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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Viking Ship Discovered at Las Teresitas?

The Draken Harald Hårfagre is a clinker-built Viking longship.

Tenerife newspaper, Diario de Avisos, today report that experts from the University of La Laguna have uncovered remains of a viking drakkar - or longship - primarily used by the Scandinavian Vikings and the Saxons to raid coastal and inland settlements during the European Middle Ages - on Tenerife's Las Teresitas beach.

The find, they say, would mean completely reframing the idea of Canarian identity.

Just weeks after Santa Cruz mayor, Miguel Zerolo denied "irregularities", a new complication is added to the Las Teresitas case. After months of secret work on the Santa Cruz seafront, experts from the University of La Laguna yesterday confirmed that the remains of a boat, found between rocks on the beachfront, are from a Viking longship. The find has reportedly been carbon dated to twelve centuries old.

The presence of the boat, says the article, is not just an extraordinary archaeological find, but has also "violently shaken" accepted theories on the origins of the ancient Tenerife inhabitants and, would cast serious doubt on the wording in the preamble of the new Statute of Autonomy for the Canary Islands, which maintains that "the prehistoric population of North African origin, had no knowledge of the Roman civilization, nor any other outside influence, until the middle of the 14th Century."

This could dramatically change the use and value of the land at Las Teresitas, if the boat had to be preserved in situ and the area declared of cultural interest. Actually, that would strengthen the Santa Cruz town hall's case for acquiring the land, for its protection and for the probable siting of a future archaeological museum.

Diario de Avisos go on to say that, since the news broke, there has been a deluge of offers to transform the area. Descendants of former Tenerife resident and Norwegian ethnographer and adventurer, the late Thor Heyerdahl, have expressed an interest in starting a new cultural initiative at the Las Teresitas site.

Likewise, they say, Norwegian shipping company, Fred. Olsen & Co, have seen this discovery as being of tourist interest and, also do not discount constructing a fleet of fuel-saving Viking boats to use on their regular routes between islands. Observers of the maritime sector are reported to have said that, "If we resort to the wind and the rowing power of the passengers and, the Government will pay 50% of cost of the tickets, then Canary Islanders will benefit."

On the overpopulation in the Canary Islands and the unstoppable arrival of cayucos full of immigrants from Africa, the issue is brutally clear, according to a quoted leading expert from the Oslo Center of Scientific Studies, who says that, "Canarians should follow the example of the ancient Scandinavians and launch themselves toward the conquest of new territories to inhabit."

December 28th, the Day of the Innocent Saints, is the Spanish equivalent of April Fools Day, when the media publishes BOGUS stories.

It's an old story - the Scandinavian explanation for the "tall and blond" Guanches being just a little too obvious, but the real giveaway was that the reporter was one Erik El Rojo - known to English speakers as Erik The Red. Nevertheless, laced with a number of "truths" and circumstances from various recent real news items, this was one of the cleverest examples of an inocentada - bogus stories that appear in the Spanish media on December 28th, Day of the Innocent Saints.

Expertos de la Universidad hallan restos de un gran barco vikingo en Las Teresitas

Image: Draken Harald Hårfagre in Lerwick © Copyright Mike Pennington and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Unlike so many journalists writing about the resorts, Pamela has not only actually been to Tenerife, she lived on the island for 16 years, for the majority of that time in a rural valley immersed in the local culture in a way that few outsiders have been privileged to do and gaining a wealth of knowledge about the island, its people, their customs, fiestas and celebrations that she is now able to share via this site. Fluent in Spanish, she also translated and reported for the various English-language newspapers.

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