Unique Facts about Canada: The Viking Settlements. Vinland (pronounced "Winland") was the name given to the part of North America by the Icelandic Norseman Leif Eiríksson, about the year 1000. Later archeological evidence of Norse settlement in North America was found in L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland, Canada. Now, however, a satellite technology has led a team of researchers to what they believe may be a second Norse settlement, hundreds of miles further south than Vikings were previously thought to have traveled.
Researchers have found what they believe could be a second Viking settlement in Newfoundland using satellite data.
L’Anse aux Meadows, the first Viking settlement found in North America, was discovered in 1960 by Norwegian explorer Helge Ingstad who was searching for early settlements in Canada and the United States. The 1,000-year-old settlement was found the old-fashioned way: a local resident showed Ingstad a few overgrown bumps which turned out to be Viking dwellings.
This new site, about 600 km south of L’Anse aux Meadows, however, was done the high-tech way. According to The New York Times, Sarah H. Parcak, a space archeologist (yes, that’s a real title) used satellites to search for potential sites. After some good potential candidates, this particular site showed great promise.
Point Rosee, as it’s come to be known, was the one site that held the most potential. When she and Canadian researchers visited the site, magnometer readings showed elevated iron. They also discovered turf walls with ash residue, roasted ore and a fire-cracked boulder. All these things together pointed to a Viking settlement.
Parcak’s new site will be part of a PBS documentary called “Vikings Unearthed.” The researchers will continue digging this summer in order to confirm whether or not it was indeed a Viking settlement.
The researchers will need additional excavations and analysis to confirm that the Point Rosee site is definitively a Viking site, a process that will likely take years to unfold. Outside observers urge caution and skepticism, given that many past claims of Viking settlement have proved to be false. If confirmed, however, the new find would completely upend the known history of Vikings in North America, indicating a much more extensive presence and settlement than was previously known. As Parcak points out, a single Viking settlement may be easy to dismiss as a short-lived exploration. But a second confirmed Norse site would indicate something quite different—and could suggest there might be more settlements out there waiting to be found.