Boy, Columbus Day takes another hit. There's a scientific study that is showing for the first time clear, scientific evidence that Vikings were the first Europeans to discover North America. How could they tell?

It's all in the trees & science, baby.

Try to hang with me here, it's a little complicated. I first read about this from NBC, ad then did some digging.  Scientists looked to an area in Newfoundland, Canada called L'Anse, aux Meadows where there has been archaeological finds for many years. They studied pieces of wood that were cut by metal tools. Indigenous people did not have the technology at that time. Then they used science to pinpoint a year.

A radioactive atmosphere can give us a date.

So in another established scientific study, there was a higher than average radioactive year back in 993 AD. It was probably caused by something like solar flares. But, using the science they could pinpoint where that radioactive signature was in the tree. Then they counted the rings outward year by year until the they stopped, which was when it was cut down.

The year was 1021 AD, which is way earlier than Christopher Columbus.

Vikings from Greenland had been in North America a long time before Columbus sailed in. The difference is they didn't really stick around and settle it for long. History suggests they only stayed around for just over a decade.

And, it very well could have been Leif Erikson

You know Leif Erikson? We've got a park named after him in Duluth. For a long time historians have said that Leif Erikson was the first of the Vikings to set foot on North American soil from across the Atlantic. Now we have scientific proof that his people did.

Water fountain in the rose garden at Leif Erickson Park in Duluth, MN
Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth

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