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Several other pages similar will follow with improved methods. Please bear with us.

Tracing Vinland on Google Earth®

. -- Fly on VinlandAir and follow our research vessel “Wave Cleaver” as it tracks the ships and courses of thousand year past explorers.

All the places to see from space that were described in the Vinland Sagas. Program your computer and Google Earth® so as to "remember" points of interest and by all means, use ID tacks as you go along. If you do this on intermittent basis (recommended – this can be a long exercise) save accumulated images so that you can return to your previous work. An inexpensive flash drive is recommended, especially if working in libraries or away from home. The exercise works best if Earth® is present and overlaid with this page. Minimize/Maximize either page as needed. Target sites will be introduced inside brackets [   THUS  ] and [  00°00’00.00”N, 00°00’00.00”W   ], then copy/paste into Earth “Fly to” box. Geodetic coordinates, when present, take precedence. (I have found that it works most satisfactorily in this manner: select destination on the web page; control/C'opy', then minimize the page to expose the Earth screen; place cursor at old "Fly to:" destination then click left button three times to select the old destination; then control/V'iew' which will replace the old one with the new; then Fly to. On Macs, if you set Earth screen for nearly full size, leave a small section of this page and a small section of Earth to right, left, up or down - preferably both - and then either partially obscured screen will pop in and out easily. )

You will be directed to specific points of interest and advised to zoom in and out to particular altitudes. Geodetic coordinates will often be provided as sometimes we can place a ship or person within very circumscribed tracts.

The coast of Vinland is commonly viewed by historians as so mysteriously ethereal and distant in both time and space that it has never yet been viewed with its realistic face. Yet, from close readings of the Sagas, it becomes not overly difficult to corroborate. If we can compare these many landfalls and descriptions with tangible places together with their relationships, this advances our insights and acceptance of those voyages of discovery immeasurably. If these landfalls really do occur and can be compared with Saga descriptions, then we add assurance that we are in the right track, that we can build a statistical argument for our conundrum.

It should be noted that the Vinland ” corpus of literature is enormous and has been ongoing for centuries – ever since 1492 and evidence in Portuguese records indicates possibly even before. Many are not aware that a predominant body of research directs scholars towards Southern New England . The first published academic work occurred in 1837 with the appearance of “Antiquitates Americanae” by the Danish scholar Charles C. Rafn who had available to hand most of the Vinland Sagas, then held in Copenhagen for security. The work was a collaboration of the scholar of note with a number of prominent New England historians. These American contributors were, in fact, originators of a program to determine, if they could, the answer to the many indicators, both material (artifacts) and legendary, that their area was, in fact, the Vinland recorded in medieval literature. In our next page, we will point out the locations of the eight artifacts that Rafn (NE historians, rather) became aware of and add a few more that have been discovered since, unknown at the time of the study or possibly suspect. But at the same time, Rafn also analyzed the landfalls and landings in Vinland and the bulk of the work on this page is better attributed to he and his New England collaborators, rather than myself. I had become dimly aware that this might be possible when I discovered “Antiquitates Americanae”. Indeed, I added but few landfalls that Rafn had overlooked, an important one from the Saga of Thorvald Ericksson. The correlation of these factors assumes that Narragansett Bay, was the true fjord remarked by Leif Ericksson in his Saga and that the precise place where he had first set foot at his settlement (“Leifsbudir”) is somewhere within or adjacent to it. Rafn places it on the East side of Narragansett Bay while my eventual discovery sets it on the West side and not quite within. The discovery of this place is of enormous import to history, for it redefines the discovery of America , not by answering the automatic query of who was first, but by defining the entire story of the great discovery. From first to last it was an entirely Christian and Catholic endeavor with the result that neither Leif Ericksson nor Christopher Columbus loses stature or import – both were salient actors in this most grandiose and durable drama of human migrations.

The exercise will be in three sections (separate pages):

·        First, the general approach and detail of the numerous landfalls defining Vinland – the district.

·        Second, the vicinity of the site environs to locate the exact foot prints and

·        Third, identifying varied artifacts discovered over centuries in the district.

·        (In time it may be followed by identifications of those numerous place-names ending in that probable Norse suffix, “---sett”, See:<   vinlandsite.com/linguaone   > and --two)

You will be directed to certain points and expected to zoom in and out for detail. Eventually we will be examining rather delimited areas of interest. For these, geodetic coordinates will be called out and it takes some patience to arrive at a location in tenths of a second of area. If you can, and see the need, try to find a way to "creep" to the points after getting close with your mouse. Use the “rulers” feature liberally at all points.

A map - even road maps of the area will be most helpful. If you wish to delve deeply into the matter, nautical charts will contribute. It is also recommended that the Vinland Sagas be firmly a part of your insights. Print out those Sagas as can be found in other pages of this web. Better yet, the same Sagas can be found handy to reference in "Rediscovering Vinland , Evidence of Ancient Viking Presence in America " by Fred N. Brown III, available in <    BOOKSTORE   > at a not unreasonable cost. You should have to hand and on screen, Google Earth®, this page as overlay, maps and any reference books that you think might be helpful. A flash-drive is most helpful as this page is unlikely to be fully appreciated in one sitting. If you like history, if you like tales of the sea, if you appreciate study of human migration, I am sure you will appreciate this exercise.

For a general overview, fly to [   L'Anse aux Meadows, Canada    ] [Elev. 3200km.] Recall that the overall narrative of Bjarni Herjolfsson describes a Greenland bound course northward of a two day passage, a three day passage, and a final four day passage, most likely in those favorable conditions following confused weather patterns which had plagued him for over 15 storm-bound days at sea. We can compare these – roughly - with the distances from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia, from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland, and from Newfoundland to Greenland . While it is not probable that Bjarni Herjolfsson's entire trip was made in these nine days, it seems likely that “coasting” navigation was simply omitted as tedious. Yet, near the very end of the Vinland Sagas comes the previously overlooked information transmitted by Freydis Ericksdottir that her homeward voyage spanned at least three months. In this view, there presents no difficulty in viewing these ocean courses as reasonably valid recordings. Nine days for Bjarni and three months for Freydis can be reconciled by problems of coastal and casual navigation whereby impatient Bjarni Herjolfsson omitted coasting detail while Freydis was in no particular hurry. Both return voyages of Thorvald and Freydis imply a casual and unhurried attitude. This very elevated view of global perspective presents some difficulty in that, say, the East coast of Newfoundland appears as oriented NE/SW, in fact, it lies truly in a N/S bearing.

Fly to [   MatapoisetT , MA  ] [Elev. 200km]for our starting point. While Mattapoisett just happens to be an arbitrary central target, straightway we approach a culminating discussion of Vinland . For the name is of Narragansett Tribal language – miles to the West - and appears to possibly have Norse linguistic roots. On the right should appear entire Cape Cod [   Nauset , MA     ]; on left the eastern end [    East Hampton , NY      ] (district) of Long Island ; near top, the harbor of  [    Boston , MA   ].

Between Eastern Long Island and the coast lies an irregular, elongated island. It is the contention of this study that this island, large enough for agriculture by natives, proximate to a mainland, unpopulated in 1000AD, is the island to the west of Leifsbudir to which Leif's brother Thorvald sailed with an "afterboat" for explorations. Leifsbudir, therefore, must be some distance eastward from [   Fisher's Island , NY   ] and likely not too far if it were discovered while sailing a small craft of perhaps 20/22 feet long.

On the right, north-pointing Cape Cod [   Nauset , MA    ][ Elev. 80/90km], so readily comparable with famed "Vinlandia Promuntorum" that has attracted these many scholars towards New England in search of Leifsbudir. (The well researched solar observation by someone who had visited Vinland tells us that Leifsbudir lay somewhere between the latitudes of 40 and 45 degrees N. and this is the location of New England, the Southern coast being at the same latitude as [   Oporto, Portugal   ], [   Rome, Italy   ] and [   Istanbul, Turkey   ]. Zoom out and you can check this, but be wary of the “global” perspective – go to the places themselves and read out the latitudes. Also to bear in mind is that salmon and halibut were present at Liefsbudir/Hop, salmon never existing South of Long Island and famed grapes and butternuts never existing North of Nova Scotia.)

On the right, north-pointing Cape Cod , so well documented as the “ North-pointing Cape ” of the Sagas. (“Jutting” in the Sagas. See: Denmark/Jutland.) Leifsbudir must be to the west of it, since there is nothing at all to its east. The offshore islands, from left to right are: Long Island [    East Hampton , NY     ]; [   Fisher's Island . NY   ]; [   Block Island , RI     ]; a southwestwardly oriented chain of small islands call Elizabeth Islands (outermost is [   Cuttyhunk Island , MA     ]); [   Nomans land Island , MA     ]   [    41°14'55.17"N, 70°48'37.65"W   ]; [   Marthas Vineyard, MA   ]; and then boomerang shaped [   Nantucket , MA     ] . All of these islands are important to us, so patient examination here or later will benefit we aspiring cosmonauts. 

There are certain things that you should know about this coastline and how it affects navigation by seafarers. The whole area is a residual glacial moraine of the ice age when a monstrous glacier is said to have been a full mile high here before it retreated, leaving huge quantities of rocks and boulders it had carried from northern areas. The Southern coastline is slowly eroding and the land gradually subsiding some 18 inches from the time of the Vinland Voyages (an apparent sea level rise). The exposed coasts of the outer islands are rather high and eroding sandy bluffs – Southern end of [   Block Island , RI    ] some 125 very steep feet high. This erosion has resulted in the loss of a few lighthouses there which have toppled over since colonial times and has altered the eastern end of Long Island to where that tip of it which points towards Block Island has removed some miles - how many is unknown - to the westward. A thousand years ago it was closer to Block Island than it now appears. The erosion - rather rapid in geological terms - is the result of heavy rainfall and the effects of an eastward current which flows Eastward along the coastline. This current is a sort of off-shoot of the Gulf Stream which flows Northward some miles offshore but which has a "drag" effect on waters nearer the coast and it is this subtle effect that causes the erosion of the outer banks and movement of enormous quantities of sand towards the East. Erosion inland of the outer banks since AD1000 has been estimated at about 150 yards on the island [   Nomans Land Island , MA ] [    41°14'55.17"N, 70°48'37.65"W   ] and possibly somewhat less at other points. It is also the creative force that forms the entire northward sandy arm of Cape Cod . [   Nauset , MA    ][   41°14’53.57”N, 70°48’46.04”W   ] [Elev. 200km].

Now look at the area – the “sound” - between the islands Marthas Vinyard, Nantucket , and the [     Barnstable , MA    ] arm (E/W) of Cape Cod .  You will see a murky greenish appearance of the area which at sea level looks like a flat plane of water. The greenish glow represents sunlight reflection from white sands and extremely shallow conditions of Nantucket Sound. ("Sound" definition is the area between an island and a mainland, because a prudent seaman will always suspect reefs and shoals there and take "soundings". See: Index page Bayeau Tapestry detail for an example of Viking style seamen performing this task ). Indeed, all ferries and sailors in Nantucket Sound are ever alert to these shallows with variable tide ranges of some three feet and normally follow carefully marked channels. The Northern side of Nantucket is so shallow that one can wade out over a mile, sometimes by only rolling ones pants legs up. But it has not always been thus. Until relatively recent times Nantucket harbor had been considered a deep water port and a major harbor for whaling vessels until 1850.  These ships were so large as to "draw" (depth underwater) some 15/18 feet. No ship near that size can approach the haven in these modern times.

A navigational chart of 1717 shows depth in [   Nantucket Sound , MA    ] but also numerous shallows marked as "dry" which might be tidal sandbanks or perhaps even small, washed islands. The same chart also shows the absence of a rather large island [   Monomoy Island , MA    ] which is the long sand-spit extending South at the "elbow" of Cape Cod . What all this means is that conditions have altered considerably in this area in the thousand years from the arrival of Leif Erickson after his two day offshore voyage from his forested "Markland"  [   Nova Scotia, Canada   ].

Since Monomoy Island did not exist at that time and because it happens that Nantucket cannot be seen from mainland Cape Cod, Leif's courses must have been Westward at that point and into (then) deeper water straits between Marthas Vinyard and Nantucket - the same courses that modern shallow draft vessels take (with care). From a course along Nantucket Sound near [    Barnstable , MA    ] one can see neither Nantucket nor the narrow strait between Marthas Vinyard and the mainland – it appears to the eye as an impenetrable land mass – a sort of cul-de-sac. This circumstance might then enforce a course out to the south again and along the southern coast of [   Marthas Vineyard, MA   ]. (speculative, but likely – these are the courses taken today by smaller coasting vessels. All proposed activities and courses remarked on this page are purely theoretical. Only the destinations can be conjectured as correlating to Saga descriptions.)

Attention is again drawn to the narrow straits of Marthas Vinyard [   Vineyard haven, MA   ]. This strait is not wide (measure it with your Earth® ruler) and it does have a peculiarity of having quite rapid currents. If your screen is clear and you have good detail, you can readily see the effects of the currents here in the streaked appearance of the scoured bottom. But at sea level I can tell you from my own observation that these currents are so powerful as to balk any sailboat and many powerboats as well. I have seen such strong eddies as to actually lay down bell buoys designed to remain upright to almost submerge them. No sailboat without auxiliary power can pass this strait if the tidal current is against it. But modern shipping overcomes the current with power while sailing craft with a patient crew await a change of the tide. The alternating currents are the result of shallow conditions inside Nantucket Sound combined with deeper water offshore in that area identified as  Buzzards Bay  [   Round Hill, MA     ][   41°35’00.00”N, 70°44’00.00”W   ] [Elev. 100km].

There are just a few more notes to bring to your attention in the case that you are unfamiliar with ship handling or nautical navigation. The best and most exhilarating conditions for a sailboat are well offshore with a strong and steady wind from the direction one wants to proceed. A Viking longship might reach a speed of some 16 knots momentarily in ideal conditions, but a trading ship like Leif's more likely to average maybe 8 knots depending on wind conditions and other factors. A Viking longship offshore might make 200 miles in a day – a speed never again attained for centuries by other – heavier, deeper - designs until the advent of American “Yankee” (and some British) “Clipper Ships”. Some hazards of offshore navigation are, among others; broaching (the ship turns sideways between waves); fog;  high winds;  “drought” (long periods of little rain to be recovered for drinking); combers (“breaking” wave tops from astern – a particular hazard of double ended craft) becalming (long periods of slack wind); opaque conditions of day or night skies - and even if clear the hours between 10:00AM and 2:00PM (when the elevation and direction of the sun is indeterminate.)

A ship "coasting" has other problems including visibility. This requires a distance offshore depending on just what conditions prevail and how curious a commander might be. If a ship “pilot” knows the coast and is simply trying to reach port "B" from port "A" the skipper will stay offshore maybe so far as to just observe the shore and its headlands and sail as if in free sailing mode. This is for speed. But if a commander is in unfamiliar waters he will be alert to conditions of the "bottom" - observing from the masthead for rocks and shoals, but at the same time close enough to shore to be able to observe interesting parts of the shoreline. He will be concerned and observant for possible small harbors, rivers, estuaries of easy approach that he may have need when darkness overcomes. Before the sun goes down he must either enter some sheltered haven or sail offshore to avoid hazards and "surprises" which are much more likely inshore than out. Depending on conditions, this distance might be so close as a few hundred yards or maybe so far as two or three miles. The "pilot" will be observant especially to conditions of beaches observed, for while we look at them as pleasant bathing spots, the seaman knows that, since currents move sand into a "strand", those same currents can draw a ship without wind or power into the same locality for an eventual grounding. As a ship proceeds coastwise and a headland appears ahead, the pilot may - or more probably will - favor steering the ship well outboard of the headland or peninsula. Near shore, dangerous hazards are these same beaches (if wind dies), reefs (submerged or wave washed rocks) and shoals (shallows) and onshore winds. Viking ships could sail some two “points” (twenty-two degrees, more or less) into the wind and, of course, did enjoy a modicum of auxiliary power in their oars and numbers of oarsmen, but these ships would be difficult to row at speeds greater than perhaps five miles per hour - and only for short periods at that. The prudent skipper and masthead lookout will remain wide awake and nervously alert when sailing near land. “Coasting” is most always slow, unpredictable and problematical. The distance from [    Monomoy , MA    ] area to [   Narragansett Bay , RI     ] is some 90 miles by practical courses. In most favorable conditions it could be traversed in not much more than one day. But in less favorable conditions, exploring or in “close-in” mode, could well consume weeks.

In times of yore when distance (“blue-water”) sailing was yet young, seafarers favored landings on islands rather than main-lands, and this for two reasons. When landing on any strange mainland, one never knew just who and how many were awaiting - nor how great a possible hostile reaction from what might be an overwhelming population. Islands seldom have significant populations, nor the ability to marshal a defense force against a ship crew in martial order. The other reason is more nautical. An island is a favored landing because there are occasional periods when wind conditions on a mainland coast might preclude a departure for months, whereas an island can usually be departed at near anytime even if possibly in the wrong direction.

Lief's ship is known to have been a trading vessel, a bit blunter and deeper than the famed long-ships so well known. It might have been some 75 feet long - probably shorter - and required possibly some 4 feet of water under the keel to keep afloat if fully laden. It could be rowed but was primarily a sailboat. It may have had perhaps three to six oar-ports on each side which could accommodate - if six ports were used - twenty four oarsmen at a time, or if pressed - thirty. Rowing is often problematical at sea because of wave action. If a “rogue” wave catches an oar at the right time it can easily break oarsmen’s ribs, disturb the rhythm of other oarsmen’s stroke, and create all sorts of mayhem on the boat. These ships were nothing if not versatile. More diverse in demand than modern vessels, they were strangers to no waterway that they could enter; creeks, rivers, bays, windless fjords, coastal conditions and free running “blue water” service – at home and effective in all ways. Even its peculiar rudder, so strange to our eyes, was superior when forward motion was slowed by currents or slack wind. As manned by a crew engaged in trade the crew might number perhaps eight to twelve men and might include or add passengers. Leif's crew, mustered for exploration and in martial order (read the Sagas), numbered thirty five.


A short biographical note on my qualifications as to my "rights" to speak on these matters. I grew upon the shores of Narragansett Bay , near water-logged by dwelling alongside, in, on, and under that great salt water estuary for all my formative years. As with Vikings, this salt water life and its unique and invigorating environment entered my blood stream. Adventurous youthful ventures included a small rowing boat expedition – alone (well, with dog) - extending 26 miles and many hours handling small craft and an 18 foot sailing canoe. These experiences yielded immense insights to the act of rowing and maneuvering of a craft – the canoe - with characteristics quite similar to Viking long-ships. In my adult life I reconstructed a 38 foot Nova Scotia built fishing boat and lived aboard it for seven delightful years, surviving unharmed no fewer than five hurricanes afloat. There are doubtless many more experienced on the water – especially "blue water" sailing - but I do claim that I learned - absorbed - enough to be familiar with all conditions of salt water, its beat, its bays and bottoms.

For several years I "ran" the mid-reaches of the Connecticut River above Hartford in high and low water with a flat bottom power boat. Experience on rivers is not comparable to salt water, but does have many charms, unique and most enjoyable – often with brief hail and farewell of fishers and picnickers along the banks. "Running" rivers, knowing bottom and channel is critical.  FNB


Detailing these numerous landings and landfalls on this page has not been restricted to simple scholarship, nor even perusal of maps and charts. In almost all cases, especially those of importance, my research includes real life on-the-spot approaches by boat from the sea to each – duplicating as best I could perspectives of exploring seamen. Narragansett Bay I knew, but the many periods of investigations of these many enumerated sites required my own perspective as to feasibility, nautical approach and comparisons.

While we are at altitude we might address the significant and first plainly explicit course mentioned in Leif Ericksson' Saga. From an island they sailed "-- North to a fjord, across that sound that lay between the island and that cape that jutted from the land Northward". This geographical situation, an island near the outlet of a fjord, is rather rare because of tidal currents, but does occur here in relationship of Block Island and Narragansett Bay . It should be obvious as well that Narragansett Bay is a misnomer. It looks like and truly is a fjord, which is a deep penetration of the sea into mountainous terrain. Here the terrain has been somewhat eroded and, while Rhode Island is not noted for great heights, it is not really low and at no place flat. Especially this inner coastline Westward is noted for height, even mountainous through which rivers cleave to the sea. (See, if possible: topographic conditions of fjord-like [    Thames River , CT     ] which has high and steep banks along its entire length.) This relationship of Block Island and Narragansett Bay became the focus of my explorations. From a general overlook of the coast I then sought the more detailed river mouth that had been landed by Leif Ericksson some thousand years before me.

[   Point Judith , RI     ][Elev. 70km] So the course apparently describes a direction from Block Island towards Narragansett Bay . Leif must have approached Block Island from the East and then, seeing an island in the distance to his port-side (larboard, or left) offshore, made for it as an ideal landing spot. He could well have been diverted offshore by the presence of dangerous hazards called Brenton Reef [    Brenton Point State Park , RI     ][Elev.4km] or [    SakonNet Point , RI      ][Elev. 7km] both of which are headlands with extending reefs offshore. At this point he would have become aware of the possibility of a fjord existing to his right (starboard) side. (A wide waterway on a coast can be differentiated between a river, bay or fjord by observation of currents, those of a fjord being tidal - if in further doubt by the simple expedient of tasting. A river will have at least a less salty taste and might also have quantities of flotsam such as fallen trees.) But this particular huge estuary, as with many, has rather strong tidal currents ( Norway has such conditions off its coast and many fjords that a word “maelstrom” is applied to them.). Narragansett Bay ’s tidal range is listed as four feet and at Full Moon or "Spring" tides considerably more extreme. Huge quantities of water flow in and out twice daily and these currents contribute to the shape and placement of Block Island . A sailboat can “buck” this flow but modern navigators often time their sailings to account for as much as an hour's difference in arrival times at a mere 12 mile distance from the coast. I should mention here also that Block Island , despite its apparent proximity to the coast, is actually an “offshore” island, and from it only one single sight of land appears. This is the top of a hill that bears a few miles North of  [   Point Judith, RI   ], which is the small "spur" of land projecting South from the West side of the Bay. The result of this is that a navigator, especially a navigator unfamiliar with these waters, finds this sign of land the only possible attraction for a productive course. I am convinced that this hill, [   McSparran Hill , RI    ] was a benchmark for both Leif Ericksson in 1000AD and, even more certainly, by one Giovanni Verrazano in 1524.

We will analyze this coast in the same order that the Sagas describe it.

Vinlandia Promontorum, [      Nauset , MA     ][Elev. 80km.] I am not convinced was mentioned by Leif Ericksson himself but it does occur early in the Sagas and this would be a natural thing because it is difficult to miss as a peninsula, especially when approached from the North. If a ship should err towards the West, then it must navigate Eastward and about where it would soon be discovered that the two sides were not far from each other – most obviously a peninsula (“—ness” in Old Norse language). It may be that the North Pointing Cape mentioned in Leif’s final approach towards his fjord is Cape Cod/Vinlandia Promuntorum. It seems likely and fits into the rather confusing phraseology of the described final course.

These few local clues have been intriguing to many historians over the centuries and are far too few to locate a specific river and landing as described by Leif Ericksson. But we have many more contributions resulting from following Norse visitors (over 200) to Leifsbudir which fill in many gaps. The most interesting, yet mostly overlooked, is the following trip made by Leif's brother Thorvald. Many ignore this episode because Thorvald's Saga says nothing at all - or at least very little - about his travels toward Leifsbudir. His chronicle says only that his ship arrived at Leifsbudir without any remarkable problems. He then explored Westward in an "afterboat" and discovered an island with some sort of storage shelter for grain (“barn”, “corncrib”) but no men and no seeming residence of them. The island, therefore, must be large enough for limited cultivation and not so far offshore as to preclude periodic visits from where a native population resided. It cannot be at so far distant from Leifsbudir because of the limited size of an "afterboat". So, again, we are attracted to [   Fisher's Island, NY   ] which seems to be in the wrong state as its more proximate neighbors are Rhode Island and Connecticut . It lies at about the border of the two latter states which is defined by a not over-large river named Pawcatuk River [   Westerly , RI    ][Elev. 35km]. We gain in inference that almost certainly Narragansett Bay is a prime target for locating Leifsbudir.

Now the plot thickens, as they say in mystery stories. Whether Thorvald had been at Leifsbudir for one year or two years (my own opinion is two), he departed homeward toward the East (quite explicitly remarked in his Saga) and detailed so much that it now becomes possible to envision and define the coast of Vinland . As with a sailing skipper, who periodically scans rearward for insight at to how straight his course by observing his wake, we also have the opportunity to survey Thorvald's homeward trek for information.

The departure course from Leifsbudir was Eastward and this direction is specifically stated. We now can imagine that the coastline of Vinland lies East to West because of Thorvald's courses and that it faces south because of Leif's course to a fjord. A fjord must be upon a mainland or a substantial landmass, so the island to the south indicates that the landmass upon which the fjord existed must have been to the North and therefore opened towards the South.

Now we will be more active with our satellite view of Vinland . Thorvald has set out from Leifsbudir and comes upon a strand whereupon five natives are found asleep under three canoes and who are slain. Here we can "bootstrap" a bit and make reasonable assumptions on how and why the natives came to be asleep upon a strand in early Spring, which is the season that Thorvald was said to have departed toward home. The natives must have been a distance from their home because of the presence and descriptions of their food supply which coincides with what we know as pemmican - Indian storage or traveling food. It is true that perhaps they could have traveled along the coast, but canoes are fragile and not good sea-craft, so are subject to destruction in surf. It is more than likely that they traveled down from inland some river or stream or perhaps crossed some sort of estuary to reach an ocean-facing beach. Their unkempt appearance (“—outlaws”) supports the timing of this unfortunate encounter, for early Spring was a difficult time for Indians when their food storage was depleted and new growth not yet available (Indian: “hunger moon”). Almost certainly, they were following Indian custom of camping near an estuary in hopes of exploiting early Spring fishing runs. We also must consider the difficulties that Thorvald had to consider when he decided to land and investigate these three upturned canoes. It had to be an "easy" landing - that the beach was accessible and possibly that it had some place of shelter to avoid surf. (A Viking ship – indeed, any sizeable craft larger than a rowboat - would never be landed in active surf. If the surf were low and the sea calm, it might be imprudently attempted but a sheltered place is best to be found if possible.)  Fly towards [   Acoaxet , MA    ] [   41°30’28.23”N, 71°05’33.76”W    ] and [   41°30’44.40”N, 71°05’19.62”W   ] (Either/or - take your pick.) Use your own judgment on zooming in and out for best view. This place by sea is only a short distance from Narragansett Bay (same day as departure from [    Narragansett, RI    ]), yet fills all the requirements of a possible landing site for both seafaring Vikings and traveling Indians. I would consider, myself, that perhaps the ship was navigated into that breach in the strand and landed, after which the native canoes approached in one direction or the other. Here we have the option to imagine a very narrow perspective of where a Viking trading ship had landed in the long, long ago. (All courses described here-in we hope to aver are all speculative. The destinations, however, we claim as near certain.)

The Sagas tell us that Leif and Thorvald had disputed Leif's activities and that Thorvald had severely criticized Leif's neglect of exploring. Yet, the Sagas are also explicit that Leif had not only explored, his manner of dividing his crew specifically for exploration indicates that his interests were land-bound, discovering all he could about the environs of Leifsbudir. (Where early discovery of grapes were made in such quantities that "—they filled the afterboat with them.”) Recall that when Leif allowed Thorvald to borrow his ship, he stated that Thorvald would then be “-- able to explore Vinland to his heart's content”. These statements yield insights pretty clearly what Thorvald was about. Leifsbudir had been explored, therefore Thorvald's interest would be exploring seaward and along the coastline. It seems more than probable that his courses would now tend inshore where he could observe all, especially considering his oft reiterated statement of interest in locating and establishing a settlement of his own.

This concept would entice him to enter and navigate alongshore Buzzard’s Bay[   Buzzard’s Bay, MA   ], which also happens to be a sort of fjord, but not so obvious a one. This would bring him eventually to the Elizabeth Islands [    Woods Hole, MA   ] and [   Cuttyhunk Island , MA    ][Elev.50km], upon one of which he possibly landed and found numerous seabirds nesting. (A most natural observation. Sea bird's nesting preference is for isolated islands unvisited by predators. Almost always, these nesting places are pretty crowded and rowdy places. Nesting close together is not a rare occurrence by any means and yet another indication of a Spring time line.)

He would, in this area, encounter the strong currents so obvious in [   Marthas Vinyard Straits , MA   ] but these are accommodated by the simple act of waiting them out, since they are tidal and alternate direction. They would not present any sort of barrier to the explorer seaman. In entering this strait Thorvald would become aware that Martha's Vinyard was an island, something not so obvious from the other direction inside [   Nantucket Sound , MA    ] which both he and his brother Leif had traversed. The strait appears wide enough, but, in fact, it is most difficult to determine that there is a passage there from the opposite direction. So, from the Westward direction he must have coasted close to shore, passing now famed Kennedy Estate [    Hyannis, MA   ], with small islands (now disappeared) offshore and entered  waters – “coasting” all the way -  to the area of  Nauset (the “elbow” area of Cape Cod) [     Monomoy Island, MA    ][Elev.30km].

As noted above, [    Monomoy Island , MA    ], the long sand-spit Southward, apparently did not exist a thousand years ago. On a 1717 nautical chart the ends of a long “washed” sandbar were identified simply as "dry" which means they likely were exposed at low tide. Somewhere, just North of this now altered area (maybe at the “humerus” area of the elbow?)Thorvald had his accident either from storm or neglect and grounded the ship, which shattered the keel. Just where this happened is hard to discover or envision – very likely at some place now inland - but it is vitally important to us as it "marries" Thorvald's Saga to the following one of Karlsefni. Fortunately we do not need the precise locale, but it must have been near some sheltered inlet as they spent some two months in repair of the ship. Even more important is the reminder that the broken keel was set upright in the sand in the form of a cross and this cross must have been the very one observed by the subsequent arrival of Karlsefni's expedition a few years later. It boggles the imagination to opine that there could be two keels of ships upon this distant shore in that era. This one spot must have been observable by lookouts traveling from two directions.

After the repair and setting off again they rounded a cape and turned inland and this apparently was Cape Cod where, once around and, still exploring, “coasted” the same shores followed six centuries later in 1620 by the Plymouth Pilgrims to the harbor of [   Plymouth, MA   ]. Just for reference, fly to [    Barnstable Harbor , MA      ][Elev.20km] for an insight of a harbor not favorable to enter. This is no more likely to have been a haven for Thorvald than it was to the exploring Plymouth colonists centuries later. The peculiarities of these two estuaries should be obvious. Thorvald called Crossannes  ( Plymouth ) a fjord - or a double fjord - and it appears to be a fjord on approach along the coast from the South. It has quite high lands about the Southern and interior perimeter. The city of Plymouth itself is built on a moderately steep hill.

You will notice that Plymouth Harbor appears quite shallow and this is the reason it never became a major port. Charts state that it has exposed flats at low tide, but rather than expected mud, the bottom is white sand. Fourteen foot tides are the norm in this estuary. It aids us immeasurably here as we can trace more or less positively where a ship with a four foot draft would navigate. Thorvald's landing was described in a peculiar manner, common today but unusual in that era and culture. Viking Seamen, suffering unreliable cordage, distrusted anchors and normally beached their ships. Here, they chronicle that the ship was drawn alongside a steep bank on either an island or a headland and the crew went ashore by way of a gangplank. So, if we can trace a place where a channel nears a steep bank, we might assume we are looking at a place where the Viking Thorvald Ericksson had stepped ashore over a thousand years ago - and from the very same ship that had made the first of European landings in the New World . The actions of the party are well narrated, complete with a wild battle, but initially they say they climbed what seems to have been a sizeable and steep hill for an observation place at the top. On their descent they describe a meadow where they removed their armor, became lethargic and fall asleep. This meadow indicates that the hill was a large one. Can we find such a place? Indeed we can and it lies along the west side of the headland called Standish Shores [    Plymouth Harbor , MA    ] [   42°00'40.39"N, 70°40'43.94"W   ] a headland with a narrow isthmus extending Southward from the Northern side of the estuary. It is so intriguing to locate and stand upon an apparently valid site that I have visited the place numerous times and followed the path of ancient Norsemen to the top of the hill and down to the landing with ease – well, a bit breathless. It is even possible to locate the Indian village from where the war party had resided and responded to the Viking attack upon nine of their fellows which resulted in eight Indian deaths and one escapee who had then mustered the counterattack. In modern times this village had become a noted archeological site which, unfortunately, scholars had tried to keep secret. The result was that some years ago an owner of the property, unaware of its importance, bulldozed the entire site with the loss of knowledge to all, but its known locality compares with Saga descriptions as to distance and direction.

However, something in Thorvald's Saga yields such important information that it completes the puzzle and binds the combination of landfalls to a near certainty that Leifsbudir is discovered. While the party of armed men is at the top of the hill Standish Shores ,[    Plymouth Harbor, MA    ][   42°00'40.39N, 70°40'43.94W   ] they make observations, conclude and exactly record that it seems to them that the terrain to their West is the same terrain as they had seen at Leifsbudir. This is actually the case, although the distance is actually some 37 miles. It is not so apparent as to knock your hat off but in geographic reality it actually is true that the watershed on the West side of the city of [     Plymouth , MA    ] is not into the nearby harbor as it would seem, but to the West. Rain water falling on the West side of the city flows in the direction of and eventually enters Narragansett Bay . The Saga remark states "mountain range" but we must allow for what they felt were mountains. The discernment is vitally important when we trace what we know from prior movements of the ship. They have traveled Eastward for some distance, rounded a cape, and traveled another distance Westward to where they then stood. At sea, especially coasting, it is difficult to estimate distances, especially with a sailboat which is subject to all sorts of outside influences such as currents and wind variables.

But here they are relating two separate landfalls by both direction and distance and this fact has enormous implications for us to examine. It does not matter if they actually are in that relationship, they believe that they are, and this belief is proof positive that they could not have been out of sight of land the whole time, nor crossed any body of water that would interrupt the conclusion that certainly they stood upon the same landmass as where the settlement of Leifsbudir existed. Leif’s encampment, therefore, must have been West of Plymouth Harbor and not at such an unreasonable distance as to be improbable. This points us to the high ground near Pettaquamscutt which is about 450 feet high, called [    McSparran Hill , RI    ]. We call it a hill but it feels like a small mountain to anyone who has climbed it as I have several times. It also happens to be about the same height as [      Mount Hope , RI      ][Elev. 12km]  on the East side of the bay near [    Bristol , RI    ] which few dispute as a minor mountain itself. This episode "locks", at least in the literature, the coast of Southern New England correlating the coast of Vinland to a very close comparison. Where the keel was broken and set upright must then have been somewhere along the path of the ship from Leifsbudir to Crossannes. Crossannes is the entry point to Vinland – everything subsequently remarked must be to the South of it – “beyond” on the track from Greenland .

As we know, Thorvald did not survive the encounter with natives that occurred when the party returned to the ship. Somewhere upon the same headland he was buried with crosses at his head and his feet and for this reason, his surviving crew and the Saga spokesmen at Greenland referred to this estuary as "Crossannes" - headland (peninsula) of Crosses. This peninsula must refer to the prominent headland of Standish Shores , named for famed 1620 colonist Miles Standish. There is a towering and impressive monument there now in his honor, from which a visitor can view the entire horizon, exactly as Thorvald Ericksson had.)

We will come back to Plymouth later in a later “artifact” page, for this burial might have great significance to us. It was, as it was said, well marked by two crosses. And we might suppose that “PrincelingThorvald must have been buried in Viking manner with arms and possessions - a not unreasonable assumption. We also might suppose that this grave was of interest to natives who discovered it - perhaps by observing the burial ceremony from afar - and inviting exhumation by them. It happens that at some time in the past a colonial family named Howland, original 1620 Plymouth settlers, maintained their homestead across the water from the burial site (Rocky Nook, MA)[   41°59'21.47"N, 70°42'05.40"W   ] and at some time relatively recently, when the homestead was removed to the museum at Plymouth, an artifact was listed in the family possessions as, "A Viking ax, over 200 years old". It may still exist but its location is uncertain. I have seen photographs of it (William Godwin collection) and it does seem to have Viking runes upon it, but, of course, while its scientific provenance is nil, it still is quite intriguing. After Thorvald's burial, the surviving 29 members of the crew either departed directly for home in Greenland or, just as likely, returned to Leifsbudir for another year's stay there. This is unclear in the Sagas, but this episode surely ranks in history as a great drama of seafaring and, surprisingly, fairly well recorded.

Our next Saga is that of Thorfinn Karlseffni and spouse Gudrid. Many Vinland scholars in the past have been of the opinion that this large party of pioneers in three or more ships, whose intention to settle Leifsbudir in Vinland,  became balked by loss of direction and hostility of natives. Rather early in my investigations I became convinced that loss of direction did not occur and the idea was simply from some misconception of readings of the Sagas. As I investigated this further, I found that I could not really define a concept within the Sagas themselves of where and why Karlsefni is thought to have veered from his explicit intent to borrow Leif's houses in Vinland and gone somewhere else instead. I think the idea came from the clear statement that this expedition of three ships and as many as 168 persons departed Greenland towards the North. From this it is presumed by many that the small fleet then traversed the Greenland Sea to Labrador for a shorter sea passage. Yet, the direction of Vinland was well known to have been Southwest and the passage to Newfoundland a straightforward four day trip. It seems probable that what occurred is that, since Greenland had been discovered and settled less than thirty years prior, the population was sparse and that the voyage North was for the purpose recruiting the sizeable number of settlers from the vastnesses of Greenland . At any rate, I opined and published so early as 1983 this concept that Leif Ericksson's Leifsbudir and Karlsefni's Hop were, in fact, one and the same place, a concept apparently original to this program. It now seems accepted by at least some other Vinland researchers. The result of this pursuit was a re-combination of clues that discovered both Leifsbudir and Vinland . Certainly the reference to the common landfall of Keelness suggests the possibility.

Karlefni’s expedition departed Greenland and made way stop at an island they named Bear Island . Since this might have been remote from Vinland and because it was so early a remark, we might omit it from our list of Vinland landfalls. The pioneers proceeded upon the same track as the previous three expeditions and then commenced detailing these landfalls. The first was an observation that the shoreline consisted of so much white sand of such long extent, that they named the area "Wunderstrands" or "Furdirstrands" which means "marvelous" or "far-along" beaches and this must refer to Cape Cod, which, as we know, is made of current washed sands. [   Nauset , MA   ][Elev.150km]. The entire area of Cape Cod consists of white sands and we need not believe it the outer cape alone, for we can see this condition from aloft where Plymouth Harbor and Nantucket Sound all reflect sunlight to our space ship denoting the composition of beach and bottom. It is, in fact, a major geological condition duplicated at few other places on earth - Wunderstrands indeed. This is evident in the shoals of Nantucket Sound, the harbor bottom of Plymouth , and the entire outer shores of the outlying offshore islands, including Block Island . Narragansett Bay bottom, however, is black mud noted for good anchor “holding ground”.

And now a most remarkable thing occurs. They describe a landfall they name, or recall, as Keelness and in some versions of the Sagas it is said that a small boat was put ashore to investigate what they felt was a keel of a ship. We have already located this place as in the vicinity of [   Monomoy Island, MA   ] and it would be remarkable indeed if this object were anything other than that keel which had been broken in Thorvald's shipwreck only two or three years before. It seems, to my way of thinking, of Thorvald’s motivation that his purpose of erecting it in the form of a cross was precisely that it be seen by a following coasting vessel – therefore the very first of recorded navigational markers in America . It also implies an increasing interest among the Vikings of Greenland and Iceland that new and fruitful lands were available for settlement.

What this means is that this third expedition certainly has arrived at the general locality of Vinland - they are on the coast of Vinland itself and “beyond” Crossannes. These people were not strangers to those traveling before them. They had been in direct communication with Leif himself, as well as the crew and pilot of his ship that had now been upon the coast of Vinland three times. They had all heard much of prolific lands way down south near the latitude of their new religious center of Rome . It is almost certain that some of the sailors, perhaps the pilots and ships themselves, were the same as had traversed earlier. We know that at this time Leif Ericksson's ship had been here thrice and had left its original keel, hewn in Europe where the ship had been built, at Keelness, in America . They surely were aware of who had left this keel where it could be discovered by following seamen. They would have a general idea of just where they were and how to travel to their destination. We can assume that we have delineated the coast of Vinland from this point forward. In fact, we are now enabled to apply some of our knowledge of navigation and conditions. Karlsefni knew something that Leif had not, that a course Southward to the outer coast of Marthas Vineyard was not necessary and that in the looming distance along this West bearing coast was a strait for a shorter trip to Leifsbudir. (Speculative)

But apparently, when they did reach this strait [   Vineyard Haven, MA   ][Elev. 30km], they found that they were balked by the extremely strong currents and, possibly while awaiting a turn of the tide, made for the land (they knew or suspected to be an island) to their south. If they did not immediately know that this was an island, they soon found it by reason of sending speedy runners South who explored it for three days. This information pretty much establishes coincidental size of both Marthas Vineyard and “Straumney”. Karlsefni named this island "Straumney", which name translates to " Stream Island ", specifically because of strong currents around it. So "beyond" Keelness lies this island of three days explorations that was related to strong sea currents, a nearby fjord, and grew wild grapes and self sown wheat. Marthas Vinyard Island fits this description perfectly. Scan to [   Vinyard Haven, MA   ][Elev. 4km] where any person familiar with small craft can identify landings possible within an area of only fifty yards or so. In close up of the strait nearby, one can readily observe the scouring of the bottom which these strong currents produce. A further confirmation can be deduced here or at an alternative possible landing site at [   Oak Bluffs, MA   ][Elev. 6km], nearby. We know of the tale of Thorhall the Hunter who was lost for three days on Straumney and, when discovered, was lying - ill - supine and in agony upon a "cliff". Indeed, this provides with two clues, the second being the symptoms of a malady of New England called "Poison Ivy". This results from contact with a particular plant which always has been a component of the flora of Marthas Vinyard (--indeed, all of New England ). One would not normally expect to locate "cliffs" upon sandy Marthas Vineyard but it happens that the same 1717 nautical chart identifies many factors of the terrain near both Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs as "cliffs". They are not rocky cliffs as we might at first imagine, but high and steep sand bluffs as in Oak "Bluffs". So Captain Cyprian Southack, the cartographer of the 1717 chart has contributed – very much - to our study of Vinland . C.C. Rafn identifies Buzzards Bay [    Round Hill , MA    ][Elev. 60km] as “Straumfjord” of the Sagas. There is nothing at all unreasonable that in the period of time – perhaps a full year - when the party resided upon Straumney some traffic occurred between the island and the fjord for mainland explorations.  

These ten landfalls are the most important and what I prefer to limit for this discussion. But now that you have available this cosmonaut’s view, I do not hesitate to list others of lesser importance and where their locations are still mysterious. You might be able to locate them yourselves.

Bjarni Herjolfsson described his first sighting of Vinland as "—low, with (sand) dunes, and wooded", and so it is, if this were Cape Cod outer arm.

There exist vague remarks in the Sagas that the coastline between either Keelness or Straumney to Leifsbudir was configured with an aspect of a rocky and wooded coastline. As well, Thorvald described his exploration west toward Barn Island similarly with the added proviso that the forest approached closely to the shoreline. This happens to coincide with the reality and might add two items to our list even if not to precise sites.

Sweetwater Island ( Block Island ) was said in some versions of the Sagas to have had land to it’s south, sometimes even described as "mainland". Of course, this puts rather a crimp in the argument as there is no land whatsoever south of Block until you reach Haiti . It seems that any good argument has as its corollary some great problem, and this is one example which became a matter of considerable apprehension to me. All I can state here is that perhaps it is one of those statements in the Sagas that are in error or misperception, but that an argument can be made for a certain "awry" perspective, so common a fault in human experience. I can both argue and demonstrate an answer to this, if one should be insistent that a land must be found there. But in order to do this, I and my protagonist must be located at a certain place – that site at Pettquamscutt I claim as the site of Leifsbudir. It has to do with [   East Hampton , NY    ] which is really WSW of Block Island. It is so low-lying as to be invisible from there now, but a millennium ago was nearer to the island. I have taken the trouble of interviewing ship captains and pilots of fishing vessels based in nearby [   Jerusalem, RI   ][   Galilee, Washington, RI   ] [Elev. 90km] on this perspective – the perspective of those who navigate by such intimate and practical experience that contributes to instinct – pretty much the way Viking seafarers did. Nearly all answered my queries with the stated idea that Hampton , Long Island was S or SSW of Block Island. It isn’t, as so obvious on the charts, but the perspectives on the ground are something else. These seamen were not describing what they saw on a chart, but what they inferred from their experiences “on the ground”.


Seaman’s - and many other outdoorsmen's  - instincts are quite real in my opinion. I have seen boatmen travel to exact destinations in the blackest of nights and densest of fogs without any sightings whatsoever. I do not have that skill myself, but have had experiences of my own instincts that were so powerful as to overrule on one occasion a modern, up-to-date chart that near led me to shipwreck. My chart had guided me – at night - to a bearing on a single headland from an offshore island which should have led me true. But as I approached this headland, I was consumed by tenacious apprehensions that something was not quite right. I had to make a turn anyway, but this unease caused me to make the turn much sooner, at which I discovered in the nick of time that there was not one headland as the chart indicated, but two. Had I continued the course, my good ship "Bonnet" would have struck and ended her life just there. I cannot explain where this overwhelming impulse to an early turn originated. Perspectives and experiences at sea are often not what one might suppose. There are all sorts of visual "tricks", misperceptions and mirages to confuse a Pilot. Afloat, it pays well to be suspicious of just about everything, including ones own senses.   FNB


Without going into further detail, we can proceed with our search for Leifsbudir by assuming that Marthas Vinyard was the "Straumney" of the Vinland Sagas and that for a number of reasons Leifsbudir must lie further to the West.

Fly to [    Point Judith , RI    ] [ Elev. 55m] for an overview and an apparent correlation of Leif's remark of an “off” North bearing course toward a fjord. If the Island were Block Island and the fjord were Narragansett Bay (this should be apparent in this view), then somewhere inside Narragansett Bay or nearby must be Leifsbudir

We start with Block Island [    BLOCK ISLAND , RI     ][Elev. 17km]which compares with the island landed first by Leif Ericksson, which yields several important clues of its own besides its coincidental placement near a fjord. The only activity remarked is that the party "--put their hands down there in the grass and placed their fingers to their lips and thought that they had never tasted anything so sweet". This “sweet” reference is a subject of controversy among Vinland scholars and some opine that it might have been a substance called "honeydew", which is an edible and sweet tasting insect secretion. However, in my opinion, it is far more likely that it represents remark of a spring - an especially pure and wholesome spring. This is a matter of perpetual interest to seamen whose water supply afloat tends to the unpalatable over time. As well, smaller springs, especially if detectable from distance, tend to encourage the growth of grass in their vicinity and this becomes a factor in locating them afield. The grass tends to be higher and greener adjacent to the water supply. If this truly were a spring, then it indicates that the island was large enough to possess a subterranean water table and also tells us something of its geology. Some Sagas say that while the Vikings were on this island a severe NE storm occurred and that subsequent to this, which usually terminates in a period of beautiful clear skies, they set off in a near – but not direct - Northerly direction. As it happens, Block Island does have such springs and became noted for them as both pure in taste and therapeutic in effect.

A few remarks on a departure from Block Island are in order at this point. Leif’s anchorage should be apparent to watermen and confirmed by modern traffic into the two small harbors available there. As mentioned above, the only sight of land from Block Island happens to be the heights North of [   Pettaquamscutt Rock, RI   ] called [   McSparran Hill , RI    ][Elev. 22km]. This is a prime – actually absolute - invitation to any seaman near Block Island who is unfamiliar with the area. Aiming toward the only land in sight, a ship approaches Narraganset " Bay " , the emerging coastline gradually materializes spanning East to West (L/R) and of low aspect more or less without distinctive features. The ship bearing towards McSparran Hill is drawn towards what appears as a wide and open sea-lane now identified as Narragansett Bay 's "West Passage". The central and East Passages cannot be detected at any time as they merge, visually, into the general terrain.  They are, as with [   Marthas Vineyard, MA   ] Straits, invisible to approaching seamen until actual entry is made, but as they display no "invitation", they tempt no approach. So wide does this West Passage gradually loom that this same Southack 1717 chart describes the West side here as "seacoast" even though much of it is well within the confines of Narragansett Bay. It feels like, and truly is, a stretch of “coasting” navigation exposed to storms and is not heavily traveled by modern shipping which favors the Central Passage off Newport . Indeed, quite near our landing of interest at Narragansett/Pettaquamscutt lies the ruins of a cast iron lighthouse that stood some 73 feet high. In 1924 a storm wave - probably tsunami - swept directly over the top with some damage to the roof. In the famed hurricane of 1938 the entire lighthouse was swept away, together with an unfortunate keeper.

Key in on [   Narragansett, RI   ] [Elev. 8km] where a site, the discovery here proposed, lies in an obvious position as the very first plausible landing for a ship exploring and which fits in all respects those clues that have been left to us by Vikings who sailed with Leif Ericksson, Thorvald Ericksson, Thorfinn Karlsefni, and Freydis Ericksdottir.  The placement of “Narragansett” is of interest here, for in my previous writings I remarked that there “now”, and seemingly never had been a town or village named “Narragansett”. It may be that someone in Rhode Island investigated this and placed this identifier in Google Earth. The target you see here is just a place by the side of a road and, if anything had been there, it would likely have been possibly a toll booth. “Narragansett”, as named and known to the Indians, actually was an island of reverence to them. It may have been, and I so believe, that it was the nearby small island within Pettaquamscutt Lake now named Gooseberry Island, .6 mile or one km distant WSW [   41°26'49.72"N, 71°27'36.75"W   ]. My reasoning for this belief is that from subsequent events recorded in colonial times, it became evident that the Pettaquamscutt River Valley was the central locus of the Narragansett Indian political and cultural entity. [   Pettaquamscutt Rock, RI   ] (also known as “Round Rock” and “Treaty Rock”) became the central meeting place for the outlying divisions of the culture, where chieftains periodically gathered and where, indeed, the grant for foundation of the city of [   Providence , RI    ], 25 miles to the North, was negotiated with Founder Roger Williams. Pettaquamscutt Rock, then, bears striking comparisons, socially, culturally, and materially, with the “Althing” (Parliament) in Iceland . See: [    Thingvellir , Iceland    ] (Variable elevations but go close-up. Both places are what one might describe as “rugged” terrain. Vikings seem to have favored this sort of environment. Thingvellir can be researched on the web. The river flowing nearby bears some similarity to Pettaquamscutt River .)

Fly to:  [    41°26’02.50”N, 71°25’54.90”W    ], which is a position of perspective of this drawing and was duplicated by the Viking replica vessel "Gaia" in 1991. Gaia had traversed all the way from Norway , via Iceland and Greenland for the "Vinland Revisited, 1991" program with no difficulty. It had the advantage of modern navigational charts and devices but distance presented no obstacles to arrival. The whole voyage consumed but three month which included many way-stops. The position of our own ship of imagination, “Wave Cleaver”, in the image on index page is [     41°29’24.18”N, 71°25’07.46W    ]

Observe the unique river mouth whereon Leif must have grounded and where Thorfinn remarked that entry could not be made except at high tide. Both these clues indicate constrained conditions of a smaller river as well as a "safe" bottom (sand, mud). Leif's grounding was at a place of interest so enticing that the crew, "---tumbled over the side because they could not wait to explore."  One description of Karlsefni's Hop stated that the river "--- flowed down the land (from the North) into a lake and then into the sea." The Old Norse word "Hop" is defined as an estuary into which salt water flows at high tide. This is an accurate definition of the short river ( Narrow River or "The Narrows") from the lake into the sea.

The area holds and correlates with all the surviving clues left to us by those long ago explorers. Somewhere in this vicinity must lie that salient spot where the first recorded Europeans had settled in the New World - that place of mystery and intrigue that has been sought by so many over the centuries.

What has been developed here is a series of landfalls together with certain descriptions, some directly from the Sagas and others by reasoned analysis. If we list these from our first established landfall of Crossannes to our furthest landfall of “Barn Island”, we can see these as most probably - in some cases certainly - in a most significant sequential order from Greenland toward the furthest distant landfall remarked: Crossannes; Wunderstrands; North jutting cape; Keelness; Straumney; Straumfjord (Karlsefni’s); Bird’s nest Island; Animal excrement peninsula (omitted here as indeterminate); Strand of slaying of five; “Sweetwater” Island; Unnamed fjord (Leif’s); “Barn” Island.  This totals twelve landfalls of which very close comparisons can be made for Crossannes/Plymouth Harbor, Straumney/Marthas Vineyard, Sweetwater Island/Block Island, and Barn Island ”/Fisher’s Island . Viewed from a viewpoint of statistical analysis, this is a rather strong correlation, especially so when geographic detail enters the equation. Certainly strong enough to proceed with our next evaluation of the Narrow River/Pettaquamscutt River complex – Leifsbudir, our target site.

We are not finished with the landfalls of Vinland . Now that we have arrived at “ Sweetwater Island ” and try to duplicate Leif’s course in a Northward direction, what we seek is a particular and fairly well described river which flows from a not far distant lake and another river that flows from the North into that lake.

The Sagas tell us that Leif brought his “budir” ashore and set it up for his encampment, thus signifying his ownership and possession and, incidentally, the first recorded settlement in the New World by Europeans. A “budir,(“booth”-er), is a tent-like structure placed just behind (aft) of the ship’s mast for habitation of the owner, leader or commander.  Its quality and appearance signified the social status of the owner and, at the periodically held “Things” (parliaments) in Norse culture, as well as commonly set up at the Leader’s home settlement near his long-house. In all these places it would, with the roof’s elaborately finely crafted weave, artistic support poles, and crafted “high seat”, signify the leader’s presence, his social status and position in his local hierarchy. Our analysis will enable us to position Leif’s “budir” within a very small area, almost to his footprints. At this spot, for the first recorded time, it can now be proven, that Europeans and American Indians met, traded, fought, and intermarried. From this resultant people they evolved and left for our observation legacies of original pan-Atlantic meeting of Caucasian and Oriental races of man who then transmitted these legacies across what had been an impossible barrier.

All text attribute to: Frederick N. Brown, Yarnell Arizona . 2008

 "Rediscovering Vinland, Evidence of Ancient Viking Presence in America"  

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