In Photos: Viking Voyage Discovered

L'Anse aux Meadows

viking archaeology, viking voyage, norse voyage discovered

(Image credit: Map labels by Owen Jarus, map from Wikimedia, courtesy user NordNordWest, CC Attribution Share-Alike 3.0 Unported.)

L'Anse aux Meadows was founded nearly 1000 years ago and was the only Norse settlement in the New World. Tests show that a recently discovered jasper fire starter at the site is made from jasper that comes from the area of Notre Dame Bay. The closest chemical match is with deposits from modern day Fortune Harbor, although the jasper could have come from other sites on the bay coast. Additionally previous research has shown that butternut seeds were present at L'Anse aux Meadows indicating that the site's inhabitants also sailed to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, but where exactly is unknown. On this map all these locations are shown, additionally the black lines mark modern day borders between Canadian provinces.

A jasper fire starter

viking archaeology, viking voyage, norse voyage discovered

(Image credit: Kevin Smith.)

This jasper fire starter was found in 2008 only 33 feet (10 meters) away from a Norse hall at L’Anse aux Meadows, the only Norse settlement in the New World. Chemical analysis reveals that the jasper comes from the Notre Dame Bay area about 140 miles (230 kilometers) to the south, evidence of a Norse voyage to that region. This fire starter would have been struck against steel, creating sparks and starting a fire. Over time it wore down and was discarded.

Notre Dame Bay coastline

viking archaeology, viking voyage, norse voyage discovered

(Image credit: Kevin Smith.)

An image showing part of the Notre Dame Bay coastline. At the time the Norse journey took place this area was populated by the ancestors of the Beothuk people. The land is also heavily forested, a sharp contrast to the relatively more barren lands in the North Atlantic which the Norse had sailed to earlier. It was also rich in fish, birds and sea mammals and the temperature was warmer.

Newfoundland Iceberg

iceberg near Twillingate, Newfoundland, Canada

(Image credit: Weldon Schloneger | Shutterstock)

Icebergs are known to go by the Notre Dame Bay area, as well as other parts of Newfoundland. This particular berg was photographed near modern day Twillingate.

An ancient workshop

ancient workshop near Newfoundland's notre dame bay

(Image credit: Photo by Torbenbrinker, CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, courtesy Wikimedia.)

The remains of a workshop at the Norse outpost of L'Anse aux Meadows on the northern tip of Newfoundland. The Norse likely set out from L'Anse aux Meadows on their way to Notre Dame Bay. Compared to Notre Dame Bay this area is almost treeless and, as archaeological research reveals, was apparently uninhabited at the time the Norse built their outpost.

Entrance to a sod house

viking archaeology, viking voyage, norse voyage discovered

(Image credit: Photo by D. Gordon E. Robertson, CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, via Wikimedia.)

A reconstructed entrance to a sod house at L'Anse aux Meadows. In a landscape lacking in trees the discovery of a heavily forested area to the south would have been of interest to the Norse.

Norse voyage map

viking archaeology, viking voyage, norse voyage discovered

(Image credit: Image via Wikimedia.)

A map centred on Europe showing Norse voyages and territories. The only known Norse settlement in the New World was at L'Anse aux Meadows and we now know of an additional voyage south of it to Notre Dame Bay.

Live Science Staff
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