(TheRedWire.com) – Scandinavians set out on the high seas from the 9th to the 11th centuries to seek new fortunes. Over that time, they left their mark as adventurers, pirates, thieves, traders, and settlers on much of Britain, France, Russia, Iceland, Greenland, and Newfoundland.
The Vikings were not identifiable as a race. What made them unique was the world they conquered didn’t recognize them as civilized, and most importantly, they were not Christians.
Nearly 500 years before Christopher Columbus sailed across the Atlantic and discovered the New World, the Vikings were already in one part of it. They were tremendous boat builders, had extraordinary navigation skills, and established settlements along the Iceland and Greenland coasts.
Until recently, there was no way to date one settlement discovered in Newfoundland. Now, it appears the Vikings settled North America precisely 1,000 years ago. They likely traveled there from Greenland to find new sources of timber.
Researchers Use Modern Science to Establish Date of Viking Arrival in North America
In 1960, Viking researchers discovered what they believe is the L’Anse aux Meadows site along the coast of Newfoundland. Carbon dating led scientists to conclude the site dated sometime between 990 and 1050.
Ordinary radiocarbon dating helps determine the age of organic materials by measuring radioactive carbon isotopes. However, due to environmental changes over time, the farther away a date gets from a moment in time, the less reliable it is to pinpoint an exact date.
Scientists are now able to use a new dating technique that is highly accurate. Only Vikings could have created the wood artifacts at the site. At the time, indigenous people didn’t have metal tools to make precise, clean cuts in wood.
From wood used to make structures and boats, researchers could determine a date using a solar storm. According to scientists, a known solar storm event struck in 993. It produced a distinct radiocarbon footprint in tree rings the following year.
Recently, researchers discovered solar storms cause radiocarbon levels to increase in the atmosphere. Trees absorb it, and it shows up on the tree rings. Investigators looked for a similar spike in the Viking wood and found it thanks to the clean cuts by the Viking’s metal blades. They isolated the solar storm date in the wood and counted the rings to determine a date.
So, a solar storm, precise cuts by metal tools to trees with the bark still attached, and annual tree rings pinpointed the date of the cutting of the trees at 1021. That’s exactly 1,000 years ago.
The data pinpoints the earliest date that humans indeed migrated around the planet. Furthermore, it collaborates with two known Viking stories.
So, if scientists can confirm the validity of this Viking tale, how many other stories are floating around just waiting to be confirmed?
Copyright 2021, TheRedWire.com