A new study of wooden artifacts found at Newfoundland’s famed L’Anse aux Meadows site shows that Vikings lived, and felled trees, on North American soil exactly 1,000 years ago—during the year 1021 C.E. The evidence, published today in Nature , means that these Norse seafarers accomplished the earliest known crossing of the Atlantic from Europe to the Americas. Such incredibly precise dating of the wood was possible thanks to an intriguing new method that examined growth rings for a once-in-a-millennium cosmic-ray event that showered Earth with high energy particles in 993 C.E. Finding that telltale spike in the tree rings allowed scientists to count additional rings outside that mark to pinpoint the exact year the Vikings cut fir and juniper trees here, as they lived and explored on the edge of the continent.
My wife and I were thinking about a trip to L’Anse aux Meadows this summer but the border closure put an end to those plans.