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Norse in Newfoundland

A critical examination of archaeological research at the Norse site at L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland

Janet E. Kay


Explorer Helge Ingstad set out in the 1960s to search for the much hypothesized and mythical Norse land of Vinland. Vinland, originally discovered by Leif Erikson c. 1000 CE, is described in two sagas written in the thirteenth century: the Saga of the Greenlanders and the Saga of Erik the Red. These sagas mention a land that appeared to be congruent with a descrAtion of northern Newfoundland. In his search, Helge Ingstad and his wife, Anne Stine Ingstad, came across a site in L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland, which seemed to fit the descrAtion of Vinland. In this study, the published archaeological reports from the Ingstad and Wallace excavations are critically examined, in conjunction with supplementary background and comparative studies, to determinehow the settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows functioned, and what its general purpose was. In particular its focus is dietary practices and site activities.