USA: Viking Artefacts Discovered Near Great Lakes


Michigan| A group of amateur archaeologists searching for the remains of a native american settlements near the town of Cheboygan, on the coast of Lake Huron, have uncovered a large quantity of artefacts, allegedly of Norse or Viking origin. A total of 194 objects, mostly made from various metals including silver, iron, copper and tin, were found on what could be the site of an ancient viking trade post, controlling the Straights of Mackinac, that leads to Lake Michigan.

The artefacts are of various nature and geographical origin. Swords, axes and other weapons from Scandinavian or Germanic origin, silver buttons and a balance scale allegedly from the British isles, hair combs and knife handles made of walrus ivory and originating from Greenland or Iceland… The presence of all these goods suggests an elaborate and efficient economic system based on long-distance trade.

Archaeologists had been searching the eastern coast of North America for signs of the passage of Norsemen, ever since the discovery in 1960 of the site of l’Anse aux Meadows, in Newfoundland, Canada. Many items found on that first site had suggested that an elaborate network of trade existed between that specific Norse colony and the American continent. Such clues included the remains of butternuts, which didn’t grow on any land north of the province of New Brunswick, and therefore had to be “imported”. Other possible Norse outposts were identified in 2012, in Nanook, in the Tanfield Valley on Baffin Island, as well as in Nunguvik, on the Willows Island and the Avayalik Islands.

This is however the first Viking settlement discovered in the area of the North American Great Lakes, and this could bring a lot of new information concerning the actual extent of their trade network on the continent. The site is strategically located to enable control of the waterways leading to both Lake Michigan and Lake Erie, while enabling a navigable access to the St-Lawrence Bassin and the Atlantic Ocean. All of the items already already recovered have been transfered for further analysis to the Department of Archaeology of the University of Michigan, which has also inherited the responsability for the site. Further research should be done over the next months to complete the survey of the site and gather all possible remaining artefacts.

10 Comments on "USA: Viking Artefacts Discovered Near Great Lakes"

  1. great, now the History Channel can do a new season of “Vikings” coming in North America!

    • raul koefoed | May 29, 2014 at 1:39 am |

      I’ve seen a very good movie about that some years ago, cant remember the name

  2. Eric Michael | May 28, 2014 at 3:05 pm | Reply

    Where is Scott Wolter from History Channel when you need him. I expect this could be an episode of America Unearthed soon.

  3. Roland Scales | May 28, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Reply

    Who were the amateur archaeologists and where’s the proof? I can’t find any independent corroboration of this article, and as it happens the photo is the property of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and is used on their website to corroborate the findings of a dig near Trondheim.

    I’m sure the scholarly community would love to see definitive evidence of a Norse presence in the Great Lakes area, and if it was present they certainly wouldn’t try to hush it up! Just think of the major breakthrough achieved with the uncovering of an Anglo-Saxon ship burial at Sutton Hoo, England, in 1938. Scholars and the public alike were delighted at the finds, even though it was excavated by an amateur. It was carried out correctly, and that didn’t detract from its value.

    • Thank you! Finally one voice on this whole thread that is creditable and making sense! If I were to put stock in any one contributor to this article and it’s feedback, this one would be the one I would select. Honestly we have several launguage scholars arguing over words that come from both the Old Norse and Modern Icelandic, which granted are similar, but have had a lot of common usage and history to seperate them.
      We have also had the oft used and still Historically constipated arguement of the tense of the word viking, (it is, has been and can be both, though narrow-minded history snobs love to quote the verb tense to make themselves seem superior)
      Yet We really have not had more than paranoid conspiracy theorists look at the fact that if this find were legit, it would be very significant and thus a positive link to history. I don’t think that evidence like this if it were substantiated could be supressed, and to what purpose? We already credit Leif the find, what more could deepening our understanding of the extent of the Norse presence in North America do to undermine all these dangerous close-minded Primocolumbianites!(such bad people…ignorance is bliss, is it not?)

  4. No surprise about the find. Where it ends up, and how widely it gets scattered is another matter.
    “A viking we will go” In my understanding, viking means raider or raiding. Science is continually making assumptions and revising assumptions. We may well find that an Atlantis really did exist. Certainly, human history is being revised on a continuous basis. Native Americans … arrived something like 20,000 years ago. I reckon that trading has been taking place between Europe and continental N. America, South Africa and The Far East for over 1000 years. Many routes were jealously guarded though, and records would have been kept hidden and eventually lost.

  5. Ted Bruning | May 28, 2014 at 9:25 am | Reply

    All fascinating stuff, but historically a complete dead end. There’s no denying that those crazy Scandinavians were like ants at a picnic – they got pretty much everywhere! – and given the geography of the North Atlantic littorals it would be weird if none of them had made it to North America. But by the time Western Europeans started settling Canada in earnest there was no trace of them, which reduces all this archaeology to the status of an interesting but not especially enlightening sideshow. Maybe more stuff will show up; but what of it?

    • Andy Betts | May 28, 2014 at 3:41 pm |

      Viking artifacts- a ring of chain mail and a carved talisman- were found about halfway up the coast Ellesmere Island at a place called Alexandra Fiord in Buchanan Bay. That’s much farther north than any documentary shows.

    • You have to understand that archaeology is an 18th century thing. So you’re point about there being no trace of them is rather invalid. There were traces, but they were never sought after.

    • your* long day at work…:P

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