Life at L’Anse aux Meadows

[ L\'Anse aux Meadows Models Overview ]

L\'Anse aux Meadows Models Overview, Models by David Coldwell depicting site as it may have been in 11th century. Top model is in the City Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland. Bottom model is on exhibit at L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site., Rob Ferguson and Thomas Lackey, B. Wallace Photo Collection

At its peak, the settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows bustled with up to 90 people. In Iceland and Greenland such large gatherings were not common except on the very largest estates and at thing sessions. Most of the people at L’Anse aux Meadows were men, but a handful of women were along to tend to the domestic chores. It was not safe to set out from Greenland to L’Anse au Meadows until mid-June. Although the voyage may take only a couple of weeks, they had to be prepared to be at sea longer as one could not count on favourable winds all the way. They probably arrived some time in July.

Once they had arrived at L’Anse aux Meadows, and had checked that the buildings were in good repair, the crews began their real work: some groups exploring new areas and others setting off for far-away Hóp to fell and dress as much timber as they could bring back to Greenland. One group stayed at the site to cut and collect enough firewood to last the winter, to collect wild bird eggs, fish and hunt seal and caribou. Fish and meat were dried, smoked or cured to prevent spoiling and last the winter. Goats, sheep, and cows were left out to graze and were milked regularly. They were tended to by the few women present, who made butter, cheese and skyr (a type of yogurt) from the milk and spun yarn from the sheep and goat wool.

As fall approached, expeditions returned from Hóp and elsewhere. Ships and boats were hauled up on land, tarred, and repaired. One boat needed major repairs, and rusted nails had to be replaced. To this end iron was produced from bog ore collected along the brook. It was smelted in a furnace fuelled with charcoal made in a pit nearby.

Sea conditions made it dangerous to return to Greenland after October, so everyone had to spend the long winter months at L’Anse aux Meadows. To leave L’Anse aux Meadows earlier would not have been practical as a long summer was needed to collect the lumber, walnuts and other goods that made the long voyage worthwhile.

In the spring, the ships readied for the anticipated journey home to Greenland.

Inside the Hall A Replica

Vikings in Hall A


A Bed in the Hall A Replica

Viking Reenactors in the Replica of Hall A

Full-scale Replicas of the Three Buildings in the A-B-C Complex

Activities at L'Anse aux Meadows, Net Making

Mending a Sail

Boat Repair

Cutting Sod

Boats in Bog

Cutting up Whale Meat

Chapters in Books