Disconvering North America
Room 7
Archaeological Proof

According to the sagas, at precisely A.D. 1000, Leif Eriksson, first son of the notorious Erik the Red, voyaged from Greenland for lands sighted to the west. He then landed on the shores of a beautiful place he named Vinland (Vine land). Later voyagers to Vinland met strange peoples, whom they called skraeling.

Ever since these tales became widely known in the 19th century, scholars have debated their veracity while enthusiasts have proclaimed locations from Labrador to Florida as Leif’s Vinland.

But in 1960, undeniable proof of Vikings in North America came to light at L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland, Canada. Several Norse Viking pieces and clear Icelandic- style house foundations gave proof positive that Vikings had indeed landed, and briefly settled, in North America 500 years before Columbus.

More recent archaeological work has revealed over 300 years of sporadic contact between the Greenlandic Norse and various Indian, Inuit, and other Native American peoples, concentrated primarily in the Canadian Arctic.

Archaeological Proof
This bronze ringed-pin, similar to Viking/Norse pins found throughout the North Atlantic, is the most persuasive evidence of Vikings at L’Anse aux Meadows. Equally intriguing is this small wooden carving of what appears to be a medieval Norseman wearing a robe with a cross on it. Made by an Inuit carver in the 14th century, it suggests face-to-face contact between natives and Norsemen on Baffin Island.

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L'anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland
L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland
Photo: Peter Harholdt

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