Evidence for European presence in the Americas in ad 1021

Margot Kuitems*, Birgitta L. Wallace, Charles Lindsay, Andrea Scifo, Petra Doeve, Kevin Jenkins, Susanne Lindauer, Pınar Erdil, Paul M. Ledger, Véronique Forbes, Caroline Vermeeren, Ronny Friedrich, Michael W. Dee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Transatlantic exploration took place centuries before the crossing of Columbus. Physical evidence for early European presence in the Americas can be found in Newfoundland, Canada1,2. However, it has thus far not been possible to determine when this activity took place3,4,5. Here we provide evidence that the Vikings were present in Newfoundland in AD 1021. We overcome the imprecision of previous age estimates by making use of the cosmic-ray-induced upsurge in atmospheric radiocarbon concentrations in AD 993 (ref. 6). Our new date lays down a marker for European cognisance of the Americas, and represents the first known point at which humans encircled the globe. It also provides a definitive tie point for future research into the initial consequences of transatlantic activity, such as the transference of knowledge, and the potential exchange of genetic information, biota and pathologies7,8.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)388–391
Number of pages4
JournalNature
Volume601
Issue number7893
Early online date20-Oct-2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20-Jan-2022

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