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Location of Sandnæs in the Western Settlement, Greenland

Sandnæs, often anglicized as Sandnes, was the largest Norse farmstead in the Western Settlement of medieval Greenland.[1] Similarly with the Norwegian city of Sandnes, its name meant "Sandy Headland" in Old Norse. It was settled around AD 1000[1] and abandoned by the late 14th century. It was located at the site known as Kilaarsarfik[2] today,[3] at the head of the Ameralla Fjord south of modern Nuuk's peninsula.

The farm was well-placed and possessed a large pasturage enabling its proprietors to successfully raise cattle, compared with goats and sheep at the other Western Settlement farms. It also included the area's church.[3] However, the conditions throughout the site's existence were apparently filthy.[4]

The site has been excavated, proving among other things that the Vikings continued to trade with the American mainland after Leif Ericson's failed colonization attempt.[5] An arrowhead likely from the Point Revenge culture of native Americans in Labrador has been found in the graveyard at Sandnæs.[6] There is also evidence of iron extraction at the site.[7]


  1. ^ a b Miller, Barbara. "The History and Development of the Needle Case". Accessed 16 May 2012.
  2. ^ Spelled Kilærsavik before the introduction of home rule in 1979.
  3. ^ a b Enghoff, Inge B. Meddelelser om Grønland: Man and Society 28: "Hunting, Fishing and Animal Husbandry at the Farm Beneath the Sand, Western Greenland". Museum Tusculanum Press, 2003.
  4. ^ Buckland, P.C. & al. "Bioarchæological and Climatological Evidence for the Fate of the Norse Farmers in Medieval Greenland". Antiquity 70 (1996), 88–96. Accessed 16 May 2012.
  5. ^ Guðrún, Anna & al. Sailing West to Vinland. "Archaeological finds in Greenland". Accessed 16 May 2012.
  6. ^ Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. The Viking Voyage. "Markland and Helluland: Archaeology". Accessed 16 May 2012.
  7. ^ Nielsen, Niels. Meddelelser om Grønland: "Evidence of iron extraction at Sandnes, in Greenland's west settlement". C.A. Reitzel (Copenhagen), 1936.

Coordinates: 64°14′37″N 50°10′32″W / 64.24361°N 50.17556°W / 64.24361; -50.17556