L'Anse aux Meadows - Unique Places Around the World

Ancient homes of viking settlers in L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland, Canada.
Ancient homes of viking settlers in L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland, Canada.

5. Description

The L'Anse aux Meadows is located on the island of Newfoundland, in Canada. The site, also known as “Jellyfish Cove”, is found at the tip of the island. It was discovered by archaeologists Anne and Helge Ingstad in the 1960s. Their discovery provides evidence that a European settlement existed in the area as early as the 11th century. The L'Anse aux Meadows exists as 8 buildings which have been named A-J. The buildings were built using ancient building materials namely sod and wood. The buildings resembled those of a Norse village which exist in Greenland and Iceland.

4. Tourism

Many people have visited the L'Anse aux Meadows to enjoy the beautiful scenery and see the homes that the Vikings used to live in. The site contains eight homes which are believed to have been the dwelling place of the first Europeans to settle in America. Most tourists visit the L'Anse aux Meadows between the months of June and October. Tourists can access the site by the use of car rentals services found at the Deer Lake Regional Airport. There are modest hotels and restaurants nearby such as the Grenfell Heritage Hotel and Suites, and Norseman Restaurant. Tourists can also purchase souvenirs including carvings and jewellery at the Gaia Art Gallery.

3. Uniqueness

L'Anse aux Meadows is popularly known as the first and only proven Norse site in North America. The reason for this is that there is a lot of archaeological evidence which suggests the existence of Vikings 1000 years ago. The Vikings are believed to have been the first Europeans to set foot in America. The discovery of the L'Anse aux Meadows was a milestone in the history of human migration and discovery. Consequently, it has earned a place in the UNICEF books as a World Heritage Site.

2. Habitat

L'Anse aux Meadows used to be a dense forest, but is currently an open and grassy region. The L'Anse aux Meadows experiences vary harsh winters which have been the reason game no longer exists on the island. It is believed that animals such as wolves, bears, fox, and all types of birds used to exist in the area. There were also fish, walrus, whales, and seals but the harsh winters caused many of these animals to hibernate in other parts of the world that have warmer temperatures. The poor climate is also believed to have caused the Norse people to migrate. They only lived in L'Anse aux Meadows for a short period of time.

1. Threats

The beautiful archaeological site of L'Anse aux Meadows is continually threatened by natural disasters, looting, and inadequate site management and conservation. The looting has been of artifacts which are the main proof of the existence of the Vikings. A lack of such proof brings about doubt to the findings of the archaeologists. The sustenance of the L'Anse aux Meadows is also challenged by natural disasters such as earthquakes. These disasters negatively impact the topography of the site. Another threat to L'Anse aux Meadows is the poor management. Although the houses were in bad conditions for a long time, they were only renovated recently.


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