Last week the government of Canada marked the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the Viking remains at the L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland. The national historic and World Heritage site was discovered by Helge and Anne Stine Instad, and their guide, local fisherman George Decker, in 1960.
Celebrations were held on July 21st at the community of L’anse aux Meadows. Descendants of Helge and Anne Stine Ingstad and George Decker then led an expedition across the barrens of L’Anse aux Meadows to the Norse archaeological site, retracing the steps of their families 50 years ago. The group was then joined by invited guests, community members and an enthusiastic group of visitors to officially commemorate the discovery on-site.
“I am pleased to be here today to celebrate 50 years of the discovery of L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site,” said Parks Canada’s Chief Executive Officer, Alan Latourelle, to those gathered for the occasion at the national historic site. “Together with the Ingstad and Decker families, I am proud to share the unique story of this UNESCO World Heritage Site with Canadians and visitors from around the world, and to celebrate the stories, cultures and peoples who have made this site a world-class destination.”
The day-long celebration also included a reunion of Parks Canada and Ingstad staff from the past 50 years, who reminisced about early days at the site, and culminated in a public beach fire.
On July 21, 1960, George Decker guided Ingstad to a grassy field, telling Ingstad he believed it had been an Indian burial ground. Ingstad quickly knew that the shape of the mounds found at the site were the remains of Viking buildings, and with his archeologist wife Anne Stine began to search the area. Archaeological research grew during the 1970s, and eventually the remains of eight buildings were located.
Anniversary celebrations for this discovery began in May, when Parks Canada’s Viking enactors from L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site travelled to the provincial capital of St.John’s, visiting schools, feasting at an anniversary luncheon, performing at the Folk Arts Society’s Folk Night and providing a day-long encampment program on the lawn of The Rooms provincial museum. The actual site itself has also seen new work completed, including a rehabilitated trail, refurbished sod hut and rejuvenated outdoor exhibits.
Source: Parks Canada