The study shows that the Vikings settled in North America 500 years before Christopher Columbus.

The Vikings reached America 500 years earlier Christopher Columbusnew results published in the journal Nature Show.

A team of researchers from L’Anse aux Meadows, an archaeological site in Newfoundland, Canada, has used cutting-edge dating techniques to confirm the earliest date for European settlement in the Americas: 1021 AD.

The study focused on three pieces of wood from three different trees, all of which date back to the era archaeologically attributed to the Vikings.

The study says that each piece of wood showed signs of cutting and slicing with metal blades, a material not used by the indigenous population.

Signs of a solar storm

The exact year 1021 AD was determined by a powerful solar storm in AD 992 that produced a distinct radiocarbon signal in the tree rings of the following year.

“The fact that our results for three different trees converge in the same year is remarkable and unexpected. This coincidence provides strong evidence of Scandinavian activity in L’Anse aux Meadows in 1021 AD,” the study says.

These results may serve as a new benchmark for collecting future knowledge of transatlantic activities. The study says it could also reveal details about the initial consequences of cultural interactions, “such as the transfer of knowledge and the potential exchange of genetic information, biota and pathologies.”

“It is a matter for future research how AD 1021 relates to the overall transatlantic activity of the Scandinavians. However, our results provide a chronological reference for further research into the implications of their westernmost expansion,” the study says.

L’Anse aux Meadows

L’Anse aux Meadows is a UNESCO World Heritage Site at the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula in Newfoundland, Canada. It is an 11th century Viking settlement that provides the earliest evidence of the very first European presence in North America.

The site consists of eight turf timber-frame buildings with three dwellings, one forge and four workshops, all similar in style to those found in Scandinavian Greenland and Iceland of the same period.