An astonishing new discovery could permanently change how we think about vikings.
For many years science has long thought that the vikings made one settlement in North America long before Christopher Columbus arrived — but a new discovery from space may change everything.
Scientists have found evidence of a second Norse settlement in North America, farther south than researchers had expected, a major discovery that is sure to change how we understand the impact of the vikings on North America.
This is all from an upcoming two-hour special on PBS’ NOVA called “Vikings Unearthed.” It will air on April 4 at 3:30 p.m. EST.
Sarah H. Parcak is the leading space archaeologist featured in the documentary. She and her colleagues used satellite footage to examine the coastlines from Baffin Island to Massachusetts. She was able to discover a number of locations that seemed to indicate the presence of a Norse settlement, and they used high-resolution aerial photography to narrow down the candidates.
Scientists took a closer look at Point Rosee, the site that most interested them. It’s a remote site, far from the nearest road. But scientists were able to find elevated iron readings there, as well turf walls that appeared to be dug in the style of the vikings.
Specifically, the site is along the southwest coast of Newfoundland, or about 300 miles south of L’Anse aux Meadows, where what is so far the only confirmed Viking settlement in North America was discovered in 1960.
Scientists used infrared images about 400 miles up in space to determine that there appeared to be man-made shapes under vegetation in this particular location.
Archaeologists have struggled to find other Norse colonies since the first one was discovered all those decades ago, but now researchers may have finally made a breakthrough.
Dr. Parcak is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She won a $1 million TED prize last year for using satellite images to find evidence of looting of ancient Egyptian antiquities.
Vikings are believed to have predated Christopher Columbus’ discovery of North America in 1492 by several centuries.
“Bloody raids. Merciless pillaging. Loathsome invasions. The Vikings are infamous for their fearsome conquests—but they were also expert seafarers, skilled traders, and courageous explorers,” states a PBS description of the program. “They travelled far and wide, crisscrossing the known world from Scandinavia to Europe and into Asia, leaving a trail of evidence that suggests they were far from just vicious warriors. Through stunning CGI recreations and careful investigation of archeological evidence, ‘Vikings Unearthed’ unravels the secrets of these intrepid adventurers. And now, new evidence is coming to light that these pioneering people may have ventured even farther than we had suspected. Renowned space archeologist Sarah Parcak takes up the case, and is on the trail of the Vikings. What she discovers just might rewrite history.”