23 February 2024 The Future is the Product of the Past

Vikings arrived in Newfoundland 1,000 years ago: Scientists

Vikings’ first permanent settlement in North America – the coastal outpost in Newfoundland known as L’Anse aux Meadows now has a  precise date.

This site, which has excited archaeologists for 60 years, turned out to be 1000 years old.

According to scientists, a new sort of dating procedure that used a long-past solar storm as a reference point indicated that the colony was occupied in 1021 AD, exactly a millennium ago and 471 years before Columbus‘ first trip. The technique was used on three pieces of wood cut for the settlement, all pointing to the same year.

 A massive cosmic burst, most likely a solar flare, created a pulse in the creation of carbon-14 in the Earth’s atmosphere in 993 C.E., which was taken up by plants all over the planet through photosynthesis. Every living tree in 993 C.E. bears a telltale ring with a greater than normal carbon-14 concentration. Researchers may determine the exact year a tree died by counting out from that ring. A comparable cosmic explosion in 775 C.E. let scientists correctly date the construction of a church in Switzerland as well as a volcanic eruption near the Chinese–North Korean border.

Famous Oseberg ship.
Famous Oseberg ship.

Researchers from the University of Groningen, led by radiocarbon expert Michael Dee, used this approach on a collection of timber pieces recovered from L’Anse aux Meadows during the 1960s and 1970s. Archaeologists know they were hacked by metal axes based on cut marks in the wood, suggesting Vikings, not Indigenous peoples of North America, were responsible. Co-author Birgitta Wallace, an archaeologist with Parks Canada who has spent her career at the site, stored the bits in a freezer for decades.

The Viking expedition marks a number of watershed moments in human history. The settlement has the oldest traces of a transatlantic voyage. It also symbolizes the point at which people completed the circumnavigation of the world, thousands of years after crossing a land bridge that previously linked Siberia and Alaska.

“Much kudos should go to these northern Europeans for being the first human society to traverse the Atlantic,” said radiocarbon scientist Michael Dee of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, who led the study published in the journal Nature.

Vikings, also known as Norse people, were sailors from Scandinavian countries such as Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. They traveled around Europe, colonizing at times and trading or raiding at others. They built colonies in Iceland and Greenland and possessed exceptional boat-building and navigation skills.

Historians think Vikings were seeking timber to bring back to relatively treeless Greenland.

Cover Photo: Wikipedia

Related Articles

More than 100 bronze mirrors found at Sakurai Chausuyama burial mound in Japan

3 October 2023

3 October 2023

Archaeologists in Japan have unearthed more than 100 ancient bronze mirrors from the Sakurai Chausuyama burial mound in Sakurai, Nara...

Four 1,900-year-old Roman swords found in Judean Desert

6 September 2023

6 September 2023

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced the discovery of four extremely well-preserved Roman swords hidden in a cave in the...

Rare textiles and dwellings discovered in the submerged Neolithic settlement near Rome

6 June 2023

6 June 2023

Underwater archaeologists have discovered rare, well-preserved textiles, basketry, and cordage from the early Neolithic period in an area near Rome,...

The tomb of the “Bird Oracle Markos” was found in the ancient city of Pergamon

31 August 2022

31 August 2022

During the excavations carried out in the Ancient City of Bergama, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, the...

The place where John the Baptist was martyred

4 February 2022

4 February 2022

The infamous birthday banquet of Herod Antipas, which culminated in the beheading of St John the Baptist — a preacher...

‘Australia’s silk road’: the quarries of Mithaka Country dating back 2100 years

4 April 2022

4 April 2022

In Queensland’s remote Channel Country of red dirt and gibber rock, traditional owners and archaeologists have unearthed what researchers have...

The largest marine turtle fossil of its kind ever discovered in Europe unearthed in Spain

21 November 2022

21 November 2022

In northern Spain, scientists discovered the remains of a new species of enormous marine turtle. The prehistoric creature is the...

Ancient Rome’s city borders were discovered in a rare stone

17 July 2021

17 July 2021

Archaeologists unearthed a rare stone outlining ancient Rome’s city borders during excavations for a new sewage system. The stone comes...

Rare 832 copper coins from the Portuguese era unearthed in Goa, India

11 November 2023

11 November 2023

In Sattari, Nanoda, in the state of Goa on the west coast of India, 832 copper coins that are believed...

The mythical hero of Troy and Rome Aeneas’s peerless mosaic discovered in Türkiye

11 May 2023

11 May 2023

A large mosaic depicting the legendary Trojan hero Aeneas, the protagonist of Virgil’s epic poem “The Aeneid” and the ancestor...

Türkiye’s Neolithic Settlement Çayönü Hill Discovered New Tombs from Early Bronze Age

4 September 2023

4 September 2023

Archaeologists have unearthed 5 more tombs dating to the Early Bronze Age during the recent excavations on Çayönü Hill in...

Rare 2,800-year-old Assyrian Scarab Seal-Amulet Found in Tabor Nature Reserve

12 February 2024

12 February 2024

A hiker in northern Israel found a rare scarab seal-amulet from the First Temple period on the ground in the...

Archaeologists in northern Spanish have discovered what they believe to be the oldest Basque language text

15 November 2022

15 November 2022

Archaeologists have discovered what they believe to be the oldest Basque language text, on  Irulegi archaeological site, near the Aranguren...

Remnants of ancient fire temple discovered in heart of Alborz mountains in Iran

26 June 2021

26 June 2021

An Iranian archaeology team has discovered relics of an ancient fire temple in Savadkuh county, located in the center of...

Climate has influenced the growth of our bodies and our brain

8 July 2021

8 July 2021

Over 300 fossils from the genus Homo have been measured for body and brain size by an interdisciplinary team of...