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Of the first 24 boatloads of land-hungry settlers who set out from Iceland in the summer of 986 to colonize new territory explored several years earlier by the vagabond and outlaw, Erik the Red, only 14 made it, the others having been forced back to port or lost at sea.
Yet more brave souls, drawn by the promise of a better life for themselves, soon followed.
When the Russians arrived they recognized the Eyak as a distinct culture and described their territory on their maps.
They also traded with the Eyak and sent them missionaries.
The geochemical effects of chemical weathering on the surfaces of artifacts are evaluated by measuring element concentrations before and after removal of the weathering rind from select artifacts.
Ivar Bardarson, steward of the Church's property in Greenland, and a member of a sister settlement 300 miles to the southeast, was said to have gathered a force and sailed northwest to drive the interlopers out, but "when they came hither, behold they found no man, neither Christian nor heathen, naught but some wild cattle and sheep, and they killed as many of the wild cattle and sheep as they could carry and with them returned to their houses." The death of the Western Settlement portended the demise of the larger eastern one a century later.
As the archaeologists dug through the permafrost and removed the windblown glacial sand that filled the rooms, they found fragments of looms and cloth.
Scattered about were other household belongings, including an iron knife, whetstones, soapstone vessels, and a double-edged comb. The disappearance of the Greenlanders has intrigued students of history for centuries.
The Eyak initially moved out of the interior down the Copper River to the coast.
There they harvested the rich salmon fishing grounds.