Registration opens March 20 for lifelong learning courses

Vikings to Vinland history series to be offered April 4-May 2
March 18, 2023

Cape Region residents will have an opportunity this spring to learn about the long-ago expeditions of the Greenland Vikings as they tried to gain a foothold in North America.

Local resident Dr. Royce Haynes has spent the last five years of his retirement using the Vinland sagas to retrace the steps of these early Viking explorers some 1,000 years ago. Their efforts eventually failed, but these stories describe the eventful voyages of Erik the Red's children and his son-in-law at the beginning of the second millennium (1000 to 1026 AD). The sagas present a fascinating picture of their travels, finding riches in this new land, but ambivalent encounters with the native people.

Leif Eriksson's original ship, sailed by his brother Thorvald, was shipwrecked in Newfoundland, Canada, in about 1008 AD, as told in the Greenlanders Saga, one of the Norse Vinland sagas. Haynes, a retired scientist/historian, recently released two technical papers describing the search and investigation processes related to this Keelness site (Keel Point).

After locating the site on a satellite image, a drone with advanced remote-imaging technology was used to perform a virtual excavation when COVID-19 restrictions prevented on-site work. After confirming an unusual satellite image, advanced data processing revealed distinctive, identifiable ship-repair features. Most significant were images showing damaged remnants of the ship's hull planks, perhaps set aside for use as templates or patterns for replacements. Surviving fragments of Eriksson's original ship may still be preserved in a bog of sphagnum moss on the coast of Newfoundland, even after more than 1,000 years!

When excavation by professionals again becomes possible, these results could point to exactly where to dig and what may be found, more than 50 years after the only authenticated North American Viking site was discovered at L'Anse aux Meadows.

”If excavations confirm this Keelness site, as expected, this will become the first North American Viking landing site specifically named in the Norse Vinland sagas,” said Haynes, who will be instructing a course on the topic this spring at the University of Delaware’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Lewes. "The fact that it was found using imagination and basic logic, and then validated exclusively by non-contact, non-invasive, non-destructive imaging adds significance to locating this as the repair site of Leif Eriksson's original ship some 1,000 years ago.”

Late registration for the spring OLLI courses begins Monday, March 20. For more information, go to

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