Tanfield Valley

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Southern tip of Baffin Island

Tanfield Valley, also referred to as Nanook, is an archaeological site located on the southernmost projection of Baffin Island in the Canadian territory of Nunavut. It is possible that the site was known to Pre-Columbian Norse explorers from Greenland and Iceland. It may be in the region of Helluland, spoken of in the Icelandic sagas (Greenland Saga and Saga of Erik the Red).[1][2][3]

The Helluland Archaeology Project is a research initiative that was set up at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, now the Canadian Museum of History, to investigate Patricia Sutherland's theory of an extended Norse presence on Baffin Island with extensive trading with the indigenous Dorset people.[4] It is now on hiatus following Sutherland's ouster from the museum in 2012.[2] Excavations led by Sutherland at Tanfield Valley found evidence of medieval Norse textiles, metallurgy and other items of European-related technologies. Wooden artifacts from Dorset sites include specimens which bear a close resemblance to Norse artifacts from Greenland. Pelts from Eurasian rats have also been discovered.[5][6]

Moreau Maxwell (1918-1998), professor and curator of Anthropology at Michigan State University, had previously researched the site in his study of the prehistory of Baffin island, the findings of which were summarized in his publication Prehistory of the Eastern Arctic (1985).[7]


  1. ^ Heather Pringle (November 2012). "Vikings and Native Americans". National Geographic. 221 (11). Retrieved January 28, 2013.
  2. ^ a b Andrew Hamilton (February 8, 2013). "The Medieval Norse on Baffin Island". Counter-Currents Publishing. Retrieved October 18, 2015.
  3. ^ "World of the West Norse: Greenland to Baffin". Cornell University Library. December 8, 2015. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  4. ^ "Helluland Archaeology Project". Canadian Museum of History. Retrieved October 18, 2015.
  5. ^ Heather Pringle (October 19, 2012). "Evidence of Viking Outpost Found in Canada". National Geographic News. National Geographic Society. Retrieved January 28, 2013.
  6. ^ Margo Pfeiff (July 29, 2013). "When the Vikings were in Nunavut". Up Here. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  7. ^ William A. Lovis (March 1998). "Moreau Sanford Maxwell". Society for American Archaeology Bulletin. 16 (2).

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