National Geographic : 2017 Mar
new visions of the vikings 51 Canada. In southwestern Newfoundland they spotted clusters of what looked like turf walls on a promontory known as Point Rosee. Over- looking the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Point Rosee lies along a sea route to lands of butternut trees and wild grapes. And like L’Anse aux Meadows, it adjoins a large peat bog where Viking seafarers could have collected iron ore. During a small excavation in 2015, Parcak and her colleagues found what looked like a turf wall, as well as a large hollow where someone seemed to have collected bog ore for roasting—the first step in producing iron. But a larger excavation last summer cast serious doubt on those inter- pretations, suggesting that the turf wall and accumulation of bog ore were the results of natural processes. Today Parcak is waiting for additional test results to clarify the picture. Parcak thinks, however, that she and her team are developing a scientifically rigorous way to seek Viking sites in North America. Her colleague Karen Milek, an archaeologist at the University of Aberdeen, agrees. “Looking for the Norse here is like looking for a needle in a haystack,” Milek says. Satellite imagery is one of the best ways to go, she adds, “and Sarah is defining that best approach.” on a BlUstery winter Day, I catch a cab to Shetland’s Sumburgh Airport. It’s the morning after Up Helly Aa, and few Shetlanders are awake after the long night of revelry. The swords and helmets are put away, and the children are sleep- ing, dreaming of sea kings. The wooden longship, the pride of the lord, is now ashes in the field. But the idea of the Vikings, the romance of these intrepid northerners who built great ships and sailed ice-choked seas to a new world and winding rivers to the bazaars of the East, never grows old, never grows tired. It lives on here and across their northern realm, a message from a long-dead world, an enduring spirit of an age. j Still standing a thousand years after it was raised, the rune stone at Anundshög in Sweden commemorates the love of a Viking father for his son, Heden. The young man’s fate is unknown, but like many young Vikings of his time, he may have immigrated to a Viking colony in eastern or western Europe. ROBERT CLARK Science writer Heather Pringle is the author of three books, including In Search of Ancient North America. Her assignments often lead to memorable encounters with both the living and the dead.