L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site in Newfoundland

Aerial of Lanse aux meadows

 Russ Heinl/Getty Images

A visit to L'Anse aux Meadows (pronounced "lance oh Meadows") is not only a step back in time, it is a journey to the meeting of the Old World and the New. From common ancestors, two groups of humans traveled in opposite directions - one through Africa, Asia, and Europe, then by boat to the Americas, and the other from Africa to Asia and across a land bridge to Alaska and the New World. At Newfoundland's L'Anse aux Meadows, you can see the place where the two met for the first time since their original parting of ways. Take a photo tour of L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site.

L'Anse aux Meadows is more than a National Historic Site, it's also a modern-day village at Hay Cove, with places to stay and eat and plenty of natural beauty.

The Norse settlers weren't the only people to find L'Anse aux Meadows a good place to live and fish. Native People first settled here around 3950 B. C. Leifr Eiriksson (Leif Ericsson) and his band of Norse settlers was latecomers to L'Anse aux Meadows, arriving here around 1000 A. D.

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Visitor Centre at L'Anse aux Meadows

Viking Village, replica of Norse church
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The Visitor Centre, remodeled in 2010, sits atop a hill overlooking the archaeological dig site and the Norse building reproductions.

Exhibits include the World Heritage Site charter documents from UNESCO, artifacts discovered by Helge and Anne Stine Ingstad and their archaeological teams and models of the Norse settlement site and excavations.

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Replica of Norse Longhouse

Replica of Norse Church
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After Helge and Anne Stine Ingstad excavated L'Anse aux Meadows' Norse settlement (1961 - 1968), the excavations were recovered to preserve them.

Parks Canada built the Viking Encampment near the excavation site, using traditional Norse construction methods, to show visitors how the Norse settlers of long ago might have lived. Today, you can visit reproductions of a Norse longhouse, small house/workshop, hut, and furnace.

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Site of Norse House

LAnse-aux-Meadows, National Historic Site
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You can tour the archaeological site alone or with a Parks Canada ranger. Signs tell you where all the excavated buildings were found.

A ranger-led tour, which takes about an hour, is the perfect introduction to a visit to L'Anse aux Meadows. You'll learn not only about the excavations but also about the Norse explorers who came to the area looking for "Vinland," a land of wild grapes, butternuts and timber forests.

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Replica of Norse Boat

Viking style boat in front of reconstructed sod Norse long house
Danita Delimont/Getty Images

At the time that Leif Eiriksson and his party settled in L'Anse aux Meadows, the Norse people used several different types of boats.

This type of boat, a replica of a Norse faering, would have been used to bring people and goods ashore from larger ships and to explore the local seacoast.

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Weaving Loom

loom weights
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Weight stones for a Norse loom and a drop spindle whorl were found during the L'Anse aux Meadows excavations, proving that women lived in the settlement.

This loom, a replica of the type that would have been used in 1000 A. D., uses stones as weights. Archaeologists theorize that female Norse settlers wove sailcloth on a loom like this one. A whetstone and part of a bone needle were also found on the site, further bolstering the theory that women wove and sewed at L'Anse aux Meadows.

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Meeting of Two Worlds Sculpture

Meeting of Two Worlds Sculpture
D. Gordon E. Robertson/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Meeting of Two Worlds brings to life the historic encounter between Norse explorers and Native People here at L'Anse aux Meadows.

Luben Boykov and Richard Brixel created this sculpture. Boykov, a Newfoundland sculptor born in Bulgaria, and Brixel, a sculptor from Sweden, collaborated on this work, which symbolizes the end of a centuries-long journey for mankind from its point of origin east through Asia and North America and west through Asia and Europe to a new meeting place at L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland.