USA: Viking Ship Discovered Near Mississippi River

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 artifacts 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, Tanfield 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 traditionally believed.

Unfortunately, very few other artifacts 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 artifacts 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”.

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

  1. So it was the Vikings who first discovered THE INHABITANTS of that continent.*

    • Also the first Europeans to attack those inhabitants.

    • Lester what tells you that it happens this way and not the other way around ? Maybe the Vikings just settled on the coast and were attacked first by the “kind’ inhabitants.

    • The inhabitants being the 90 million people who already lived here. Let’s make a national holiday praising the discoverers! If they hadn’t discovered the Americans they would have remained lost forever.

    • well said Vulcan, all this talk about discovering? it wasn’t lost, it was an inhabited land.

  2. …you’re all equally Puerta Rican to me!!

  3. to the Swedish, please first claim back Kiev, is the problem overthere solved.

    • george h. armstrong | August 16, 2014 at 6:43 am |

      Okay, let the Swedes take care of Kiev and the wild Moskaly who are stirring things up. Then let the rest of the people finally acknowledge that North America belongs to ICELAND. When Bjarni Herjolfsson discovered the New Land in 985, he was sailing from Iceland (an INDEPENDENT country) to Greenland (also INDEPENDENT). Leifur Eiriksson came here in 1000, certainly, but he took counsel with Bjarni and bought Bjarni’s SHIP for the voyage, in part because the Ship already knew the way.

    • Tor Ivar Nilsen | August 18, 2014 at 4:28 pm |

      Aye, aye, good idea !
      That would be a suitable punishement for founding the russian empire …


    • Tor Ivar Nilsen | August 18, 2014 at 4:32 pm |

      … and btw, no problem for Norway if Iceland claimed part of us, as they’re currently more or requesting to become a “fylke” of Norway …

    • Tor Ivar Nilsen | August 18, 2014 at 4:33 pm |

      Pardon my misspelling, it should be “part of US” …

  4. I’m thinking in terms of Cahokia and trading the Karankawa said they did with the North for copper (to the Spanish in the 1400s). The Mississippi was a trade route. I’d take it a step further and say it was evidence of trade with the giant race at the mounds in the Illinois area where shells from the Gulf were found. I write about this a lot on my blog Ghost Hunting Theories. Lots of evidence of pre-cultures that we learned our skills from around the world.

  5. I think they will eventually prove definitively that the Vikings explored up the Arkansas River as far as Oklahoma too. Keep looking.

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