Day 21: Viking Settlement and Norse Swords

Day 21: Viking Settlement and Norse Swords

Viking settlement

We enjoyed the first North American Viking settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows in northwestern tip of Newfoundland today. The first Europeans that discovered America did it here, and this was the first place iron was made in North America. It is also the first place the two halves of humankind met up again since their original migration out of Africa and around the globe (that’s what the sculpture commemorates).

The discovery of the Viking Settlement was the life work of the couple shown in the photo below. He was an explorer who had read all the Norse sagas, and she was a archeologist. They were a great team. From the landmarks in the sagas they narrowed their search down to northern Newfoundland. When they visited what was referred to as an old indigenous burial ground, with curious humps in the earth, turned up Viking artifacts.

The Vikings used this village as an outpost to bring grapes from Vinland (further south in New Brunswick) and wood for their buildings in in Greenland. You can see their voyage route in a photo below.

The Norse swords captured our daughter’s imagination, and she enjoyed wielding these archaic weapons, grateful she was allowed to play with them. However, she is glad she didn’t live as a Norse woman back then: life expectancy was only 25 years between childbirth and smoke inhalation, while men lived to 40.

We saw whales from there too!

                                       

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