Long before Columbus crossed the Atlantic, a peat bog on the northern tip of the Canadian island of Newfoundland and eight sod-covered sod-covered timber-framed buildings on a terrace over the stream are evidence that Vikings First they had reached the new world.

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but ok when Vikings The journey to establish the L’Anse aux Meadows settlement had so far remained unclear.

Scientists unveil a new kind of dating technique on Wednesday Using a long-ago solar storm as a reference point showed that the settlement was occupied in AD 1021, exactly a millennium ago and 471 years before Columbus’s first voyage. The technique was used on three pieces of wood for the settlement, which all pointed to the same year.


The Viking journey represents many milestones for mankind. The settlement provides the oldest known evidence of a transatlantic crossing. It also marks the spot where the world was finally besieged by humans, who trekked thousands of years ago across North America over a land bridge that once connected Siberia with Alaska.

“Great kudos to these northern Europeans for being the first human society to cross the Atlantic,” said Michael Dee, a geoscientist at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, who led the study, published in the journal Nature.

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NS VikingsThe Norse people, or Norse people, were sailors with a Scandinavian homeland: Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. They ventured through Europe, sometimes colonizing and at other times trading or raiding. They had exceptional boat-building and navigation skills and established settlements on Iceland and Greenland.

“I think it is appropriate to describe the journey as both a journey of discovery and the discovery of new sources of raw materials,” De said. “Many archaeologists believe that the main motivation for them to explore these new areas was to uncover new sources of timber, especially considering that they migrated from Greenland, where they were used for construction. Suitable wood is extremely rare.”

Their wooden vessels, called longboats, were powered by sails and paddles. A surviving example, called the Oseberg ship, is about 70 feet (21.6 m long).

The Viking Age is traditionally defined as AD 793–1066, which presents a wide range for the times of the transatlantic crossing. Simple radiocarbon dating – the determination of the age of organic substances by measuring their content of a particular radioactive isotope of carbon – dates back to L’Anse aux Meadows, discovered in 1960, although there was a general belief that it was the 11th century. .

The new dating method relies on the fact that solar storms generate a specific radiocarbon signal in a tree’s annual growth rings. It was known that there was a significant solar storm – a burst of high-energy cosmic rays from the Sun – in AD 992.

In all three pieces of wood, from three different trees, 29 growth rings were formed after evidence of a solar storm, said University of Groningen archaeologist Margot Kuitmes, first author of the study, meaning the wood was harvested in 1021. .

Dee said it was not the local indigenous people who cut the wood as there is evidence of metal blades, which they did not have.

The length of the occupation is unclear, although it may have been a decade or less, and there were probably as many as 100 Norse people present at any one time, De said. Their structures were similar to those of Norse buildings on Greenland and Iceland.

The oral history called Icelandic sagas indicates a Viking presence in the Americas. Written centuries later, they describe a leader named Leif Eriksson and a settlement called Vinland, as well as violent and peaceful interactions with the local people, including the capture of slaves.

The date of 1021 roughly corresponds to the saga accounts, Dee said, “thus begging the question, how true are the rest of the saga adventures?”

(Reporting by Will Dunham in Washington, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)