Viking Voyages to Vinland

Did you know that the Scandinavian Vikings visited Newfoundland and Labrador Canada approximately five centuries before John Cabot or Christopher Columbus sailed to North America? Vinland or Wine-land was discovered by Leif Erickson, covered the area from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the northeastern New Brunswick known for its grapevines, then all the way up to Newfoundland.

Photo below: Reenactment of Viking ships at L’Anse aux Meadows

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Vikings were known for their raiding and trading in unknown lands such as L’Anse aux Meadows located at the Northern tip of Newfoundland. In 1960 archaeological artifacts were found there. This site’s discovery and dig was lead by Archaeologist Anne Stine Ingstad with her husband Helge Ingstad. Vineland or Wine-land was written about in the Icelandic Sagas. This site was named an Archaeological and Historical site by the Government of Canada in 1968. Over time, the Vikings left the area due to the extreme cold and lack of food during the winter months, they returned home.

Photo: Archaeologist, Anne Ingstad at L’Anse aux Meadows, 1963.

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Photo below: L’Anse aux Meadows site at the North tip of Newfoundland.

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L’Anse aux Meadows may be the camp Straumfjörd  meaning stream-fjord described by the famous Viking, Erik The Red in The Saga of Erik The Red.
This site dates back six thousand years earlier before the Vikings, where The Dorset Paleo-Eskimo peoples lived from 500 BCE to 1500 CE.
Source & Reference:
  • Hreinsson, Vidar (1997) The Complete Sagas of Icelanders (Leifur Eiriksson Publishing, Reykjavik, Iceland) ISBN 978-9979-9293-0-7
  • Wahlgren, Erik (2000). The Vikings and America. Thames & Hudson. ISBN 978-0-500-28199-4.
  •  Wallace, Birgitta (2003). “The Norse in Newfoundland: L’Anse aux Meadows and Vinland”. The New Early Modern Newfoundland. 
  • All photos in Public Domain

 

 

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Plant Lore: Angelica

Angelica grows wild in the Scandinavian countries also in Greenland, Russia and Iceland. During the 10th century it was cultivated as a medicinal plant and as a vegetable. Angelica became popular by the 12th century even the Vikings used it sometimes as currency since it was known for its’ medicinal healing of influenza, colds and thought to help heal folks from the Black Plague. The Sami  people of Lapland used this special plant to flavor their Reindeer milk. It was also used for Shamanic rituals.

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How did Angelica receive its name? Legend has it that a 17th century monk bestowed the name Angelica on this unique plant after he had a dream which he was visited by a mighty archangel who offered it for healing. It’s essential oil can be used as a physical and spiritual protection charm if worn close to your heart. Today Angelica is used to add flavor and aroma to culinary recipes.

 

 

Sources & References:

 *The Earthwise Herbal: A Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants, Matthew Wood, 2008.

*Wikimedia commons Photos of Angelica ( Public Domain)

 

 

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