A team of archaeologists may have unearthed an ancient viking settlement from outer space.
Scientists from the University of Alabama may have just uncovered the first new Viking site in North America in the past 50 years. According to a report from Discovery News, researchers have identified a site in Point Rosee in Southern Newfoundland using satellite imagery that could offer new insights into the Vikings’ early forays across the Atlantic.
The only other Viking site ever discovered in North America was found in the 60’s in the northern tip of Newfoundland at L’Anse Aux Meadows, roughly 300 miles away from the recently discovered site.
The findings will be formally presented on PBS’s NOVA science series in an installment called “Vikings Unearthed” online on April 4. It will air live on PBS on April 6.
The study that resulted in the discovery was led by archaeologist Sarah Parcak of the University of Alabama, Birmingham. Parcak and her team used high-resolution satellite imagery to locate the ruins of an ancient Viking camp that were buried nearly 11 inches below the ground’s surface. From 478 miles above the surface of the Earth, the team scanned a vast area of North America’s east coast in search of evidence of ancient settlements.
Using radiocarbon technology, the team suspected the site was from 800 to 1300 AD. Researchers still have yet to excavate the site, but they believe that there was evidence of small scale ironworking in the form of roasted iron ore.
Researchers hope to get to the site on ground in the near future to get a better look at what the ancient Vikings may have left behind. According to a NOVA press release, “If confirmed as Norse by further research, the site will show that the Vikings traveled much farther in North America than previously known, pushing the boundary of their explorations over 300 miles to the southwest of L’Anse Aux Meadows.”
A press release from the Archaeological Institute of America describing the details of the study can be found here.