L'Anse aux Meadows: Viking Settlement Proved Sagas Real?

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L'Anse aux Meadows: Viking Settlement Proved Sagas Real?

In Canada, there is a UNESCO World Heritage belonging to the Norse people. It is the L'Anse aux Meadows. This is the Norse settlement around the 11th century. This plain overlooks the vast sea.


L'Anse aux Meadows rest on the north tip of the Great Northern Peninsula on the island of Newfoundland. The archaeologists happened to discover this place around the 1960s. 

Learning the Norse sagas, some scholars claimed that there existed Norse outposts somewhere in North America. But in the past, no one really paid attention to these claims. They simply didn't take it into consideration. It was until the 1960s that two Norwegian explorers who got the inspiration from Norse sagas set sail to seek after the truth. After the voyage, they were excited to declare that they had found the archaeological evidence proving the Viking Sagas real. 

L'Anse aux meadows first Viking settlement in Canada

Viking settlement L'Anse Aux Meadows from above

The two spotted the remnants of the outpost before they landed. Later excavation and study revealed that the style of the house was similar to the Viking era Iceland and Greenland. The excavators also unearthed the circular building which turned out to be the slave quarters. 

One house in the site seemed to be a forge with smelting iron. This was among the most persuasive evidence that the settlement belonged to the Norse. Because during that time, the locals didn't have this kind of technology. 

Sod huts in L'Anse Aux Meadows Viking first settlement in North America

Sod huts in L'Anse aux Meadows the first Viking settlement evidence in North American

The Vikings left rings, knitting needle, beads, etc. in the remnants. This suggested people from high social class once lived in this place. Study with the radiocarbon showed that the site was dominated for a short period of time, only ten years. 

This place now becomes a hot tourist attraction and also one of the UNESCO World Heritage. 


The Viking sags told us the stories how the Vikings settled in the Newfoundland. 

In the 11th century, the Vikings had settled down in Greenland. One merchant sailed his ship around and got blown off course only to spot the new land from afar. Then the ship came back home with the news of the discovery.

Leif Erikson (Son of Leif the Red) heard of the news and set out to seek the new land. Then he managed to complete his mission, building the Norse settlement in the new land. This is allegedly the L'Anse aux Meadows.

In the Viking sagas, it was mentioned as the Vinland. This was because Leif the Red discovered so many grapes growing up in the land. He thought it would be a wonderful land for the good wine. 

Leif Erikson discovered America before Columbus. Credit: Hans Dahl (1849-1937)

Leif Erikson discovered America by Hans Dahl (1849-1937)

But quickly, the newcomers found out that this place was not ideal for farming. They exploited it for the natural resources like wood as wood was not enough to support the Vikings in Greenland. 

These newcomers also met the natives on the new land. The two parties traded peacefully but there were also times of conflicts as well. The Vikings quickly abandoned the outpost because of the climate change and the collapse of the Vikings in Greenland. 

The discovery of the L'Anse aux Meadows is among the most important discoveries. Because not only does it prove the Viking sagas real but it also shows that Viking sagas should be taken into serious consideration as a historical source. Moreover, it raises the question as to whether the Viking tribe was the first to discover America nearly 500 years earlier than the Spanish explorers. 

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