At the tip of Newfoundland’s Great Northern Peninsula lies the first known evidence of European presence in the Americas. A Norse expedition sailed from Greenland and built a small encampment of timber-and-sod buildings here over 1,000 years ago. A 55-minute drive through coastal communities and forests with an abundant moose population takes us from St. Anthony to the UNESCO World Heritage site at L’Anse Aux Meadows. With a stunning backdrop of rugged cliffs, bog, and iceberg-dotted coastline (in spring), we explore the fascinating archaeological remains of the Viking encampment here. We first stop at the visitor center to view exhibits and then walk 0.6 mile to the archaeological dig. We also visit nearby Norstead Viking Village where we see Norse exhibits and hear ancient stories. Norstead also houses a replica of the Viking ship, Snorri, that Lief Eriksson sailed here on from Greenland.
Discovered in 1960 by Norwegian explorer Helge Ingstad, L’Anse Aux Meadows is the first authenticated Norse settlement in North America. This archaeological site at the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland contains the excavated remains of an 11th century Viking settlement consisting of timber-framed turf buildings that are identical with those found in Norse Greenland and Iceland during the same period. The site is thus unique evidence of the earliest known European presence on the American continent.