Centuries before Christopher Columbus stumbled across the Bahamas, the Vikings established a beachhead at L’Anse Aux Meadows, a site on the northern peninsula of what is now Newfoundland, Canada.
In the early 1200s, Icelandic authors wrote down two sagas describing Norse explorers’ trips to a place called Vinland.
For a few years (between three and 10), the Norse settlers used the site as a base for explorations farther south—and then they left.
Radiocarbon dating of charcoal from L’Anse aux Meadows suggests that the Viking Age came to American shores sometime between 975 and 1020 CE.
All three wood fragments included at least part of a tree’s outermost ring (tree-ring enthusiasts call this the "waney layer").
That confirmed the fragments came from felled trees, not driftwood, whose bark would have been stripped away by the ocean.
It also meant that Dee, Kuitems, and their colleagues could date the exact year the trees were cut down. »