L'Anse aux Meadows

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L'Anse aux Meadows (pronounced /ˈlænsi ˈmɛdoʊz/;[1] from the French L'Anse-aux-Méduses or "Jellyfish Cove") is an archaeological site on the northernmost tip of the island of Newfoundland in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Discovered in 1960, it is the only known site of a Norse village in Canada, and in North America outside of Greenland. The site remains the only widely-accepted instance of pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact, and is notable for possible connections with the attempted colony of Vinland established by Leif Ericson around 1003, or more broadly with Norse exploration of the Americas.



The name "L'Anse aux Meadows" made its first appearance as Anse à la Medée on a map of 1862, when it may have derived its name from a ship called Medée. This was then modified by French-speaking fishermen during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, who named the site L'Anse aux Méduses, meaning "Jellyfish Cove". The modern name is an English corruption of the French name, from Méduses to Meadows, which may have occurred because the landscape in the area tends to be open, with meadows.[2]

Discovery and significance

In 1960, the remains of a Norse village were discovered here by the Norwegian explorer Helge Ingstad. Archaeologists determined the site is of Norse origin due to definitive similarities between the characteristics of structures and artifacts found at the site compared to sites in Greenland and Iceland from around AD 1000.[3]

L'Anse aux Meadows is the only known Norse site in North America outside of Greenland, and represents the farthest known extent of European exploration and settlement of the New World before the voyages of Christopher Columbus almost 500 years later. It was named a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1978.

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