L'Anse aux Meadows

Newfoundland, Canada

At the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula of the island of Newfoundland, the remains of an 11th-century Viking settlement are evidence of the first European presence in North America. The excavated remains of wood-framed peat-turf buildings are similar to those found in Norse Greenland and Iceland.

Dating to around the year 1000 (carbon dating estimate 990-1050 CE), L'Anse aux Meadows is the only site widely accepted as evidence of pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact. It is notable for its possible connection with the attempted colony of Vinland established by Leif Erikson around the same period or, more broadly, with Norse exploration of the Americas.

Today the area mostly consists of open, grassy lands; but 1000 years ago, there were forests which were beneficial in boat-building, house-building and for iron extraction. The remains of eight buildings were located. They are believed to have been constructed of sod placed over a wooden frame. Based on associated artifacts, the buildings were variously identified as dwellings or workshops.

L'Anse aux Meadows was named a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1978.



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Newfoundland, Canada
See all sites in Newfoundland


Founded: 950-1050 AD
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Canada


4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

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User Reviews

Shyla Tibando (5 months ago)
Very much worth the drive. Would recommend staying overnight and taking your time to explore. We enjoyed the Viking village and the hike along the coastline and barrens.
Jonathan James (6 months ago)
Yet again, we'll done Parks Canada! Fascinating history, knowledgeable guides, informative visitors centre, and well maintained paths and trails. Really enjoyed the path, takes at least an hour if you take your time and take photos. You could probably do it in 30 minutes if you walk quickly. You can see bakeapples along the way, as well as partridgeberries and Pitcher plants. Beautiful vistas and a nice rocky beach. At least half the path is boardwalk and there are numerous info boards along the way. In the Visitors Centre there is a small gift shop, and a short video in a small theater we found actually very interesting and nicely summarized how the Norse people arrived here. It's a a hundred meters from the parking lot to the centre but they have a free wheelchair you can borrow. The Viking recreated village is even further, but again if you have a handicap parking pass you can park much closer by taking another (restricted) access road (zoom in on Google maps). There is an off-road wheelchair by the washrooms you can borrow.
Earle B (6 months ago)
A wonderful piece of history. We stayed overnight in a cabin in Raleigh, a short drive away from the site. Highly recommend you overnight close. Our guide, Betty, was great, however, she spoke a bit too much about the vegetation. The history here proves beyond a doubt that Europeans were in North America long before Columbus. Parks Canada has done a great job in replicating what the site may have looked like. A must see on your visit to NL.
Gayle Wigmore (7 months ago)
It was a little disappointing to have a tour here and all you have to look at is mounds of grass. Our guide was very good explaining about the site and they have built a replica building as to what they think the Norse buildings looked like. But still...if they had actually excavated a bit of a real building so you could actually see the real thing it would have been a bit more authentic.
Dave Nelson (7 months ago)
The layout of this National Historic Site has been well thought out for those who have no physical impairments. The entrance/reception area is easily accessible but to get to the actual exhibitions, you must traverse down a long set of stairs. I don't understand how a federally funded, world renowned place like L'Anse aux Meadows is not "Accessible" to the physically impaired. The site itself is great and the history is amazing. The thinking behind who might be excluded is not.
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