The doubt was allowed since archaeological discoveries of a few decades ago. Now it is a fact: the presence of the Vikings in North America has been confirmed … 400 years before the arrival of Christopher Columbus.
We will have to review all the textbooks and update all our certainties on the discovery of the Americas. Until now, history has taught schoolchildren around the world that Christopher Columbus, funded by Queen Isabella of Spain, discovered America in 1492 while exploring a new sea route to India through the Atlantic Ocean.
Since archaeological excavations dating back 50 years, there was doubt about the identity of the first Europeans to have set foot on American soil. Indeed, traces of Vikings had been spotted in northeastern Canada in particular thanks to wooden objects.null
But this time, there is no longer any doubt. A study published in the journal Nature by the University of Groningen (Netherlands) toured the world on Wednesday, October 20. It indicates that researchers found a way to confirm the presence of the Vikings in Newfoundland, 400 years before the arrival (much further south) of Christopher Columbus.
A decisive solar storm
And it is the sun that enlightened the researchers. This is because a solar storm dated to AD 993 released a huge pulse of radiation that was absorbed and stored by trees all over the Earth. It was this solar event that turned out to be decisive in determining the exact year the Vikings were present in the Americas.
Until now, the wooden elements recovered 50 years ago had been dated but with the radiocarbon technique the margin of error was about a century. But researchers at the time had recovered and preserved hundreds of other additional pieces of wood found on and around the site, storing many in freezers in a Canadian warehouse to prevent them from rotting.
A stock which represented a « gold mine » for the archaeologist of the University of Groningen, Margot Kuitems, co-author of the study.
The thing that changed everything is that three of the wood samples were from living trees during the solar event of 993. The cosmic storm was so powerful that it embedded itself in the layers of trees around the world. , creating a kind of timestamp of these.
This phenomenon having only occurred twice during the last 2000 years, it was then « easier » to date the pieces of wood … and in particular the year of the felling of the tree by the Vikings which dates back to the 1000s. Christopher Columbus did not land in San Salvador until 1492 …