Perhaps we will begin to enjoy articles about archaeological exploration in the Canadian Arctic once again. It has been a long winter dry spell, but this post may be a precursor of things to come. The "red stone-like flint" referred to in this article is jasper, a material known to have been used as one element of the common Norse fire starter - flint & steel. Bits and pieces have been found in and around the Viking settlement of L'Anse aux Meadows. (Ed.)
Norsemen may have encountered Newfoundland Beothuk, study suggests
8, 2013 NT
An American researcher has found new information about the movement of the Vikings in
and Newfoundland Labrador which suggests they
may have moved further inland than previously thought, and may have even
travelled to other parts of Atlantic Canada.
Kevin Smith, chief curator at Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology at
in Brown University , says the Norsemen
may have had contact with the Aboriginal Peoples a thousand years ago. He
presented his findings in April at the annual meeting of the Society for
American Archaeology. Rhode Island
According to Smith, recent geochemical tests of a red stone-like flint used by the Vikings found at the L'Anse aux Meadows site on
's Newfoundland show the flint came
from a distinct volcanic formation in Northern Peninsula on the island's
northeast coast. Notre Dame Bay
The discovery suggests the Vikings may have traveled hundreds of kilometers down the island's coast and into Beothuk territory. It's a theory consistent with Norse records that portray a confrontation between the Vikings and the Aboriginal Peoples in
Vinland, which is what the
Norse called . Newfoundland
"According to their own stories that were told in Iceland into the 1200s and 1300s, written down in the sagas there, they were defeated, were turned back, by the fact that the populations — the existing populations — of the First Nations peoples were well organized enough, numerous enough, and proud enough defenders of their own land that the Norse decided that, as good a place as this would be to settle … that this wasn't the place to settle," Smith said.
"If you think about it in terms of European history or world history, this is probably the place where Native American First Nations people won the first big encounter between them and the western world."
There is evidence from the L'Anse aux Meadows site that the Vikings travelled further south than
, possibly into what —
on today's maps — are other Newfoundland and the Atlantic provinces . United States
However, retired Parks Canada archaeologist Birgitta Wallace said tracking the movements of the Vikings is a challenging effort.
"To look for something that was a summer camp 1,000 years ago, by just a handful of people, is pretty useless," Wallace said.
"Unless there was a big catastrophe, I don't think a group of people like that leave many traces from themselves."