Possible Viking Find Could Rewrite North American History
A team of archaeologists say they’ve made a potentially “seismic” discovery in Canada that could “rewrite the history of Vikings in the New World” — and they did it with the help of medieval sagas and the latest satellite technology.
Medieval sagas, considered to be masterpieces of literature from the Middle Ages, capture the stories of the intrepid Vikings — the master seafarers and warriors who, starting around the 8th century, ventured beyond their Scandinavian homelands to raid and trade in foreign lands.
According to these stories, many of them featuring “larger-than-life heroes,” the Vikings had made the first European voyage to North America — at least 500 years before Christopher Columbus.
But the question has long remained: Just how much fact was interwoven into these sagas, which Icelandic monks wrote in the 13th and 14th centuries? And if laced with truth, just how much of the New World did the Norse really explore?
In the 1960s, archaeologists determined that a site on the northernmost tip of Newfoundland in Canada — L’Anse aux Meadows — had been a Viking settlement, established about a millennia before. The discovery changed the history of European exploration in the New World and proved the sagas were not simply works of fiction.
L’Anse aux Meadows, however, had merely been a temporary settlement, which the Norse abandoned after a few short years. Archaeologists have since been searching for clues of other Viking expeditions in North America; but in the past half-century, nothing concrete has been found.
Thanks largely to the work of Sarah Parcak, a leading space archaeologist, evidence has been unearthed of a possible second Viking site in North America — and it’s located about 300 miles further south than L’Anse aux Meadows.
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