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Neurosurgery. 2005 Dec;57(6):1076-87; discussion 1076-87.

The Norse discovery of America.

Author information

  • 1Section of Neurosurgery, Department of Neurosurgery, UllevĂ„l University Hospital, Oslo, Norway. laiv@uus.no

Abstract

In the late 8th century, the stage for Viking expansion was set by commercial expansion in northwest Europe, the pressure of an increasing population in limited territorial reserves, and the development of the Viking ships. The Norsemen traveled extensively over the oceans, south to the Holy Land, and north to the White Sea and settled over a wide area from Sicily to Greenland. Historical sources, including the reports by Adam of Bremen and the Icelandic Sagas, describe several expeditions from Greenland to Vinland (somewhere along the east coast of North America) in approximately AD 1000 and later. Historians have arrived at highly different conclusions with respect to the location of Vinland (from Labrador to Georgia), but, in 1960, the Norwegian explorer Helge Ingstad localized ancient house sites on L'Ans aux Meadows, a small fishing village on the Northern beaches of Newfoundland. From 1961 to 1969, Ingstad and his wife, Anne Stine (an archaeologist), led several archaeological expeditions that revealed Viking turf houses with room for approximately 100 people. They also excavated a smithy, outdoor cooking pits, boathouses, a bathhouse, and enclosures for cattle, in addition to several Viking artifacts. The finds were C dated to AD 990 +/- 30. The present report reviews historical and archaeological evidence indicating the sites to which the Vikings traveled and attempted to settle in the new world.

PMID:
16331154
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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