Where Was Vínland? Tracking Viking Explorers in the Americas Using Trace Element Analyses; Kevin Philbrook Smith & Michele Hayeur Smith; Experiment

Canada – L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site

About This Project

Where was Vínland? How far did the Vikings explore in North America? Around AD 1000 Vikings reached North America and set up an exploration base at L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland. With your support, we will examine how far they traveled from that base, how well they knew the region’s resources, and perhaps where Europeans made first contact with the peoples of the New World by analyzing trace elements in the tools they used to make their fires at this farthest west Viking base.

What is the context of this research?

Around 1000 AD, Vikings established a base at L’Anse aux Meadows (LaM), Newfoundland, to explore North America, or Vínland. Archaeologists found L’Anse aux Meadows was found in 1960, but we still don’t how far they traveled from this base. Pieces of jasper and chert used as fire-starters hold valuable clues to Viking travels fires. Fragments of these fire-starters are like matches from the pockets of the Vikings, and their trace element signatures provide information on where these stones were picked up and therefore where they traveled.

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