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For example, after reading Pytheas' description of a phenomenon called "sea-lung" discussed by in the context of legendary Thule: There remains one further matter concerning Thule that was related by Pytheas: the curious phenomenon he called the 'sea lung'.As Polybius quoted him, he said there is neither sea nor air, but a mixture like sea lung, in which earth and air are suspended; the sea lung binds everything together.For mile upon mile, river after river, stream after stream, a massive flow of fresh water empties into the Passage, cutting great holes in the ice at the larger river mouths as well as seeping out along the shorelines.Tidal forces start to come into play, as do winds and currents, and soon narrow coastal leads begin to open up.As for the actual journeys taken by Pytheas, short of recovering new material these will have to remain unknown.

A common suggestion is that sea lung means jelly fish, but that does not help to explain the environmental conditions that Pytheas was trying to indicate.

Then again, one needs to experience the seasonal round and especially the "Land of the Midday Night" to appreciate the impact of the numbing cold and soul-destroying darkness that exists above the Arctic Circle during the long arctic winters.

It is another world to be experienced and dimly understood.

Further, as far as any impetus to expand activities westward from Greenland may have been concerned, a number of commentators have already noted that the Vikings could well have obtained a glimpse of Baffin Island during their earlier and subsequent forays into Baffin Bay.

Once again I can testify that occasionally it is possible to discern the coast of Greenland from Baffin Island; thus the reverse situation might well have prevailed from time to time in the case of Greenlanders looking west.

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    As we have done with many conferences in the past, we have also created a new Pasco Conference page here on

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