Vikings reached Americas 471 years before Columbus, study claims

Vikings crossed Atlantic 1,000 years ago, according to new study.

The debate about who 'discovered' North America first took a new turn this week when scientists presented what they say is proof that Vikings had settled in the New World a millennium ago.

The findings were based on studies carried out on the remains of timber-framed buildings found in a peat bog on the island of Newfoundland, Canada, which the international team of scientists date to 1021 AD, beating Columbus by 471 years.

Using a new type of dating technique on timber excavated from the site, scientists say the study proves the Vikings were living at the L'Anse aux Meadows settlement around half a millennium before Columbus made his transatlantic voyage in 1492.

The archaeologists determined the exact year by basing their analysis on a solar storm that occurred in 992 AD and resulted in distinct radiocarbon signals in tree rings from the following year.

The studies were conducted on fir and juniper logs from trees that were alive during the solar storm, with scientists also finding proof that the timber was felled by Vikings due to evidence of "clean, low-angle cuts" made by metal tools.

Originally from Norway, Sweden and Denmark, the Vikings were skilled seafarers, with extensive knowledge of boat-building, who established settlements on Iceland and Greenland.

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Address Newfoundland and Labrador A0K 2X0, Canada

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Vikings reached Americas 471 years before Columbus, study claims

Newfoundland and Labrador A0K 2X0, Canada