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L’Anse aux Meadows

Updated: Dec 8, 2021

L’Anse aux Meadows

This historical UNESCO site was discovered in the 1960s on the tip of Newfoundland's Great Northern Peninsula. A bronze Viking-style broach was found at the site proving that over 1000 years ago Norsemen had landed and somewhat settled in Canada. The site was initially discovered by Norwegian explorer Helge Ingstad and his wife, archaeologist Anne Stine. With the help of local resident George Decker, they would uncover the only Norse encampment ever to have been discovered in North America. Furthermore, the Erik the Red Saga, and the Greenland saga both describe Norse exploration and discovery of Vinland. According to the sagas of Erik the Red believe that the Vikings did stay in Vinland because it was too late in the season to sail back to Iceland. The Sagas also both discuss the contact with the Beothuk, and Thule peoples who were a proto-Inuit group. They called them Skræling which in Danish means “weaklings.” The Norsemen believed them to be weak because the natives did not have bronze weapons so they were obviously at a disadvantage. That being said, why do many Canadian History Studies only briefly cover this period? The advantages of studying the Vinland sagas, and the Thules can complexity and add dimensional understanding of the past. We will be discussing the importance of sharing multi-perspectives in regards to Atlantic, and Canadian History.

L’Anse aux Meadows has been carbon-dated back to AD 975 -1020, with a maximum peak at ca AD 100.[1] In addition to carbon dating, the archaeological assessment on the excavated houses were found to be Norse and similar to types in Iceland and Norway from ca AD 1000. “The most convincing proof of Norse origin came from artifacts of the Viking age, such as a stone lamp, a spindle whorl, and a bronze pin.”[2] We have ample scientific evidence, archeological evidence, and literature to impregnate our study of Atlantic history and Canadian history with Norse perspectives. The people of Iceland and Greenland still tell the stories of the Sagas making them an integral part of their culture. However, even with all the rich subject matter, the Viking colonization of the Americas is quickly overlooked. Is this just a case of history is written by the winner (in this case the Franco-Anglo dictation?) We have the opportunity to introduce so many new cultural perspectives that include: Danish, Icelandic, Greenlandic, and even First Nation; that would enrich our understanding of the times and circumstances of historical events.

Erik the Red

In any case, learners can find value in broadening their knowledge from the traditional stories Jaques Cartier and other European explores to the oral histories and Sagas of Greenland and Erik the Red.[3] By taking time to dive into these writings we can understand the motives and expectations of the latter explores. As our saga continues we will continue to explore how the lack of diversity in our study of Canadian history hinders our understandings of the past, as well as, why we are so Anglo-focused.

By: Jacq Patterson


Eirik the Red's Saga. Project Gutenberg, 2007.

Greenlanders' saga. Accessed June 16, 2021.

Nydal, Reidar. “A Critical Review of Radiocarbon Dating of a Norse Settlement at L'Anse Aux Meadows, Newfoundland Canada.” Radiocarbon 31, no. 03 (1989): 976–85.

Saguenay: an Iroquois Tale of Vikings?YouTube. YouTube, 2019.

[1] Reidar Nydal, “A Critical Review of Radiocarbon Dating of a Norse Settlement at L'Anse Aux Meadows, Newfoundland Canada,” Radiocarbon 31, no. 03 (1989): pp. 976-985,, 983. [2] Reidar Nydal, “A Critical Review of Radiocarbon Dating of a Norse Settlement at L'Anse Aux Meadows, Newfoundland Canada,”, 976. [3] Saguenay: an Iroquois Tale of Vikings?, YouTube (YouTube, 2019),

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