An archives is a place where historic records are kept. Often these archives are buildings like the Arne Magnusson Institute in Reykjavik, Iceland, or in libraries like the Royal Library in Copenhagen, Denmark. Here the archives include archaeological sites and objects as well. This site is, in effect, a virtual archives, library, and museum devoted to the Vikings and in particular the Vikings who visited Vinland. The documents, including images, all appear in two locations on the website: 1) organized by theme in the sections “How do We Know About the Vikings”, "Viking Life”, “L’Anse aux Meadows”, “Where is Vinland?” and “Other Mysteries” and 2) Organized by type here in the Archives.

As complex as it may seem, it is a very much simplified archives. In order to research the past, and in order to create this archives which allows you to do so, researchers must search through masses of documents in archives, libraries, and museum collections to locate, select, and study documents and artifacts, or visit far-away archaeological sites that seem relevant before they can begin the process you are engaged in.

The “Where Is Vinland?” site differs from other mysteries in this series in that much of the original documents are in languages other than English and French. They therefore appear as translations so that you can read them.

This virtual archives is organized by the type of source. This is similar to the standard organization of archival or achaeological collections, where the records are grouped by “proveniance,” i.e. by their original location (for example, by government department, by a site or collections) and in the order in which they were originally created and organized. The citations will tell you which archives, library or museum the original may be found in, and the “About this source” files linked to each document will give more details on why and how historians and archaeologists use these sources.

References to related books and websites can be found from Beyond this Site in the Home section.