The Vikings wrest the primacy from Christopher Columbus: there are new certainties that a group of ‘men of the North’ arrived in America at least at the beginning of the 11th century, establishing at least a small colony. This is indicated by the remains of ancient wooden buildings analyzed in the research led by the Dutch University of Groningen and published in the journal Nature. For the first time a precise date has been indicated, 1021, of the presence of the Vikings in America, exactly one thousand years ago.
It has been known for some years that the first Europeans to reach the American coasts were almost certainly the Vikings, a great people of navigators who, at the turn of the millennium, were the protagonists of expeditions to the margins of the whole known world of the time: from the Mediterranean to the Caspian Sea, up to the most remote coasts of Northern Europe and Greenland. Journeys narrating in the many sagas of Norse literature and which also referred to the exploration of the regions west of Greenland.
The first direct confirmations of these sorties in the American continent date back to the 1960s, with the discovery in particular of the remains of a colony, Anse aux Meadows, on the island of Newfoundland in Canada, which still left margins of uncertainty, especially on the dating. precise. By analyzing a series of wooden remains unequivocally worked by peoples who used iron (a material unknown to Native Americans), Dutch researchers have now managed to accurately date the colony proving the Viking presence at least to 1021.
By analyzing a series of wooden remains unequivocally worked by peoples who used iron (a material unknown to Native Americans), Dutch researchers have now managed to accurately date the colony proving the Viking presence at least to 1021.
The exact year was determined because in the growth rings of the trunks the traces, common to the plants of the time all over the world, of a strong solar storm that occurred in 992 were identified. “Finding the signal from the solar storm that followed from 29 growth rings allowed us to conclude that the cutting activity took place in the year 1021 AD “, explained Margot Kuitems, first author of the article.
It is not yet clear at the moment how many expeditions have reached the American coasts, the site of Anse aux Meadows is today the only certain remnant of a Viking colony, but it is believed that the stay of the Europeans was short-lived, maybe a few years. In any case, the discovery is absolutely one of the first certain proofs of the Viking presence and confirms the veracity of many elements present in the Norse sagas on these journeys, which also tell of the difficult relations with the natives, of commercial exchanges. occurred between the two peoples and, finally, of the fact that these landings were also told to prominent figures of the European mainland.