On the desolate north bank of the Payne Estuary, 15 miles above the village of Payne Bay, near the west coast of Ungava Bay, northern Quebec, Canada, there is a very curious ancient monument resembling Thor’s Hammer.
The monument is a two-ton stone structure, about 8 feet high, and measures 4-1/2 feet across at its pointed lintel, surmounted by a 14-inch-high capstone. It is unknown who raised the monument, and there is some dispute about its builders.
The structure was discovered in 1964 by archaeologist Thomas E. Lee during an anthropological expedition to Ungava. Lee was struck by its roughly Nordic design and dubbed it “the Hammer of Thor.”
God Thor is considered a hero of the Vikings, and his hammer has long been the Vikings’ amulet of protection and power. Thor is often depicted with Mjölnir, a magical hammer in his hand.
According to Norse specialist Ellen Davidson, “it would seem indeed as though the power of the thunder-god, symbolized by his Hammer, extended over all that had to do with the well-being of the community. It covered birth, marriage and death; burial and cremation ceremonies; weapons and feasting; traveling; land-taking, and the making of oaths between men.
The famous weapon of Thor was not only the symbol of the destructive power of the storm and of fire from heaven but also a protection against the forces of evil and violence.”
What is a monument resembling Thor’s Hammer doing in Canada? Archaeologist Lee learned from the native Inuit that they have known about the structure’s existence for generations, but their ancestors did not build it. The Inuit never worked in stone on such a large scale, and the monument was there before the first of their ancestors arrived in the area.
The purpose of the Hammer of Thor remains a mystery and there are those who think 14th-century Vikings raised the stone structure.
It is by no means impossible the Hammer of Thor is an ancient legacy of the Vikings. Similar stone structures appeared throughout Viking Age Scandinavia; the Temple of Thor in Sweden dates before 1125.
There is archaeological evidence that Nordic seafarers voyaged at least as far as Newfoundland and that they certainly did not lack ships to bring them to Quebec from relatively nearby Greenland.
The Vikings were the lords of the oceans. One of the main reasons behind the Vikings’ success in reaching distant lands lies in their remarkable longships. The Vikings’ ships were the European Dark Ages’ most significant technical and artistic achievement. Without these great ships, the Viking Age would never have happened.
Thor’s Hammer was the period’s most commonly reproduced religious object, which could explain why we find such a stone structure in Quebec.
On the desolate north bank of the Payne Estuary, 15 miles above the village of Payne Bay, near the west coast of Ungava Bay, northern Quebec, Canada, there is a very curious ancient monument resembling Thor’s Hammer. The monument is a two-ton stone structure, about 8 feet high, and measures 4-1/2 feet across at its.