Probable Routes of the Norsemen
Also titled: Map of Norsemen Routes and Found Relics Near Beardmore, Ontario.
C.W. Jefferys' notes about this picture from The Picture Gallery of Canadian History Volume 1
From the sagas we learn that about 1000 A.D. the Norsemen found their way to North America by way of Greenland. For three hundred and fifty years they visited it continuously. Their routes and the locality of the places they reached are uncertain, and the attempt to identify them has caused much discussion. The general opinion was that the territory visited by the Vikings was somewhere on the Atlantic coast between Labrador and New England.
Within the last few years, the discovery of some Viking weapons in Northern Ontario has led archaeologists to consider the probability that some of them reached Hudson Bay through Hudson Strait and thence journeyed inland to the south and west.
In May, 1930, a prospector, working near Beardmore, about seven miles from Lake Nipigon, Ontario, exploded a charge of dynamite which exposed a mass of rock about three feet and a half below the surface of the ground. Lying on the rock were some pieces of iron, which the prospector later showed to several people, some of whom thought that they might be Viking relics. Their existence was made known to Dr. C. T. Currelly, of the Royal Ontario Museum of Archaeology, who at once had them sent to the Museum. They were examined and identified by Dr. Currelly as genuine Viking weapons, dating from about 1000 A.D. They consisted of a sword, an axe head, and the grip of a shield. The story of their finding was carefully investigated, and the site was examined by Professor T. F. Mcllwraith, of the Museum staff, who also found some scraps of similar metal which probably were fragments of the boss of the shield. There seems little reason to doubt that these weapons were placed where they were found by Norsemen at the time of their voyages to North America.
It is probable that the Vikings discovered not only parts of the Atlantic coast, but also penetrated into the interior of the continent by way of Hudson Bay. Both routes are shown on the map.
See articles by Dr. C. T. Currelly, Professor W. S. Wallace, and 0. C. Elliott in The Canadian Historical Review, March, 1939, and Sept., 1941, and "Here was Vinland," by James W. Curran, Sault Ste. Marie Daily Star, 1939.
- Jefferys, Charles W. 1942 The Picture Gallery of Canadian History Volume 1, p.61