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Historical Tidbit Thursdays - Vikings - L'Anse aux Meadows - #TidbitThursday

Welcome back to our weekly tidbit series. This week we're going to take a look at L'Anse aux Meadows, one of the earliest Norse settlements in North America outside Greenland.


In 1960, a farmer named George Decker showed Helge Ingstad and his wife, Anne, an archaeologist, an interesting site on the north side of Newfoundland near L'Anse aux Meadows. In the following year, they uncovered an 11th century Viking settlement but it didn't appear to completely match the description of Leif Eriksson's Vinland.

The L'Anse settlement consists of an iron-working forge, four workshops, a great hall complex, and three houses. Nearby Black Duck Brook provided water, the bay provided plenty of fish and the availability of timber made this a good location for a permanent settlement. The team excacated the site for seven years (1961-1968) before the Canadian park service took over the work. Over 800 artefacts have been uncovered. Interestingly, they found no barns or shelters for livestock suggesting this might not have been used like a permanent settlement but more like a stopping point.

A nearby bog would have provided the valuable iron ore they used to make tools and goods. Sadly, the stone furnace was dismantled and tossed aside.

The timber-framed buildings had sod walls and roofs. The largest hall (labelled "F") contained six rooms and a large kitchen with a stone oven. A lean-to was built onto the side of the hall where over 80 nail fragments were found suggesting boat repair work. Longhouse "D" would have housed twenty or so people. Hut labelled "C" was not well-built and most likely used by slaves. Longhouse "A" was the second largest and may have housed thirty-five people. The small huts were actually big enough to house up to fourteen people.

Picture References:
Google Street View - https://www.google.com/maps/place/L'Anse+aux+Meadows+National+Historic+Site/@51.5947972,-55.5375419,2a,75y,200h,110t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sY1910EpsKXn-25uOT5YDtw!2e0!6s%2F%2Fgeo3.ggpht.com%2Fcbk%3Fpanoid%3DY1910EpsKXn-25uOT5YDtw%26output%3Dthumbnail%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26thumb%3D2%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D200%26pitch%3D-20%26thumbfov%3D100!7i13312!8i6656!4m7!3m6!1s0x4b83fe0a2139815d:0x5937d96089cd0f43!8m2!3d51.5964235!4d-55.5334302!14m1!1BCgIgARICCAI

World Heritage Site - https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/4/
"Everyday Life in Viking Times" by Michael Gibson, ISBN#0-7500-1472-5

Cultural Atlas of the Viking World American Archaeology Uncovers the Vikings
What Life Was Like When Longships Sailed: Vikings Ad 800-1100 National Geographic Kids Everything Vikings: All the Incredible Facts and Fierce Fun You Can Plunder
Leif Eriksson: Viking Explorer of the New World (Great Explorers of the World) The Oxford Illustrated History of the Vikings (Oxford Illustrated Histories)
The World of the Vikings Encyclopaedia of the Viking Age
The Vikings: Voyagers of Discovery and Plunder (General Military) The Vikings (Journey into civilization)
Vikings, a Dark History Vikings: Warriors, Raiders, and Masters of the Sea (Oxford People)
The Vikings  

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