New potential Viking site discovered in southern Newfoundland

New potential Viking site discovered in southern Newfoundland

New potential Viking site discovered in southern Newfoundland

The discovery came about past year when Sarah Parcack, an assistant professor from the University of Alabama and notable space archaeologist - yes, that's a real job and we're jealous - used infrared images taken from a satellite 643 km (400 miles) above Earth to study a site on the southwest coast of Newfoundland, according to Ralph Blumenthal from The New York Times.

An undated handout photo of a lump of what scientist say is bog iron ore and one of the samples being tested from the possible Viking site at Point Rosie, Newfoundland, Canada. If confirmed by further research, this would be only the second known settlement of Vikings in North America.

A region of southern Newfoundland known as Point Rosee, the site has the potential to reveal much about the Viking exploration and settlement of North America, based on preliminary excavations, magnetometer surveys, and a close analysis of satellite imagery.

After two weeks of digging at Point Rosee, an unexpected find in a flooded trench excited the explorers - several seeds, or perhaps blueberries, which were hurriedly sent for testing. The discovery confirmed historical sagas that had long suggested the Vikings had made it to America. Radiocarbon testing has dated the site to between 800 and 1300 AD, which would coincide with the time of the Vikings. "Typically the Norse would collect iron ore from bogs, which are like walnut-size pieces, and they would then roast them and smelt them to create iron”, said Parcak.

This new site is more than 600 kilometers to the south of the since-restored L'Anse aux Meadows site.

Using the satellite technology, scientists have found the landmarks in the Americas where Vikings, or Norse, would have gone.

This is all from an upcoming two-hour special on PBS' NOVA called "Vikings Unearthed".

For all of the public attention lavished upon the intrepid Norsemen of our collective imagination - horned helmets and all that, a mingling of myth and truth explored in the Canadian Museum of History's current blockbuster exhibition Vikings - we should pause to consider the obvious: that many and varied civilizations, each of them built by equally intrepid peoples who discovered and occupied almost every corner of the American hemisphere, were here long before such fabled figures as Leif Eriksson spied Newfoundland's shores 1,000 years ago.

A group of archeologists has been excavating the newly discovered site at the Point Rosee, a narrow, windswept peninsula on the most western point of the island.

If her gut instinct is true, the findings have the potential to completely change the history of Vikings in North America and could confirm the idea that Norse presence was a short-lived affair that represented just one expedition of a seafaring society. According to the Íslendingasögur saga, Leif Eriksson founded a settlement in North America, which he named "Vinland".

History books may soon have to be recalled for some major editing as the possibilities made by this new discovery is very vast. Parcak and her team are expected to return to the site during the winters to continue the research. It looks like somebody was cutting out blocks of sod and building a wall, which is sort of the typical thing you would find on a Viking age Norse site in Greenland or Iceland. "India, China. I've been told in China there are over a quarter-million archaeological sites, and most have been looted".

 

 

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