The research suggests the Norse lived at L’Anse aux Meadows for three to 13 years before they abandoned the village and returned to Greenland.
The scientific key to the exact date that the Norse were there is a spike in a naturally radioactive form of carbon detected in ancient pieces of wood from the site: some cast-off sticks, part of a tree trunk and what looks to be a piece of a plank.
The researchers can’t tell if the date of 1021 was near the beginning or the end of the Norse occupation, but they expect further research on other wood from the site will expand the range of dates, Kuitems said
The Norse voyages to Newfoundland are mentioned in two Icelandic sagas, which indicate L’Anse aux Meadows was a temporary home for explorers who arrived in up to six expeditions.
Since Newfoundland itself was then too cold for grapes, the name suggests the Norse also explored warmer regions further south, and pieces of exotic wood found at the site also indicate that, Kuitems said
The use of an ancient cosmic ray event to exactly date pieces of wood is a relatively new development, and similar techniques are being used to establish firm dates at other sites, said Sturt Manning, a professor of archaeology at Cornell University, who was not involved in the new study