The Vikings were Germanic Norse seafaring traders and raiders who conquered vast territories in Scandinavia, Northern and Central Europe, as well as European Russia, in the period from the late 8th to the late 11th century.
It was long believed that their influence was limited to these regions, apart from the periods when they extended to the Mediterranean along with North Africa and settled on the eastern coast of Greenland. However, in the 1960s, when the discovery of an archaeological site at L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland, Canada, pointed to a possible Viking activity, it was suggested that the ancient seafarers had actually reached North America. At that time, there was not enough evidence and no technical means to determine whether the Vikings settled the region or only briefly visited it.
Today, archaeologists take advantage of modern technological advances and track chemical changes in the soil, caused by human activity, using infrared satellite images. This is how space archaeologist Dr. Sarah Parcak managed to identify a previously unknown Norse settlement on the southern tip of Newfoundland, 400 miles away from the L’Anse aux Meadows site. While analyzing satellite images, she saw the signs of changed chemical composition of the soil at a place called Point Rosee.
Dr. Parcak then traveled to the site with her team and started excavations. As a result, they unearthed something that seemed to be a hearth filled with piles of charcoal and bits of cooked bog iron.
This indicated metallurgy techniques that were not associated with native people of the area and shared similar characteristics with the L’Anse aux Meadows site. Moreover, the hearth was surrounded by a turf wall,which resembled the structure of other Norse settlements across the North Atlantic. Thus, the discovery clearly points to the Viking culture.
“Either it’s … an entirely new culture that looks exactly like the Norse and we don’t know what it is,” Dr. Parcak told The Washington Post. “Or it’s the westernmost Norse site that’s ever been discovered.”
Further research is now required to establish the age and cultural affiliation of the finds. If this newly found site is confirmed to be a Viking settlement, it will mean that the Vikings were the first Europeans to settle the North America around 1,000 years ago. Just like the Roman sword found on Oak Island in Nova Scotia, Canada, this is a piece of evidence suggesting that the New World was not actually “discovered” by Christopher Columbus, as school history books tell us. This is another find that shutters the mainstream history we are taught in school and reminds us that there are so many hidden truths that are yet to be revealed.
“I am absolutely thrilled. Typically in archaeology, you only ever get to write a footnote in the history books, but what we seem to have at Point Rosee may be the beginning of an entirely new chapter,” Dr. Parcak told BBC.