The Vikings were extraordinary mariners from modern-day northern Germany who traveled and settled in areas throughout Europe, Asia, and the north Atlantic islands from the late 800s to the early 1100s A.D. Because of their amazing ability to travel by sea, archaeologists have wondered if the Vikings ever reached North America. The Vinland Sagas are two Icelandic documents that contain information regarding the travels of Viking explorers in the Americas. These two documents are called: The Saga of the Greenlanders and The Saga of Erik the Red. It converses about a Norse explorer who had led the exploration into the Americas and what they call, “Vinland.” And because of numerous findings in North America during the 19th century, more and more people are beginning to believe that they did arrive in the Americas and they did settle there for a period in time.
The Existence of Vikings Prior to the New World
Today many believe that Christopher Columbus had discovered the Americas. However, there were Europeans that had arrived in the new world long before Columbus had. These people are known as the Norsemen, or today: the Vikings. This is a very controversial topic in the world of science and many people believe it and others do not. This theory was not active in the public until the popular author, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, published his Saga of the Skeleton in Armor. The fictional beginning contained the idea of Norsemen on our shores and it drove people to create many sensible and ridiculous theories about Europeans in the Americas before the discovery made by Columbus. Even though there is very little genuine evidence found proving the arrival of Vikings during the middle ages, it is enough to provide a logic conclusion that the Vikings were there. The L’Anse aux Meadows is the most genuine piece of evidence showing early Viking settlements in the Americas around 1000 A.D. Then there are the weak evidences like Thorvald’s rock that indicate no artifacts but a logic person should’ve concluded that the Vikings had arrived in the Americas before Christopher Columbus.
The L’Anse Aux Meadows
The L’Anse Aux Meadows is one of the greatest pieces of evidence that scientists use to prove the existence of Vikings in the Americas around 1000 A.D. In the year 1960, a Norwegian explorer, Helge Ingstad, found a Viking settlement in the province of Newfoundland in Canada and named it L’Anse Aux Meadows. He found the homes to have the same structure as the ancient settlements found in Greenland and Iceland. The settlement had 8 extremely long houses made of timber and sod. Ingstad found the buildings in this settlement to “include an iron forge, a carpentry workshop, and a spot which was clearly used to repair boats.” These buildings would contain various “everyday Norse items such as whetstones, bone knitting needles, spindles, and stone oil lamps.” These findings show that the village that Ingstad found belongs to the Vikings and it connects with the Vinland Sagas because it contained information about a land west of Greenland which the Norsemen called, “Vinland.” If “Vinland” is translated from Old Norse to modern-day English, it would mean the land of grapes and in Newfoundland, there is a scarcity of grapes. Ingstad, however, insisted that “Vin” is not defined as grapes but Meadows, hence his reason for giving it the name he did. Many archaeologists believe that they travelled further south into America because of the “remains of butternuts which have been found on site. Butternuts are not native to Newfoundland and only grow further south on the North American mainland.” The L’Anse Aux Meadows is an irrefutable piece of evidence proving the Vikings arrival in North America before Columbus’ voyage.
The Norse Coin in Maine
In 1957, amateur archaeologist, Guy Mellgren, found a silver coin at the Goddard site on the central Maine coast. This was his second...
Bibliography: American Anthropologist. Wiley Online Library. 28 Oct. 2009
Lane Memorial Library. Hampton Library. 06 Oct. 2006.
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