November 27, 2021


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The Vikings came to the United States many centuries before Columbus, new study shows - 10/21/2021 - Science

The Vikings came to the United States many centuries before Columbus, new study shows – 10/21/2021 – Science

Centuries before the pioneering journey of Christopher Columbus, os vikings They had already landed on the American continent and now landed in Canada. A new study used brilliant dating techniques to pinpoint the time of Scandinavian immigration to the United States: exactly a thousand years ago, in 1021 AD

The result, just came out Article in the journal Science, Thanks to an analysis of woodwork from the L’Anse aux Meadows Archaeological Site in Newfoundland and Labrador (Far East Canada). The study was led by Michael Dee of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, who worked with colleagues from companies in Canada and Germany.

Very little is known about The Adventure of Scandinavian Navigators In the new world. Trips to the lands on this side of the Atlantic are mentioned in sagas (stories that mix history and mythology) written in Iceland in the last centuries of the Middle Ages.

Viking groups may have come from Greenland to Canada, where they were able to establish settlements that lasted for centuries (they were abandoned only in the 1400s). Icelandic sagas talk about numerous trees in newly discovered land and refer to conflicts with indigenous peoples, which the Scandinavians called “scrollinger”, probably meaning “dressed in animal skin”.

Excavations in the L’Anx Oaks prairie in the 1960s show that the stories are correct, and that area was probably a site Trips to other parts of the Atlantic coast. However, the dates obtained at the archeological site were a bit confusing, as it is almost known as the Viking Age (AD 793 to AD 1066, according to the convention adopted today).

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This may be due to the technical limitations of the dating methods at the time the material was excavated, without restrictions taking into account material pollution and other factors.

Coming up with new research activity integrated by Michael Dee. As in the 1960s, researchers used the carbon-14 method, which is an unstable form of the chemical element carbon that exists in organisms.

When a tree is cut down and its wood is converted into a chair, for example, the carbon-14 it has been incorporating throughout its life will slowly disappear from the tree. Since this happens at a known rate, the amount of carbon-14 in the wood can tell when the tree was alive.

Fortunately for the researchers, the aboriginal people of Canada were able to identify the woodwork made with metal tools that did not exist at the time. In other words, they could have been created only by the Vikings. The next step is to take into account an anomaly in the amount of carbon-14 produced by cosmic rays, a type of radiation emitted by the Sun and other stars toward Earth.

The particularly strong “rain wind” of cosmic rays, when it strikes carbon atoms, produces excess carbon-14. Other studies have already shown that one of these “storms” occurred in 993 AD.

The researchers did just that – with the help of tree growth rings. Trees in different parts of the world form wooden rings as they grow, each corresponding to a year.

Knowing that one of the inner rings corresponds to the year of the cosmic ray storm, and that the outer ring of the tree corresponds to the end of the tree’s growth, it is enough to count the other rings from the inside to the outside in 1021.

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Accurate dating should help researchers better understand the context in which Scandinavian immigration was created, and perhaps why it was abandoned.