Scientists say they may have found a second site where Vikings—known for their fearsome conquests—have landed in North America. Using new satellite images, the scientists say they may able to able to shed more light on what could be a Norse site in North America. Vikings first came to North America a thousand years ago, according to historians.
The new potential site is located on the southwest coast of the large Canadian island of Newfoundland, according to scientists. Infrared images captured from more than 400 miles up in space revealed the possible site.
Space archeologist Sarah Parcak at the University of Alabama, who pioneered the use of satellite imaging for archeology, scanned through the images to find signs of discolored soil and changes in vegetation, which are some features that indicate something may be hiding underneath the Earth’s surface.
The scans picked up man-made shapes in the region that indicated iron-work—a key sign of certain cultural activity such as the ability to make certain types of weapons, adornments and tools.
This is significant because outside of some instances of Inuits using meteoric iron in the Arctic, there is no evidence that indigenous people in North America had the knowledge or capacity to process iron ore.
“Typically the Norse would collect iron ore from bogs, which are like walnut-size pieces, and they would then roast them and smelt them to create iron,” Parcak told CNN.
Parcak, archaeologist Douglas Bolender at University of Boston, historian Dan Snow and a team of international scientists discovered, excavated and examined the site at Point Rosee.
The site is 300 miles south of the only confirmed Viking settlement in the area, called L’Anse aux Meadows, an 11th-century site that gives evidence of the first European contact with North America, which is 500 years before Christopher Columbus set foot in the Americas.
L’Anse aux Meadows was discovered 55 years ago. If the new site is confirmed as Norse, it could provide more clues into the historic journey of the Vikings, known for their seafaring techniques, skilled trading and exploration.
Researchers have spent decades trying to uncover more information about Norse settlers in North America without much success. The site in Point Rose showed evidence of turf walls and processed bog iron ore, which is only associated with Norse culture.
The potential site could provide information on how long Vikings stayed in North America and provide other information about the group. But further excavation and research is needed to determine the time period of the site, according to Parcak