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Norse America
Vikings In North America

Evidence that the Icelandic sagas were fact not fiction.

A printer-friendly version of this page 56 minutes
Produced by T.W. Timreck & W.N. Goetzmann
in association with Arctic Studies Center at the Smithsonian Institution

Long before Columbus, northern Europe had a tradition of mythic lands to the West. According to the medieval Icelandic sagas, Erik the Red founded a colony in 986 AD in what we now know as Greenland. His son Leif Eriksson later sailed south and discovered a fertile, temperate land he called Vinland.

This film explores the correlation between the latest archaeological discoveries in the Far North and the descriptions of Viking explorations and settlements detailed in the Icelandic sagas.

What emerges is a fascinating story of Norse settlements in Newfoundland and elsewhere along the North Atlantic coast of trading and occasional battles with Eskimo peoples migrating east in this period of global warming. Most amazing of all, it now seems likely that there were contacts between northern Europeans, native Americans, and Asians which were probably not the result of incidental voyages but of a pattern of exploration and trading that extended over the circumpolar region for thousands of years before Columbus' celebrated voyage.

Grade Level: 9-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 1996     Copyright Date: 1996
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-286-6     VHS ISBN: 1-56029-670-4

"A brilliantly produced, informative, entertaining presentation. Highly recommended for school and community video libraries."
Midwest Review of Books

"Persuasively argues that the long tradition of lands to the west was not based upon legend but upon actual travel...Such contact belies the notion that the new and old worlds have gone through centuries of isolation with sporadic contact beginning after the voyages of Columbus...well made."
Rebecca S. Graves, University of Missouri-Columbia, MC Journal

"NORSE AMERICA provides a rare, balanced view of the Norse Vinland voyages, incorporating the most recent archaeological and historical evidence, and placing these early transatlantic settlements in a comprehensible cultural and environmental cont

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Norse America

"A brilliantly produced, informative, entertaining presentation." Midwest Review of Books

Study guide

Awards and Festivals
CINE Golden Eagle
Bronze Plaque, Columbus International Film & Video Festival
ICRONOS, Bordeaux International Archaeology Film Festival

American Studies
Arctic Studies
Indigenous Peoples
World Cultures

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... more Reviews

Thomas H. McGovern, North Atlantic Biocultural Organization, Hunter College, CUNY

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