And a fine time to think about Norse sites in North America. L’Anse aux Meadows, in Newfoundland, has been a recognized Viking settlement since the 1960s.
L’Anse aux Meadows (an on-site reconstruction of a sod structure)
Since then, a few isolated finds of Norse or Norse-influenced objects have been reported (such as a Medieval Norse coin from the Goddard Site in Main, or the AVM runestone from Minnesota) – some are deemed Native American items, the product of culture contact/trade, while others come from questionable contexts, or have been confirmed to be modern materials (hoaxes). A site that has recently gotten some attention is the Nanook site on Baffin Island – this site contains several typically Norse materials — spun yarn, whet stones, notched tally sticks, sod/stone houses, and a rock-lined drainage system. This makes the either a medieval Norse site (like L’anse aux Meadows) or an anomalous/atypical (i.e. Norse influenced) Dorset culture site. DNA testing on a tooth at the site was tantalizingly inconclusive.
For a summarized news story on the Nanook site from the Winnipeg free press:
For a more in-depth consideration of Norse influences (and the Nanook site materials), go to Dr. Sutherland’s online in-depth analysis: http://www.civilization.ca/research-and-collections/research/resources-for-scholars/essays-1/archaeology-1/patricia-sutherland/dorset-norse-interactions-in-the-canadian-eastern-arctic