I was just writing the other day about the 1339 monk who wrote about the discovery of America. Now, analysis of wood from timber-framed buildings in the L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland shows a Norse-built settlement over 1,000 years ago – 471 years before Columbus.
As the Guardian and Science News report, the Icelandic sagas – oral histories written down hundreds of years later – tell of a leader named Leif Erikson. The recent finding corroborates two Icelandic sagas – the Saga of the Greenlanders and the Saga of Erik the Red – that recorded attempts to establish a settlement in Vinland. Also known as Leif the Lucky, he was the son of Erik the Red, who was the founder of the first Norse settlements in Greenland. According to the Saga of the Icelanders, Leif established a Norse settlement at Vinland, which is usually interpreted as being coastal North America, though speculation remains over whether this is actually the L’Anse aux Meadows settlement.
However, while it is known that the Norse landed in Canada, it’s been unclear exactly when they set up camp to become the first Europeans to cross the Atlantic, thus marking the moment when the globe was first known to have been encircled by humans.