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Saint Lunaire-Griquet, Canada

L'Anse Aux Meadows

An ancient Viking village in North America that predates Columbus by 500 years. 

Situated at the northernmost tip of Newfoundland in Canada is a village settled by the Vikings and estimated to have been established around AD 1000, or 500 years before Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas. Representing the farthest known exploration on the part of the Vikings, L’Anse aux Meadows is a made up of eight simple buildings made of sod over a wooden frame.

This settlement is thought to be the fabled Vinland, a place immortalized in Viking sagas as a distant outpost. L’anse aux Meadows would have been used as a stopping-over point to restock food and provisions before exploring further west or traveling east back to Greenland. Some believe that the Vikings may have made it as far into North America as the Great Lakes, though evidence of this is scant.

The Viking buildings are widely thought to be either homes or workshops, and many are related to iron working, carpentry and boat repair. Though, all signs indicate that it was not in use very long before it was abandoned. Whether they left due to weather, food, boredom or were chased off by the native peoples is unknown.

In order to protect the site, the Canadian government buried the excavation in white sand and covered it with sod. They built replicas of the buildings on top with a boardwalk surrounding. The climate at the site is sub-Arctic, and icebergs can be seen off the coast in June and July, as can whales.

Contributed by
B Bee
Edited by