Anne Stine Moe Ingstad

Anne Stine Moe Ingstad was born in 1918 in Lillehammer, Oppand county, Norway. Her parents were attorney Eilif Moe and Louise Augusta Bauck Lindeman. Before achieving her MA in Scandinavian Archaeology from the University of Oslo she married she married Helge Ingstad In 1941. Instead of impeding her academic career, her marriage turned out to be quite the partnership leading to a major discovery for the couple later in their carrers.

In the 1960’s the Ingstad’s discovered a Norse settlement that dated to ca.1000 AD at L’Anse aux Meadows on the northern tip of Newfoundland in Canada [1]. A local inhabitant, George Decker, led them to a group of overgrown bumps and ridges that looked as if they might be building remains [3]. These later turned out to be the remains of the settlement. This is perhaps the most famous discovery of her career as it confirmed that the old Norse saga’s were true and the Vikings had found America, 500 years before Christopher Columbus [1].

Anne Stine Ingstad led an international team of archaeologists from Norway, Iceland, Sweden, and the United States in the excavation of the site for seven to eight years [3]. The excavation revealed the remains of an early 11th century Norse settlement, including sod houses, a forge, cooking pits and boathouses [1]. The overgrown ridges were the lower courses of the walls of eight buildings [3]. The walls and roofs were sod, laid over a supporting frame, the same kind as those used in Iceland and Greenland just before and after the year 1000 CE [3]. Long narrow fireplaces in the middle of the floor served for heating, lighting and cooking [3].

Also of interest was the discovery that not all of the inhabitants had been men. Items such as spindle whorls and knitting needles were tools used by women [3]. Even a small whetstone, used to sharpen needles and small scissors, found near the spindle whorl spoke of the presence of women [3]. The settlement is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Historic Site of Canada.

For her efforts she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in 1969 from Memorial University, St. John’s, Newfoundland. She received a second in 1992 from the University of Bergen. She was awarded the title of Commander of the Order of St. Olav, which is awarded to individuals as a reward for remarkable accomplishments on behalf of the country and humanity, and was a member of the Academy in Oslo.

In the 1970’s she turned her attention to analyzing the textiles from the Kaupang and Oseberg excavations. The Oseberg grave chamber contained the largest collection of textiles and tools that had been found in a single grave [2]. The collection consisted of fragmented tapestries and other pattern-woven blankets, tablet woven braids and a large collection of fragments from clothing, sails or tents, rugs, etc [2]. Many had detailed silk embroidery and embellishments on them. [2]

Anne Stine Ingstad died in 1997 at the age of 79 from complications from cancer [4]. She left behind her 98 year old husband and her daughter Benedicte Ingstad, a professor of medical anthropology at the University of Oslo [4].

References:

(Sadly, I had to refer a great deal to Wikipedia. Any inaccuracies discovered should be brought to my attention immediately and I will correct them. References must be provided for corrections.)

[1] Ingstad, Helge, Anne Stine Ingstad
2001. The Viking Discovery of America: The Excavation of a Norse Settlement in L’Anse Aux Meadows, Newfoundland. Checkmark Books.

[2] Ingstad, Anne Stine
The Textiles in the Oseberg Ship. (http://bit.ly/nduN7s)

[3] L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site of Canada
Discovery of the Site and Initial Excavations (1960-1968). (http://bit.ly/qFQuNu) Parks Canada. Accessed September 23, 2011.

[4] McG. Thomas, Robert, Jr.
1997. Anne-Stine Ingstad, a Sifter Of Viking Secrets, Dies at 79 (http://nyti.ms/rnzKbM). The New York Times. Accessed September 23, 2011.

Other Rescorces:

Parks Canada. http://www.pc.gc.ca

Wikipedia

Norwegian Forestry Museum’s http://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norsk_Skogmuseum

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Categories: Women in Archaeology | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Anne Stine Moe Ingstad

  1. Pingback: Columbus was Second-ish: Who Discovered America Anyway? Mayhaps the Vikings? « Archaeology Fantasies

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