The Public Domain Review

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The Orkney Finnmen Legends: From Early Modern Science to Modern Myth

Wednesday 11 November 2020 at 12:55

At the end of the 17th century there appeared the first noting of a mysterious kayak-paddling “Finnman” seen in Orkney waters. Jonathan Westaway explores the subsequent explanations and how early modern science's fascination with unfamiliar objects, and the “out-of-place” in general, helped conjure the idea of an Inuit presence in the region and, in turn, a new chapter of Scottish folklore.