“Thank goodness! Simply put, we need your help.A team of historians has been trying to solve some historical “cold cases” — old crimes in which the guilty ones walked, and even more insidious crimes where a whole village may have been complicit. There are other mysteries too, about unusual cases from the Viking age to the Klondike Gold Rush.The trouble is — it is not as easy as it looks. The evidence has not all survived and what clues remain often lead the historian-detectives down different paths. A fresh pair of eyes could really help.
Please check your preconceptions about “History” at the door. “Doing History” is not memorizing dates, politicians and wars. That is all just context. “Doing History” is the work of the detective, the gumshoe, the private eye — and we need you to take on this job. All we are left with are traces, artifacts, clues, hints and allegations. Putting those together, weighing the evidence, assessing the credibility of witness accounts, sorting out contradictions, and showing how your solution to the mysteries is the best of all the alternatives — that is “Doing History”.”
-the introduction, ‘Great Canadian Mysteries’
John Lutz and Ruth Sandwell have for some time been putting together fantastic packages of original materials, archival materials, video re-creations, and audio files that collectively explore some of the Great Canadian Mysteries of history (bet you didn’t think there were any?) Their latest, ‘Where is Vinland?‘, throws archaeological materials into the mix. At Anse-aux-Meadows, there is an undisputed Viking settlement – but Newfoundland is hardly a land of wine.
“This website will take you along Leif’s route to North America and Vinland. Where was this land? Many claim to have found it from northern Labrador all the way down to Virginia. Which is the real Vinland? Leif left only a few tantalizing clues as do medieval Icelandic manuscripts. Solving the mystery of Vinland requires putting these together with archaeological discoveries, a knowledge of what the Vikings were capable of, what their motivations might have been and an understanding of the people and environment of the land they encounterd. To understand the context of the Vinland voyages, this web site offers a tour through the Viking world, with brief stops in Europe, Iceland, and Greenland. To allow you to get a better grasp of Viking life, we have recreated the L’Anse Aux Meadows settlement and some of the Viking artifacts in a 3-D format. To understand their encounter with America you will also meet the people already in North America when the Norse arrived: the Aboriginal groups of the eastern seaboard.
There are many mysteries to solve here, and “Where was Vinland?” is just the start…”