National Geographic : 1964 Nov
one. Years of exploration lay behind, years of combing thousands of miles of Atlantic coast line of North America, guided by the old Icelandic sagas. Finally luck was with me, and my theory was confirmed at L'Anse au Meadow, where our third and climactic sea son of work was now under way. Topping all was the final verdict of radio carbon analyses from the site: The average date of ten charcoal samples from fire hearths, pits, and the smithy worked out to the neigh borhood of A.D. 900. The first Norsemen came about the year 1000, but the wood that they burned in their fires undoubtedly included much long-dead driftwood, which abounds Woolen sail bellying in the wind, a ship from Greenland approaches Newfoundland. As the strange coast heaves into view, the leader-he could have been Leif Ericson and his crew prepare to land. Vikings' open vessels proved seaworthy sailers. A dupli cate of a 9th-century Viking ship unearthed in Norway crossed the Atlantic in 1893, making up to 11 knots and riding the fierc est seas. With planks lashed to ribs, the flexible hull sometimes twisted six inches out of line but remained watertight.