July 24, 2010

Did the Norse invent lacrosse?

On the heels of the Iroquois passport controversy comes this potential shocker:

Is Lacrosse Proof The Norse Reached The Great Lakes?

By George and Darril FostyIt was the Norwegian historian Ebbe Hertzberg, in his 1904 article entitled: "Old Ball Games of the Norsemen" (‘Nordboernes Gamle Boldspil’), who first pointed to the similarities between the ancient Norse stick and ball game of knattleikr and lacrosse.

Hertzberg argued both games were in fact the same and were evidence of early Norse contact with the Americas. Hertzberg’s arguments concluded the game of knattleikr was given from the Norse to the tribes of the Americas. Perhaps, Hertzberg would have been more correct if he had concluded the opposite; that knattleikr was a game adopted by the Norse from their contact with the Indians. Archaeological evidence suggests the game of lacrosse dates back to at least c.800 AD. This is well before the first Norse expeditions to America. Regardless, Hertzberg’s arguments of similarities have continued to stand the test of time and to conclusively link the two games.
Comment:  For more on lacrosse, see Iroquois Team Bows Out of Tournament and Iroquois Team Fights for Sovereignty.

1 comment:

dmarks said...

I've actually had a lot of discussion and research into ancient sports history. Some sports are rather simple and obvious, such as association football (soccer) and appear to have been invented independently around the world. Lacrosse might be one.