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Potential Viking settlement found in Newfoundland

L'Anse aux Meadows, in Newfoundland, is the earliest Viking settlement known in North America.
L'Anse aux Meadows, in Newfoundland, is the earliest Viking settlement known in North America. Wikimedia Commons/Dylan Kereluk

Researchers have found what they believe could be a second Viking settlement in Newfoundland using satellite data.

L’Anse aux Meadows, the first Viking settlement found in North America, was discovered in 1960 by Norwegian explorer Helge Ingstad who was searching for early settlements in Canada and the United States. The 1,000-year-old settlement was found the old-fashioned way: a local resident showed Ingstad a few overgrown bumps which turned out to be Viking dwellings.

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This new site, about 600 km south of L’Anse aux Meadows, however, was done the high-tech way. According to The New York Times, Sarah H. Parcak, a space archeologist (yes, that’s a real title) used satellites to search for potential sites. After some good potential candidates, this particular site showed great promise.

Point Rosee, as it’s come to be known, was the one site that held the most potential. When she and Canadian researchers visited the site, magnometer readings showed elevated iron. They also discovered turf walls with ash residue, roasted ore and a fire-cracked boulder. All these things together pointed to a Viking settlement.

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Parcak’s new site will be part of a PBS documentary called “Vikings Unearthed.” The researchers will continue digging this summer in order to confirm whether or not it was indeed a Viking settlement.

A 2-hour PBS special on the science series NOVA, in a co-production with the BBC History Unit, investigates the truth behind the legends of the Vikings and their epic journey to North America. The film will premiere simultaneously on Monday, April 4, in the US online at pbs.org/nova at 3:30pm ET/2:30pm CT and in the UK on BBC One, followed by the U.S. broadcast premiere of “NOVA: VIKINGS UNEARTHED” on Wednesday, April 6 at 9:00pm ET/8:00pm CT on PBS.

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