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”.

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

  1. vinland=Finland?

  2. Ever heard of the Melungeon people of Tennessee? This may be where they came from. The Viking survivors go East and are stopped by the appalachian Mts and settle down there.

  3. this is not about religion,but who discovered America, even though it was always there, so it could’t be discovered but over taken. I am a pict, from Fife in Scotland, and could’t care less who found it, I’m pure Scots not “third removed twice from my father side Irish mother rubbish” most of you have married so far down the line you have lost all you’r heritage lineage. THE NATIVE AMERICAN’S FOUND AMERICA AND NO ONE ELSE

  4. Robin Of The West | May 6, 2015 at 3:52 pm | Reply

    Unless you arrived in North America prior to ~34,000 BC – when “Sandia Man”‘s clan presumably crossed the Bearing Strait – you are a late-comer.

  5. I find this very interesting. Has there been any news since last August?

    By the way, one band of Vikings were called the “Rus.” They did an amazing thing. They hauled their boats up over low mountains, and then invaded parts of eastern Europe coming from upstream on rivers such as the Volga. Who would ever think Vikings would invade from upstream? Guess what the kingdom the Rus set up was called? (If you guessed “Russia”, go to the head of the class.)

    Considering the Vikings could make it to the Caspian Sea, which is landlocked and which cannot be reached by any Atlantic sea-route, the idea of them reaching the Mississippi, which is connected to Atlantic sea-routes, does not surprise me.

    The problem is finding any physical evidence. Then the next problem is proving the evidence isn’t part of some fraud. Archaeologists are very careful, when it comes to jumping to conclusions. When a Viking “penny” was found in a heap of clam shells in Maine, the archaeologists seemed more willing to suggest Native Americans in Maine traveled to Greenland to trade, than that Vikings ventured south to trade. However the Vikings were great traders.

    It will be interesting to see how this discovery survives the test of ruthless peer review.

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