Vinland: Viking discovery map of America a fake

British scientists have declared that a map of Vinland, supposedly the Viking name for America, previously held to be proof that the Vikings had discovered the continent, is a fake. The decision is hotly contested by Yale and Arizona Universities.

The British scientists examined the document, which had been taken to be a fifteenth-century map, produced by Viking sailors who had discovered Vinland (America). Yale University presented its find in 1965, claiming that it was a remarkable historical document, proof that Vikings had sailed across the Atlantic 60 years before Columbus.

However, they claim to have discovered that the map is written in a type of ink which was only invented in 1923. This claim is disputed by Arizona University scientists, who claim in the publication Radiocarbon, that they can successfully date the document to 1434.

Given that the Vikings reached Greenland, it is conceivable that they could have gone further to the North American continent. Yet, as with the Portuguese discoverers, no evidence has been found. The Portuguese signed the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1496, giving Brazil to the Portuguese crown, four years before its “discovery” by Pedro Alvares Cabral in 1500, which would indicate that they had already mapped out the territory.

Certain Viking chiefs were possessive about their discoveries, because they did not want rival chiefs to come and take away the lands they had discovered, therefore it is likely that upon the discovery of new land, the temptation to keep quiet would have been greater than that to brandish maps, illuminating the newly-found treasure for all to see.


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