarist, lieutenants Francis Crozier and Henry Parkyns Hoppner and James Clark Ross a midshipman. Experience from the previous voyage led to improvements; the two vessels were nearly identical.
They had cork insulation, cork plugs for the portholes and a coal-burning stove in the lowest deck to deal with condensation. The men were issued better clothing and lemon juice was stored in kegs rather than glass bottles; the goal this time was to find a passage near the northwest end of Hudson Bay. After working through the ice of Hudson Strait he headed directly west to Frozen Strait which Christopher Middleton had found impassable in 1742, he passed Frozen Strait in a fog and found himself in Repulse Bay which he re-checked and found land-locked. He ran northeast and mapped the coast of the Melville Peninsula and wintered at the southeast corner of Winter Island. From the Inuit he learned. In March and May Lyon led two sledging expeditions into the interior. Freed from the ice in July he went north and found the Fury and Hecla Strait, ice-filled, they waited for the ice to clear. In September Lieutenant Ried trekked 100 miles west along the Strait to the ice-filled Gulf of Boothia, the north end of which Parry had app
The Settlement Exhibition
The Settlement Exhibition Reykjavík 871±2 is an exhibition on the settlement of Reykjavík, created by the Reykjavik City Museum. The exhibition is based on the archaeological excavation of the ruin of one of the first houses in Iceland and findings from other excavations in the city centre; the exhibition is located in 101 Reykjavík, on Aðalstræti 16, on the corner of Aðalstræti and Suðurgata. The focus of the exhibition is the remains of a hall from the Settlement Age, excavated in 2001; the hall was inhabited from c. 930–1000. North of the hall are two pieces of turf, remnants of a wall, built before 871±2, hence the name of the exhibition; such precise data dating is possible because a major volcanic eruption from the Torfajökull area spread tephra across the region and this can be dated via glacial ice in Greenland. The hall is among the oldest human-made structures so far found in Iceland. On display are objects from the Viking Age found in central Reykjavík and the island of Viðey; the exhibition is run by the Reykjavík City Museum.
In 2001 archaeological remains were excavated in Aðalstræti, which turned out to be the oldest relics of human habitation in Reykjavík, from before AD 871±2. The findings included a hall or a longhouse, from the tenth century, now preserved in its original location as the focal point of the exhibition about life in Viking Age Reykjavík. On the south side of Aðalstræti an old house stood for many years at no. 16, which had seen better days. On either side were vacant lots, used for parking. Old Reykjavík residents remembered a grand building on the corner of Aðalstræti and Túngata, called Uppsalir, it had been demolished in the 1960s, when the Reykjavík urban plan called for a highway to be built through Grjótaþorp. The building to the north had been torn down long before. In the summer of 2000 the City of Reykjavík concluded a contract with Minjavernd on the construction of a hotel on the Aðalstræti 14, 16 and 18 lots; the old building at Aðalstræti 16 was to be renovated, new buildings would be constructed on either side.
In 1971-75 archaeological excavations had been carried out on the Aðalstræti 14 and 18 lots, revealing relics from the Settlement Age. It was thus known that further relics could be expected to be found at this location, that archaeological excavations would be necessary before any development of the land could take place. In brief, the Reykjavík City Council decided that the excavations should be carried out, assigned the Director of the Reykjavík City Museum to supervise the project. Preparation began in the autumn of 2000; the Icelandic Institute of Archaeology was appointed to carry out the excavations, which began in January 2001. Before long the remains of a hall were uncovered, north of it fragments of turf wall. Further examination revealed that the building was of a type known from the Settlement Age, the Icelandic term for the period 870-930, in the middle of the Viking Age; the wall fragments were no less important. They were covered by the Settlement Layer of tephra, from a volcanic eruption believed to have more-or-less coincided with the beginning of the settlement of Iceland.
This indicated. It transpired that the hall was well preserved: the walls were in good condition, as was the central hearth. Hence it was proposed; the find reawakened debate on the beginnings of Reykjavík, on settlers Ingólfur and his wife Hallveig and the site of the first farmstead. Preliminary ideas on an exhibition and a building for it were drawn up, the Reykjavík City Council determined that the site should be preserved, an exhibition building should be built around it to house an exhibition on the settlement in Reykjavik. In 2001 the Mayor appointed a group to work on ideas on exhibition of the relics; the group consulted with six designers. Construction work commenced in the autumn of 2003, meanwhile the exhibition concepts were developed further; the exhibition 871 ±2 is the fruit of work, carried out over the past six years, based on scholars' theories on what the heritage sites in central Reykjavík can tell us about the life and work of the first settlers. The City of Reykjavík had carried out archaeological excavations in central Reykjavík.
In 1971-75, excavations were made on Suðurgata. The Reykjavík City Museum has followed up on these studies as opportunities have arisen in connection with construction or roadworks in the city centre, has carried out small-scale excavations. Examples include excavations at Suðurgata 7 and Aðalstræti 8, elsewhere on Aðalstræti, for instance the present Ingólfstorg square, on the Parliament House site when a car park was constructed there. Quite a clear picture of the early settlement in the Kvos area has been achieved. In 1986-94, extensive excavations were carried out on the offshore island of Viðey, which added yet more to knowledge of the early history of Reykjavik; the traditional story of the settler Ingólfur Arnarson, how he chose a place to live, is familiar to every Icelander. Much importance has been attached to accounts of the settlers given in the Book of Settlements and Book of Icelanders.
Thomas Abernethy (explorer)
Thomas Abernethy was a Scottish seafarer, gunner in the Royal Navy, polar explorer. Because he was neither an officer nor a gentleman, he was little mentioned in the books written by the leaders of the expeditions he went on, but was praised in what was written and was awarded five Arctic Medals, he was in parties that, for their time, reached the furthest north, the furthest south, the nearest to the South Magnetic Pole. In 1831, along with James Clark Ross's team of six, Abernethy was in the first party to reach the North Magnetic Pole. Thomas Abernethy was born in 1803 at Longside in northeast Scotland. While he was a child, his family moved to a nearby port, his parents were James Abernethy, a stonemason, Isabella Robertson. Thomas had an elder sister, born in 1801, twin brothers and William, who were both born in 1816; when Thomas was about twelve he was apprenticed as a merchant seaman on the sloop Friends. He travelled twice to Newfoundland. In 1819, he became a greenhand on the maiden voyage of the Peterhead whaling ship Hannibal, which hunted bowhead whales around the eastern coast of Greenland, in its third season sailed into the Davis Strait on the western coast, where ice conditions can be much heavier.
In 1829, Abernethy married Barbara Fiddes, the daughter of a ship's carpenter, they lived at Deptford, southeast London, near the Royal Naval docks. They had no children. Abernethy was nearly six feet tall and well built – there are no known photographs or portraits of him, he had a ruddy complexion. In 1829, John Ross described him as "decidedly the best-looking man in the ship" and he thought that men of his appearance were best able to endure cold. Clements Markham described him as "a handsome man with a well-knit frame, was resourceful and reliable." Sir William Parry is known for many Arctic naval expeditions in trying to discover a route for a Northwest Passage through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. For his third attempt, in 1824, Parry took the vessels HMS Fury, under Henry Hoppner and HMS Hecla, with Parry himself in command, Abernethy signed on as one of the 75-strong Hecla crew, he was just one rank above ordinary seaman in the Royal Navy. Leaving London in May 1824, the expedition reached Lancaster Sound, but they had to winter at the Brodeur Peninsula in the northwest part of Baffin Island, due to ice.
Several shore parties explored the region. When free of ice, they voyaged down Prince Regent Inlet, but Fury became wrecked and Hecla, with both crews, returned to London in October 1825. Abernethy was left the navy to again become a merchant seaman. Belatedly, in 1857, he was awarded an Arctic Medal for his service. In 1827 Parry again took HMS Hecla, this time in an attempt to reach the North Pole using small boats and sledges. Second in command was James Clark Ross and assistant surgeon was Robert McCormick. Abernethy took part, now promoted to the rank of gunnery petty officer. Departing London in March 1827, they sailed to Spitsbergen where they found a safe anchorage at Sorgfjord, Ny-Friesland, in the far north. Abernethy participated in the expedition north, beset by difficulties, they turned back at 82° 45' N – a record for furthest north that stood for fifty years. On the expedition's return Abernethy was enlisted in the Royal Navy on a permanent basis and received his second Arctic Medal.
In 1829, Sir John Ross led another Northwest Passage expedition and appointed Abernethy to join the crew of Victory, a sailing ship and steam paddle steamer of 30 horsepower. James Clark Ross, Ross's nephew, was second-in-command. By October they had reached Prince Regent Inlet and far south into the Gulf of Boothia where they anchored for the winter at Felix Harbour, they formed good relations with the local Inuit who drew knowledgable maps of the region which showed that there was no seaway to the west from where they were, or any further south in the Gulf although there was a narrow strait to the north. Following the guidance of the Inuit they experimented with dog sledges and were able to cross the Boothia Peninsula. A small party led by James Ross, including Abernethy, explored northwards but were unable to locate Bellot Strait. Again James Ross chose Abernethy for a westward expedition starting on 17 May 1830, crossing the Boothia Peninsula and the sea ice of James Ross Strait to King William Island, reaching a point at the north of the island which Ross named after Abernethy.
They went a way down the northwest coast of the island and 200 miles in a direct line from their ship, they returned on 13 June – after a journey of one month they looked like "human skeletons". Abernethy was on another sledging expedition to the south confirming that there was no way out from the Gulf of Boothia in that direction. Only by September could Victory head north but they only got a few miles before they were frozen in again for the next winter. On 15 May 1831 Abernethy was on James Ross's team of six which attempted to reach the North Magnetic Pole, they were equipped with a dip circle and on 1 July they reached 70°5′17″N 96°46′45″W where the angle of dip was 89°59'. For two days they retested using different observers at different locations attaining an average 89°59'28" so discovering a slight daily change in the position of the magnetic pole; this was the first time the magnetic pole had been reached and they erected the Union Jack. Ross decided to explore a few miles further north before turning back so he chose Abernethy as his sole companion.
On returning to the ship Ross named an island. In 21 days they had travelled about 300 m