Researchers believe they have the evidence to prove the theory Vikings discovered North America nearly 1000 years ago. Tests of wooden artefacts are cited as evidence of a Viking warriors’ conquest before of the Italian explorer’s discovery. It suggests they were the first ever humans to cross the Atlantic. Previous accounts suggest Columbus was the first European to reach the Americans in1492, arriving at what was later named the Bahamas.
In that part of the Islands, it was later named Hispaniola, and in present day is split into the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Although it was believed Columbus discovered the continent, he never actually reached the US and lands he arrived in were already populated by Indigenous Peoples.
And the theory Vikings reached the New World long before Columbus – or any other Europeans – was only first drawn up in 1960.
But now, there is evidence to prove that theory is correct, archaeologists have said.
Previously, archaeologists believed a site on the northernmost tip of Newfoundland in Canada, L’Anse aux Meadows, was a Viking settlement.
But 61 years later, an international team of scientists have proved through analysing chopped wood samples from the site that it dates to the year 1021 AD.
Archaeologists believe this wood came from Vikings because it there is evidence the cutting and slicing was by blades made of metal.
These were used by the Vikings and certainly not by indigenous people during that time.
Archaeologists could decipher the specific date because of a huge solar storm which took place in 992 AD which created a distinct radiocarbon signal in tree rings the year after.
Dr Margot Kuitems, one of the study authors from the University of Groningen, said: “Finding the signal from the solar storm 29 growth rings in from the bark allowed us to conclude that the cutting activity took place in the year 1021 AD.”
But, while boots of Europeans were likely first on the soil of the Americas, the data suggests it was a only a short stay.
This means the cultural and ecological legacy of this first known European activity in the region is not likely to have left much impact.