L'Anse aux Meadows
L'Anse aux Meadows, the first authentic Norse site found in North America, is located on the northern tip of Newfoundland's Great Northern Peninsula.
L'Anse aux Meadows, the first authentic Norse site found in North America, is located on the northern tip of Newfoundland's Great Northern Peninsula. Newfoundlander William A. Munn suggested in 1914 that Norse landings had occurred on this spot, but remains were not discovered until 1960 when the Norwegian explorer and writer Helge Ingstad and his wife, archaeologist Anne Stine Ingstad, searched the area. The site was excavated by Anne Stine Ingstad from 1961-68, and by Parks Canada from 1973-76.
The Norse remains consist of 3 building complexes, each comprising a large dwelling and associated workshops. Finds show evidence of carpentry and ironworking, the first known iron smelting in the New World. Distinctive artifacts include a bronze pin, a spindle whorl, needlework tools and broken wood objects. Building types, artifacts and radiocarbon dates indicate an occupancy of short duration between 990 and 1050 AD. The site also contains evidence of Maritime Archaic, Groswater, Dorset and 9th-century native occupations predating the Norse, and one native occupation postdating them. However, there were no aboriginal people on the site at the time of the Norse.
Since 1977 L'Anse aux Meadows has been a National Historic Site administered by Parks Canada. The site was declared a United Nations World Heritage Site in 1978. The modern settlement was established as a French fishing station; in 1835 William Decker, an English seaman, founded the present community, which derives most of its income from inshore fishing.
A.S. and H. Ingstad, The Norse Discovery of America (1986); G. Jones, The Norse Altantic Saga (1986).