Using satellite imagery, archaeologists have stumbled across what could be the second Viking site in the Canadian island of Newfoundland. The discovery, the researchers believe, indicates that the Scandinavian seafarers traveled much farther into North America than previously believed. The findings will be made public in the form of a two-hour documentary, titled “Vikings Unearthed”.
Located at Point Rosee in the south-western part of Newfoundland, the site was uncovered last year with the help of satellite imaging, advanced magnetometer surveys as well as exploratory excavation. According to the team, the area is the second of its kind to be discovered in Northern America, with the first situated at L’Anse Aux Meadows, around 300 miles (or 600 km) away from Point Rosee.
Unearthed in the 1960s, the region, present along the northernmost-tip of Newfoundland, was once home to a thriving Norse settlement. For the current research, archaeologist Sarah Parcak and her team relied on high-resolution satellite imaging to locate the ruins. As the team points out, the satellites were positioned nearly 478 miles (about 769 km) above the Earth, so as to provide a wide view of America and the eastern part of Canada.
This, together with two magnetometer surveys, has uncovered ruins buried only 11 inches below the ground. Excavation at the site has revealed “sub-surface rectilinear features”, including remains of what appears to be a Norse-like hearth as well as 8 kg of bog iron. According to the researchers, the roasted iron ore retrieved from the region points to iron-working. Speaking about the find, Parcak, who is an archaeologist at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, said:
We did not find one single shred of any [contradictory] evidence, so that leaves two options. It’s either a new culture that looks and presents exactly like Norse, or Norse. But obviously we have a lot of work left in front of us before we can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is.
Radiocarbon dating has placed the site’s date as belonging to sometime between 800 and 1300 AD. Led by Parcak, the team has created a documentary, titled “Vikings Unearthed”, as part of the NOVA TV series. The segment, according to the archaeologists, will be aired on BBC on April 4, and later on PBS on April 6. In a press release, a spokesperson at NOVA said:
If confirmed as Norse by further research, the site will show that the Vikings traveled much farther in North America than previously known, pushing the boundary of their explorations over 300 miles to the southwest [of L’Anse Aux Meadows]… A ‘Norse’ date and ‘affiliation’ do look rather promising, at this still early stage in the project, but we simply need more work at this site and more specialist input and peer-reviewed data before being confidant in stating this as ‘fact.
The team comprised of Frederick Schwarz of Black Spruce Heritage Services, historian Dan Snow, Gregory Mumford of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Douglas Bolender, an archaeologist working at the University of Massachusetts Boston, has created a documentary.
Via: CBC News