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Evidence of Viking Activities Found in North America

A site in southwestern Newfoundland called Point Rosee might constitute a hitherto-unknown Viking settlement, says a team of archaeologists.

TLanse aux meadows, a historic viking settlement, newfoundland, Canada.

The only other officially-known viking settlement in North America, at Lanse aux meadows, on the same island, Newfoundland.

Remains found on the southwest shore of Canadian Island, Newfoundland, might be evidence of Vikings having once lived in North America. If the findings are confirmed, the site would become the second to be discovered with proof of Viking settlement in that part of the world.

The researchers led by archeologist Sarah Parcak from National Geographic have been working on finding hidden artifacts. Parcak is known for her work based on satellite technology; she is called a ‘space archaeologist’ as she has previously spotted Egyptian ruins by using these methods. For their latest study, they have discovered potential evidence of Viking iron smelting. Norse seafarers are known for their use of iron nails for the making of their boats. Thus, an iron-smelting oven is considered to be strong evidence of their activities.

With the help of a satellite and computer tools, Parcak and her team have scanned images for human-like angles and straight, unnatural lines. These techniques are specially effective in uncovering artifacts that have been buried under dirt. They found changes in grass richness at sites situated near the sea; satellites can easily identify grass growing over stone or other similar objects. When working on the field, the researchers used magnetometer surveys to spot images below the ground.

They ultimately found an iron-working hearth and evidence indicating remains of turf walls. Dating this site shows that it coincides with the time of the Vikings, between 800 and 1300 AD.

Once these findings are confirmed, the site could become the second official site to hold evidence of Norse activities in North America. The other site is at Anse aux Meadows, which is also found on the same island. This study, thus, has important implications: it could require for history books to be updated because this would mean the Vikings had settled in North America centuries before Christopher Columbus.

The works of the researchers have been videotaped and will be presented as a documentary to be broadcast on PBS later this month.


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