Vikings in Newfoundland 1,000 years ago

2021/10/20 Agirre Ruiz de Arkaute, Aitziber - Elhuyar Zientzia Iturria: Elhuyar aldizkaria

House rebuilt from Viking times. Ed. Glenn Nagel Photography

According to the journal Nature, in 1,021 there have been traces of Vikings in America. The analysis of wood utensils found in an archaeological area of Newfoundland has revealed that they were wood on the other side of the Atlantic, and through dendrochronology they have determined that they are cut wood a thousand years ago. Also the arrangements made in wood with metal tools confirm that they were not created by the indigenous peoples of the area. It is therefore possible that it is the oldest mark of the arrival of Europeans to America through the Atlantic.

The instruments have appeared in L'Anse aux Meadows, in the northern peninsula of Newfoundland. It seems that it was the base camp of the Vikings, from which the other southernmost regions were analyzed. If these meetings had taken place, pathogens may have been transmitted and foreign flora and fauna introduced. But it doesn't seem to be a genetic exchange between humans, in view of the genetic data of the Norwegian population of Greenland.

Dendrochronology resolves

So far, Icelandic verbal reports have revealed the presence of Vikings in America, but researchers were unable to set specific dates. In fact, 14C data were too uncertain, so they have never been considered valid evidence.

In the North Peninsula of Newfoundland, traces of Viking wood tools have appeared. They have proven to be 1,021 years old. The black bar indicates a length of 5 cm. Ed. Journal Nature, Kuitems et al.

However, this time a cosmic ray event has been used in the universe to make an accurate dating of Viking tools. This cosmic event determined in the atmosphere, and therefore in tree rings, a quantity of 14C higher than usual, a mark that has served to date. In particular, C. They've used the cosmic ray event of 993, which appears synchronically in dendrochronological records around the world. Having counted the rings that appear from the mark created in the ring of trees in that year to the surface, they have seen that the trees lived until 1021.

In the opinion of the researchers, this work demonstrates that the events of cosmic radiation can be used as markers of absolute time, specifically for dendrochronology and, thus, to date migrations and cultural exchanges of the past.

The extensive report on dendrochronology is available on the web: [Regression in the time of trees].