03 April 2016

Space archaeology reveals potential new Viking site in North America

The site, found using open-source Google Earth satellite images and briefly examined this past year, is "definitely not indigenous" and "definitely not historic."
“Either it’s … an entirely new culture that looks exactly like the Norse and we don’t know what it is,” she told The Washington Post in a phone interview. “Or it’s the westernmost Norse site that’s ever been discovered.”..

But when they uncovered turf structures and a shallow hearth littered with bits of cooked bog iron, they knew they’d found something important. There is only one other pre-Columbian iron processing site in all of North America — at L’Anse Aux Meadows. What’s more, they found no trace of either indigenous Canadians or later European colonists at the site — no scraps of flint, pottery or iron nails...

And very few other artifacts have been found at Point Rosee (which is pretty typical of the Vikings — their settlements tended to be “ephemeral,” Parcak said). The site could have been a lone outpost for iron smelting, or part of a larger settlement. It might be the southern and westernmost place the Vikings ever reached, or it could be just a stopping point on their explorations to other settlements still to be uncovered.

If her faith is borne out, researchers say that the discovery, which is the subject of a 2-hour documentary that will air on PBS next week, has the potential to rewrite the history of the Vikings in North America. It might confirm the belief that the Norse presence here was fleeting — just another short-lived expedition by a seafaring society. Or it could touch off a wave of discoveries of other Norse settlements in the region, proving that the Vikings strayed farther and stayed longer in the New World than anyone realized.
My local PBS station will be airing a program entitled "Vikings Unearthed" as part of the NOVA series on April 6.  Presumably that's the program referred to in the article.

1 comment:

  1. more coverage from in country news:

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/vikings-newfoundland-1.3515747 Potential Viking site found in Newfoundland - Satellites help locate potential Norse site in island's southwest corner

    p.s. once you see the location, it makes sense that the Vikings would have gone there, as it is only a hop, skip, and sail down the coast.



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