The possible discovery of a 1,000-year-old Viking site in Canada could rewrite history as we know it.
Archaeologists have unearthed a stone used for iron work at Point Rosee in Newfoundland – hundreds of miles from the only known Viking site in North America. Meaning, the Vikings may have traveled much further into the continent than we previously thought.
To date, the only known Viking site on the North American continent is L’Anse aux Meadows – a 1,000-year-old site at the very northern tip of Newfoundland.
Researchers say that settlement was abandoned after just a brief period of being inhabited, and archaeologists have since spent the last 50 years searching for any other signs of Viking expeditions.
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Douglas Bolender, an archaeologist specialising in Norse settlements, told National Geographic:
The sagas suggest a short period of activity and a very brief and failed colonisation attempt.
L’Anse aux Meadows fits well with that story but is only one site. Point Rosee could reinforce that story or completely change it, if the dating is different from L’Anse aux Meadows. We could end up with a much longer period of Norse activity in the New World.
A site like Point Rosee has the potential to reveal what that initial wave of Norse colonization looked like, not only for Newfoundland but for the rest of the North Atlantic.
If the new site actually does turn out to be a Viking settlement, this could lead to further search for other settlements – built 500 years before the arrival of explorer Christopher Columbus.
This could rewrite our understanding of history. Crazy stuff.