INTERPRETATIONS

In the web site you have been presented with a smattering of the types material an archaeologist uses to interpret the past. You have looked at Viking art work, artifacts and building remains, environmental data, maps, texts, and examples of how such data are used in interpretations. They are like pieces in a kaleidoscope which you have to shake together in a special way to solve the mystery of Vinland, a mystery to which many opposing solutions have been proposed.

When you have come to your own conclusions about the location of Vinland and other mysteries posed by the Norse in North America, you may want to see what others have thought about these questions. This section of the web site contains excerpts from articles, books, and a couple of essays written by experts on past navigation, historical architecture, runic script, climate, maps, and Vikings.

The interpretations are by:

Max Vinner is a Danish archaeologist at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark, who has been involved in sailing experiments with replica Vikings ships.

Johannes Hertz is a Danish architectural historian, head of the National Antiquarian Archaeological Secretariat. He was a co-director of a modern assessment of the Newport Tower, an alleged Viking structure in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1993.

Ingrid Hattendorf, a graduate archaeology student working as an intern at the Newport Archaeological Society at the time of the reassessment of the tower.

Jan Heinemeier is Head of the Physics Laboratory at the University of Aarhus and H÷gne Jungner works at the Dating Laboratory of the University of Helsinki.

Helmer Gustavson is a Swedish specialist on runic script at Runverket (the Runic Studies Department), in Stockholm, Sweden, the central agency dealing with all Swedish runic inscriptions, their recording, interpretation, and protection.

Astrid Ogilvy is an English-Norwegian historian specializing on historical weather records, especially those from Iceland and Greenland. She is a member of several international interdisciplinary research teams focussing on past climate changes.

Kirsten Seaver is a Norwegian-born historian and a specialist on medieval maps. She is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in London. Her 1997 book, Maps, Myths, and Men, The Story of the Vinland Map, is the most exhaustive study made so far of this controversial map.

Birgitta Wallace is the research director for this web site. She is a Swedish-born and educated archaeologist, retired from Parks Canada. She is a specialist on Vikings in North America and has been the archaeologist for L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site since 1976. While employed at Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, PA prior to this, she conducted an in-depth study of all alleged evidence of Vikings in North America.

Teachers can request access to the experts' interpretations of the mysteries that have been created for each site. We have made this section password-protected to encourage students to come up with their own interpretations of primary documents, rather than relying on other people's analyses. To access the Interpretations just fill in our online registration form and await your password.

Access the interpretations