USA: Viking Ship Discovered Near Mississippi River

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Memphis, TN | A group of volunteers cleaning up the shores of the Mississippi river near the biggest city in Tennessee, have stumbled upon the remains of an ancient boat encrusted in mud. A team of archeologists from the University of Memphis that was rapidly called to the site, confirmed that the ship is most certainly a Viking knarr, suggesting the Norse would have pushed their exploration of America a lot further than historians previously thought.

The heavily damaged ship was found near the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers, and lies on a private property. It has a length of about 16 meters, a beam of 4.5 meters, and a hull that is estimated capable of carrying up to 24 to 28 tons, a typical size for this type of ship. Knarrs were naval vessels that were built by the Norsemen from Scandinavia and Iceland for Atlantic voyages, but also used  for trade, commerce, exploration, and warfare during an era known as the Viking Age, that goes approximately from 793 to 1066 AD. They were clinker built, which means the overlapping of planks riveted together. It was capable of sailing 75 miles (121 km) in one day and held a crew of about 20 to 30 men.

One of the only artefacts on the site, this sword was probably abandoned after it broke, suggesting a violent battle.

One of the only artefacts on the site, this sword was probably abandoned after it broke, suggesting a violent battle.

This new discovery could be one of the oldest evidence of pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact, and it certainly brings to mind the famous colony of “Vinland” mentioned in the Icelandic Sagas. This mythical colony would have been established by Leif Ericson around the same period as the settlement at l’Anse aux Meadows, in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the most famous site of a Norse or Viking settlement in North America outside Greenland.

Butternuts found in the Newfoundland site had already suggested that the Norse had explored the continent because they do not grow naturally north of the Canadian province of New Brunswick, hundreds of kilometers away from any known Viking settlement.

The carbon dating of the new ship estimates that it dates from between 990  and 1050 AD, approximately the period associated with Vinland and the various Canadian sites (L’Anse aux Meadows, Tantfield Valley, Avayalik Islands). This could mean that the that the Viking had actually developed a far wider trade network in the Americas that what was traditionnally believed. Unfortunately, very few other artefacts have yet been found on the site, suggesting the crew must have most likely abandoned the ship and continued on foot.

Professor James Milbury, who leads the research team working on the site, believes the Norse could have been killed by natives.

Professor James Milbury, who leads the research team working on the site, believes the Norse could have been killed by Chickasaw natives.

More searches are to be expected in the area over the next few years, as scientists will now certainly try to look for any artefacts or historical traces that could lead them to understand what happened to the crew of the ship. Many myths from local native tribes will also be analyzed by historians from the team to see if they could hold useful information, as both Chickasaw and Choctaw mythologies include many stories of fights against “red-haired devils”.

 

14 Comments on "USA: Viking Ship Discovered Near Mississippi River"

  1. Susan Wilkinson | August 14, 2014 at 11:56 pm | Reply

    Well, the vikings must have been either fairly good Warriors or a bunch of charmers as the genome of Iceland shows Norse Viking Fathers but a clear line of Celtic Mothers!

    • Chris Green | August 15, 2014 at 7:50 am |

      After Iceland was discovered, it attracted a number of ‘mendicants’, religious Christians who like to go off and live by themselves in the wilderness or some similar isolated place.
      These were probably mostly Irish pilgrims.
      In the 9th C, Iceland started to attract settlers from Viking-founded communities in Southern Ireland. Among them, Queen Aud the Deep Minded and her shipload(s) of followers.

      These boatloads of settlers were Vikings and their Celtic slaves/ freedmen, as well as mixed blood offspring, and other kinfolk.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aud_the_Deep-Minded

  2. leif den lykkelige | August 15, 2014 at 12:07 am | Reply

    This is a danish ship, and we want it back! !!!

    • I agree 🙂

    • Amazingly, I agree as well..luckily it was found by people who recognized it for what it was and contacted the skilled archaeologists at the Univ of Memphis, I feel they will take care of it!

    • Paul Sweeney | August 16, 2014 at 12:40 pm |

      Come and get it, just that the storage fees are going to be outrageous.

    • There were no borders in Scandinavia.Danish,Swedeish or Norwegians,didn`t exsist.We were all Vikings and talkt the same languages.And if some from Iceland think they were the firstones there,Eirik Raude was a viking from the Norwegian part of viking area.His son ,Leiv Erikson,is only one of the discovers.Amen

    • Kjell, Leiv Erikson whas the first one to set foot on Iceland not his father so please aknowledge the fact that his father whas not the first northman to set foot on Iceland

    • Roskilde Væring | August 16, 2014 at 6:12 pm |

      Actually it IS a Danish ship, it was found and excavatet in 1996 in Roskilde fjord, Denmark. Its called “Roskilde 6 ” Google it!

    • sigge saltensø | January 2, 2015 at 3:29 pm |

      jes mr leif : that ship was found in roskilde, DK but it was built in Norway,
      and – and You’re wearin’ “borrowed feathers” ’cause leif the lucky, was of norwegian/icelandian origin.

  3. ThePundit'sApprentice | August 15, 2014 at 2:49 am | Reply

    Susan Wilkinson is only one of the myriad offspring of bonny Celtic women raped by brawny Norsemen, to the great benefit of modern Western society.

  4. ThePundit'sApprentice | August 15, 2014 at 2:51 am | Reply

    Susan Wilkinson is only one of the myriad offspring of bonny Celtic women raped by brawny Norsemen, to the great benefit of modern society.

  5. So, What actually happened to the Vikings that were on this ship?

    Did they hear Banjo music coming from the banks of the river that led to their demise?

    • Billy Hounddog | August 17, 2014 at 5:32 pm |

      Banjo music ? Who said that ? On the Wolf River/Mississippi River ? Surely that was a Blues Guitar at the crossrivers.

      As for what happened to them – Wolfe River Bottoms – my money is on the water moccasins.

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