Scef enters the literary record as a mysterious child-King from across the sea, separated from his people and homeland forever, surrounded only by the remnant of his father's loyal men, a few sea-going warriors who bring Scef in a single ship to the safety of the Scandian shore. This is a classical hero-origin story. (Classical in the sense of eastern mediterranean cultures.)
The source stories of both the English and Scandinavian cultures claim that the Kings of both peoples originated from families which came out of ancient Black Sea/Macedonian tribes. The English stories claim descent from ancient Troy. The Scandinavians claim descent from the faraway south-eastern city of Asgaard, which no longer exists in fact or in the archealogical record. The Britons (Welsh) were relations of the Britanny Gauls. The Gallic tradition claims their descent from warrior tribes forced to wander landless out of the region of the Black Sea, through Europe, to the ends of the world... including the Britannic Island: Albion. The Irish claim descent from seagoing tribes from the Middle East which migrated firstly to the tip of Iberia (Portugal) and then northeast to Eireland. Bede records that the Picts own oral history claimed their descent from a tribe that migrated from Scythia to the North Sea, and then in longships west by sea to northern Albion (Pictland).
But who were the first people to have occupied Albion... those builders of the megalithic monuments, Alban miners of tin, traders in walrus ivory, who prospered and cleared the primeval oak forests and tilled the lands of Albion five to six thousand years ago? Those ancient peoples, the barrow builders, the creators of England's great chalk horse, and Stonehenge, had a thriving international economy with a culture sophisticated enough in civil engineering to execute public works which last into the present day. Where did they learn tinsmithing and engineering and seagoing commerce? Were those Albanians related to the eastern Albanians in any way, whatsoever?
Perhaps they, too, came out of the eastern Mediterranean/Black Sea region following a forced displacement... refugees from western Asia entering the northern reaches of an inviting new post-glacial paradise. The key to the mystery may lie in the post-glacial factor...
The seas rose for centuries after the Ice Age ended, and eventually inundated what now looks to have been a high Neolithic culture existing in the Mesolithic Age, around the Black Sea basin, then several hundred feet below existing sea level.
Evidence points to the dispersal of that culture after the very sudden flooding of the Black Sea basin (after the breaching of the Dardanelles) by rising Mediterranean Sea levels, over six thousand years ago.
The refugees, those fleeing the Flood, possibly crossed the populated Middle East and went into the Mesopotamian basin, crossed the populated Ukraine and entered western Europe and the North Sea, and fanned out beyond the populated Macedonian peninsula to the islands of Crete and Malta and the Nile delta, and so caused the sudden co-incident appearance of advanced Neolithic cultures where there had been none. If the Black Sea flood was indeed Noah's flood, and all of the displaced tribes had to travel far, in all directions, to find new homes for themselves, it would go far to explain the many similar origin stories and the sudden arrival of similarly advanced Neolithic cultures in so many of the archeological records of Europe and the Middle East over six thousand years ago.
If there was a centre of high culture in the pre-flood Black Sea basin, it would have been an early Neolithic city. Such a centre of commerce would have attracted tribes from all over the Black Sea basin, and beyond. If it was Noah's city, it contained enough distinct tribes to have earned a reputation for confusion... a tower of Babel.
Somewhere else north of that region, along the course of the Don River, it is said that the mythical city of Asgaard also sat, guarding the way from Asia into Europe; so long ago that there was no trace of it left when Rome held the gateways to Asia. Perhaps there once was a transitional Mesolithic civilization serving the tribes of those central plains. A civilization which contained briefly, somewhere in that vast, endless country, the lost village of the Nordic gods.
The only historical evidence of Nordic peoples in this region prior to the Roman period is the account of Scythia by Herodotus (500 B.C.) in which he writes:
"The Budini, a numerous and powerful nation, all have markedly blue-grey eyes and red hair; there is a town in their territory called Gelonus, all built of wood, both dwelling-houses and temples, with a high wooden wall round it, thirty furlongs each way. There are temples here in honour of Greek gods, adorned after the Greek manner with statues, altars, and shrines - though all constructed of wood; a triennial festival, with the appropriate revelry, is held in honour of Dionysus...
The language of the Budini is quite different, as, indeed, is their culture generally: they are a pastoral people who have always lived in this part of the country (a peculiarity of theirs is eating lice)..."
The fortified settlement of Gelonus was reached by the Persian army of Darius in his assault on Scythia, and burnt to the ground, the Budini having abandoned it in their flight before the Persian advance. As there were no blue-eyed, red haired people living in Scythia by the time of Roman dominance, these people must have resettled in the North. Was Gelonus the mythical city of Asgaard?
The only other thing which Herodotus mentions which is peculiarly Nordic in content is the account of a one-eyed people living far to the north of Scythia whose gold hoards are guarded by griffins. This could be a telling of the all-seeing one-eyed god Wotan, and of course the dragons which were thought to dwell underground guarding their golden hoards.
In early medieval art, the dragon is represented as a winged serpent, or worm. How did the winged fire breathing serpent enter the world view of the early Northern world? The answer is found in Beowulf.
The vivid description of the dragon as a worm, coming out only at night when it is seen blazing through night skies cloaked in flame, and doomed to seek out hoards in the ground perfectly describes meteor strikes and shooting stars. It is a frightful, yet reasonable, interpretation of natural phenomenon. They saw a serpent breathing flame flying across the night sky. If it was flying, it clearly had wings. Rarely, a daytime meteor strike was visible, and word of itís appearance would make the rounds.
Any time a meteor strike was tracked to ground, and the result of itís fiery impact into soft ground was investigated, it would seem that the dragon had buried itself deep underground. The Danish buried treasure underground. The dragons must do the same. They come to ground to bury treasure hoards deep in the earth. They do not seem to return to the surface, since none are ever seen emerging from their pits. They must stand guard over their hoard, deep underground, in these unseen lairs. Any man who entered such an underworld would have to do battle royal to steal the dragonís treasure.