|Nearest city||Port aux Basques|
In 2014, archaeologist Sarah Parcak, using near-infrared satellite images discovered a possible Norse settlement at Point Rosee, Newfoundland. If confirmed, it would have been the second known Viking or Norse settlement in Newfoundland and the second Norse settlement in North America. Point Rosee was excavated in 2015 and 2016, by a team of researchers directed by Parcak and co-directed by her husband Gregory "Greg" Mumford.
In their November 8, 2017 report, that was submitted to the Provincial Archaeology Office in St. John's, Newfoundland, Parcak and Mumford wrote that they "found no evidence whatsoever for either a Norse presence or human activity at Point Rosee prior to the historic period" and that "None of the team members, including the Norse specialists, deemed this area as having any traces of human activity." Parcak has not applied for any new archaeological permits to excavate at Point Rosee since 2016.
Examining near-infrared satellite images and high-resolution aerial photographs in 2014, Parcak, an American archaeologist, Egyptologist, and remote sensing expert, found a site with rectilinear features that suggested the presence of a 22-meter long by 7-meter wide Norse longhouse. Parcak stated that this was the exact same size as the longhouses at L'Anse aux Meadows and was one of the reasons Parcak decided to excavate at Point Rosee. The Norse longhouse at L'Anse aux Meadows had turf walls over 6-feet thick and left grass covered mounds where the turf walls had been. No grass covered mounds were found at Point Rosee. During a two-week exploratory dig in June 2015, directed by Parcak and co-directed by her husband Gregory "Greg" Mumford, a professor of anthropology, uncovered what they thought was a turf wall, a style of construction used by the Norse. By the end of the 2016 excavation it was determined that the soil feature that was thought to be a turf wall was the result of natural processes. In their November 2017 report Parcak and Mumford stated that the "turf/wall-type features are not man-made."
The 2015 excavation found an accumulation of bog iron ore that they thought was evidence of Norse roasted bog iron ore (roasting being the first step in the production of iron). The accumulation of the bog iron ore was determined in 2016 to also be the result of natural processes. Birgitta Linderoth Wallace, one of the leading experts of Norse archaeology in North America and a member of the team who excavated the Norse settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows in the 1960s, stated that the roasting, if any, could have been caused by a campfire, and Indigenous people are known to have lived in Newfoundland for thousands of years before the Norse arrived. In 2015, Frederick "Fred" Schwarz, a Canadian archaeologist and also a co-director of the 2015 excavation, found a cracked boulder that he thinks was possibly cracked by fire. In their 2017 report Parcak and Mumford wrote that the cracked boulder, that they called a potential "bog iron ore hearth" and its surrounding area were deemed "to be far more likely, if not all but certainly, to represent natural features rather than anthropogenic features."
According to Douglas "Doug" Bolender, an archaeologist specializing in the Norse, only the Norse would have been roasting bog iron ore in Newfoundland. The cracked boulder, surrounding ash, and bog iron ore found in 2015 was thought by Parcak to be evidence of Norse bog iron ore roasting and maybe iron ore smelting. The smelting, not the roasting, of iron ore creates a glass-like waste by-product known as slag. The presence of iron ore slag would be proof of iron ore smelting and that would be proof that Point Rosee was a Norse site. During the 2015 excavation Parcak's team found what they thought was slag from iron ore smelting. Testing proved what was thought to be slag was just bog ore. Excavations in 2015 and 2016 did not turn up any evidence of a Norse presence. Furthermore, the 2016 excavation proposed that the turf wall and bog ore discovered in 2015 were the result of natural processes.
The 2016 documentary film Vikings Unearthed included information about the 2015 excavation and the radiocarbon dating of two berries from the site, which returned dates between the 1600s and the 1800s. In the film Parcak commented that this was inconsistent with the archaeology of the site, and concluded that the samples must have been intrusive. Bolender added that the preservation of organics on the site was poor and that he did not think that it had good potential for radiocarbon dating. Carbon residue scraped from the cracked boulder was later radiocarbon dated to between 800 and 1300 CE, indicating that there was a fire at Point Rosee between those two dates. In their 2017 report Parcak and Mumford did not claim any of the radiocarbon dates were evidence of a Norse presence at Point Rosee.
Martha Drake, Newfoundland's Provincial Archaeologist, who has been involved with the Point Rosee project since 2014, questions that Point Rosee is a Norse site. Birgitta Wallace, Research Archaeologist Emerita, Parks Canada Agency, is also unsure of the identification of Point Rosee as a Norse site, as is Karen Milek, archaeologist specializing in the Norse and member of the 2016 excavation, along with Barry Gaulton and Michael Deal, both professors of archaeology at Memorial University, Newfoundland and Labrador's University. In their November 8, 2017, report Parcak and Mumford wrote that they "found no evidence whatsoever for either a Norse presence or human activity at Point Rosee prior to the historic period" and that "None of the team members, including the Norse specialists, deemed this area as having any traces of human activity." Parcak has not applied for any new archaeological permits to excavate at Point Rosee since 2016.
Point Rosee, shown on a 1859 map as Stormy Pt., is a remote headland above a rocky shoreline on the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, approximately 600 kilometres (370 mi) south of L'Anse aux Meadows, which is near the northernmost point in Newfoundland and is the only confirmed Norse settlement in North America. Karen Milek, who completed her PhD in Archaeology at the University of Cambridge and was a member of the 2016 excavation, expressed doubt that Point Rosee was a Norse site as there are no good landing sites for their boats. The shoreline is filled with large, unnavigable rocks, and there are steep cliffs between the shoreline and the excavation site. Birgitta Wallace, who in 2015 the Canadian Archaeological Association called "the world's expert" on the Norse in North America, also expressed concerned about Point Rosee being a Norse site due to the rocky shoreline and the lack of fresh water. Locals say the Point Rosee excavation area has been used as a sheep pasture or for growing vegetables. Some area residents hope the discovery will boost tourism in the Codroy Valley.
Parcak and Mumford's November 8, 2017, report
In their November 8, 2017, report to the Provincial Archaeology Office in St. John's, Newfoundland, Parcak and Mumford wrote "There are no clear findings of human activity prior to 1800" that they "found no evidence whatsoever for either a Norse presence or human activity at Point Rosee prior to the historic period" and that "None of the team members, including the Norse specialists, deemed this area as having any traces of human activity." As absolutely no evidence of a Norse presence was found, and with many of the Norse experts stating that this was not a likely site for a Norse settlement, no future excavations are planned for Point Rosee. Parcak and Mumford state in their report that their findings do not warrant a return to Point Rosee. Parcak has not applied for any new archaeological permits to excavate at Point Rosee since 2016.
Parcak's research was in connection with the documentaries Vikings Unearthed and The Vikings Uncovered, a co-production deal between PBS, BBC, and BBC Worldwide North America. They first aired on April 6, 2016, and featured Point Rosee.[excessive citations] There are many other sources of information about Point Rosee.[excessive citations]
- Parcak, Sarah; Mumford, Gregory (November 8, 2017). "Point Rosee, Codroy Valley, NL (ClBu-07) 2016 Test Excavations under Archaeological Investigation Permit #16.26" (PDF). geraldpennyassociates.com, 42 pages. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
[The 2015 and 2016 excavations] found no evidence whatsoever for either a Norse presence or human activity at Point Rosee prior to the historic period. […] None of the team members, including the Norse specialists, deemed this area [Point Rosee] as having any traces of human activity.
- "La probable découverte d'un 2e site viking en Amérique relance les spéculations" [The likely discovery of a second viking site in America raises speculation]. L'Express (in French). AFP. 2 April 2016.
- MacIsaac, Chantelle (April 11, 2016). "Codroy Valley has potential Norse Viking settlement site". The Gulf News. Port aux Basques, Newfoundland and Labrador.
- "A hand map of the island of Newfoundland". Memorial University of Newfoundland. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
- Wallace, Birgitta (2003). "The Norse in Newfoundland: L'Anse aux Meadows and Vinland". The New Early Modern Newfoundland. 19 (1).
Note that the term “Norse” refers to all inhabitants of Viking age and medieval Scandinavia, not just those of Norway (Webster 1988). […] The term “Norse” is preferred here to the more popular “Viking”, which really refers to pirates or raiders.
- Kean, Gary (May 30, 2018). "Province's archeology society was always skeptical Point Rosee was a Norse site". The Western Star. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
World-renowned American archeologist Sarah Parcak had spent parts of 2015 and 2016 digging up areas of Point Rosee to see if her theory that Vikings had spent time there a millennium ago had any veracity. While her initial findings were intriguing, a report by Parcak filed with the provincial government has confirmed she did not find anything Norse at the site.
- McKenzie-Sutter, Holly (May 31, 2018). "No Viking presence in southern Newfoundland after all, American researcher finds". The Canadian Press. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
An archaeological report presented to the provincial government says there are no signs of a Norse presence in the Point Rosee area in the Codroy Valley. The report on the archaeological work carried out in the area in 2015 and 2016 failed to turn up any signs of Norse occupation, with "no clear evidence" of human occupation before 1800.
- Bird, Lindsay (May 30, 2018). "Archeological quest for Codroy Valley Vikings comes up short - Report filed with province states no Norse activity found at dig site". CBC. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
An archeological team searching for a Norse settlement at Point Rosee in the Codroy Valley has come away empty-handed, according to a project report submitted to the province. […] Parcak and Mumford led digs at Point Rosee during the summers of 2015 and 2016, along the way attracting media attention from PBS to the New York Times […]
- Kean, Gary (May 29, 2018). "Archaeology report confirms no evidence of Norse presence at Point Rosee in southwestern Newfoundland". The Telegram. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
- Kean, Gary (September 30, 2017). "Update: Archaeologist thinks Codroy Valley may have once been visited by Vikings". The Western Star. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
- Parcak, Sarah (2009). Satellite Remote Sensing for Arcaheology. New York: Routledge.
- "Vikings Unearthed" (Television production, Dan Snow, Historian, 1 hour and 53 minutes.). BBC Production with PBS and NOVA. April 6, 2016.
Uncover the truth behind the legendary Vikings and their epic journey to the Americas. [Includes transcript. Co-produced with The Vikings Uncovered.]
- Wallace, Birgitta (March 2, 2018). "L'Anse aux Meadows". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Canada. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
Danish archeologist Jørgen Meldgaard visited the general area in 1956. […] His search for grass-covered mounds had nevertheless sparked interest among residents of local communities […] When Norwegian explorer Helge Ingstad and his daughter Benedicte appeared in 1960, locals led them to the grass-covered mounds [at L'Anse aux Meadows].
- Parcak, Sarah (April 14, 2016). "Why I Didn't Want to Study the Norse World-But I'm Very Glad I Did". National Geographic. Point Rosee, Newfoundland.
- Pringle, Heather (March 2017). "Vikings". National Geographic. 231 (3). Retrieved May 14, 2017.
During a small excavation in 2015, Parcak and her colleagues found what looked like a turf wall […] But a larger excavation last summer  cast serious doubt on those interpretations, suggesting that the turf wall and accumulation of bog ore were the results of natural processes.
- Barry, Garrett (April 1, 2016). "Potential Viking site found in Newfoundland". CBC.
- Mossbergen, Dominique (April 1, 2016). "Possible Viking Find Could Rewrite North American History". Huffington Post.
- Bird, Lindsay (September 12, 2016). "On the trail of Vikings: Latest search for Norse in North America". CBC.
- Blumenthal, Ralph (March 31, 2016). "View From Space Hints at a New Viking Site in North America". The New York Times.
- The Vikings Uncovered (Television production, Dan Snow and Sarah Parcak, presenters, 2 episodes 55 minutes each). BBC Production with PBS and NOVA. April 6, 2016.
[Sarah Parcak:] I mean, there's no way that this is a modern site. You saw the conditions at that site. You know, lots of mixing. Lots of potential later intrusions, especially with the amount of water that was there. Those berries were not from a particularly strong context. [...] But the reality is, those dates don't match the archaeology, at all." Douglas Bolender: "I've actually always been very skeptical about the potential for radiocarbon on the site. The preservation is very poor for any organics, and the samples that were available are not very closely associated with the actual activity. [Co-produced with Vikings Unearthed.]
- "Dr. Karen Milek". Wordpress. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
I completed my BA in Anthropology and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Toronto in 1995, and completed an MPhil in World Archaeology (First Millennium AD) and later a PhD in Archaeology at the University of Cambridge. Since 2007 I have been a Lecturer and subsequently Senior Lecturer in Archaeology in the School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen.
- "Birgitta Wallace". Canadian Archaeological Association. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
[Lisa Rankin, President of the Canadian Archaeological Association, 2015:] Birgitta’s name is synonymous with Norse archaeology and Viking-age evidence in the west. […] As the world’s expert in a field fraught with controversy, mythology, misunderstanding and enormous international interest, she has included in her writing a wealth of public outreach in attempt to educate the interested in the realities of Norse North America.
- Sampson, Andrew (April 2, 2016). "Viking discovery could put southwest Newfoundland on the map: Locals say discovery could spell huge boost for tourism in the region". CBC.
- "The Vikings Uncovered". BBC, PBS America, Documentary Mania. 2016.
- Robinson, Jennifer (April 4, 2016). "NOVA: Vikings Unearthed". KPBS. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
NOVA "Vikings Unearthed" / "The Vikings Uncovered" is part of the multi-title co-production deal between PBS, BBC, and BBC Worldwide North America, which was announced in Jan. 2015.
- Strauss, Mark (March 31, 2016). "Discovery Could Rewrite History of Vikings in New World". National Geographic.
- Geggel, Laura (April 1, 2016). "Possible Viking Settlement in Canada Revealed in Satellite Images". Live Science.
- Kaplan, Sarah (April 1, 2016). "An ancient site spotted from space could rewrite the history of Vikings in North America". The Washington Post.
- Jarus, Owen (April 18, 2016). "Searching for the Vikings: 3 Sites Possibly Found in Canada". Live Science.