New Viking site in N America? Experts eye satellite data for potential discovery

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Source:   —  April 02, 2016, at 0:39 AM

Satellite imagery, magnetometer surveys, and a preliminary excavation of the site at Point Rosee in Southern Newfoundland latest year could point to a potentially fascinating discovery.

New Viking site in N America? Experts eye satellite data for potential discovery

Archaeologists have used satellite imagery to identify a site in Newfoundland that could be the first new Viking site discovered in N America in over fifty years.

Satellite imagery, magnetometer surveys, and a preliminary excavation of the site at Point Rosee in Southern Newfoundland latest year could point to a potentially fascinating discovery.

The only other Viking site in N America was found in the one thousand nine hundred sixty at L’Anse Aux Meadows on the northern tip of Newfoundland, about three hundred miles from Point Rosee.

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The archaeologists’ investigation will feature in "Vikings Unearthed," a special of PBS’s NOVA science series, co-produced with the BBC, that premieres online on April four. The special will air on PBS April 6.

Archaeologist Sarah Parcak of the Univ of Alabama, Birmingham, used high-resolution satellite imagery to spot ruins as tiny as eleven inches buried below the surface, according to NOVA. Satellites positioned around four hundred seventy-eight miles over the Earth enabled Parcak and her team to scanning a vast portion of America and Canada’s eastern seaboard.

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The satellite images, two magnetometer surveys, and preliminary excavations propose “sub-surface rectilinear features,” according to the experts, who also identified possible proof of ironworking in the form of roasted iron ore. Radiocarbon technology has dated the site to between eight hundred and one thousand three hundred AD.

The project was led by Parcak and Douglas Bolender, an archaeologist at the Univ of Massachusetts, Boston and co-directed by Gregory Mumford, an associate Prof at the Univ of AL at Birmingham and Frederick Schwarz, of Black Spruce Heritage Services. Historian Dan Snow also participated in the investigation.

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Experts will presently be conducting further excavation and analysis of the site. “If confirmed as Norse by further research, the site will indicate that the Vikings traveled much farther in N America than previously known, pushing the boundary of their explorations over three hundred miles to the southwest [of L’Anse Aux Meadows],” explained NOVA, in its press release.

Initial signs certainly hint at a fascinating discovery. “A ‘Norse’ date and ‘affiliation’ do see rather promising, at this still early stage in the project, but we simply necessity more work at this site and more specialist input and peer-reviewed data before being confidant in stating this as ‘fact’,” explained the archaeologists, in a report of their research.

Chase James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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