Vinland Vikings and — Tree Rings?

It is well known that the Vikings, including Leif "Lucky" Erikson, included North America in their travels around 1000 A.D. My Scandinavian ancestors were a rowdy, restless bunch. Vikings took a notion to explore and set up camps in Iceland and Greenland.

They went on to North America and named the place they homesteaded Vinland. Records from Labrador were retrieved, but there was plenty of disagreement among scholars about the timing of Viking journeys. Surprisingly, tree rings helped nail down the date.

The Vikings came to North America over a thousand years ago, but the dates were disputed. Several sources, including tree rings, nailed down the timing.
Viking ship Lofotr, Flickr / Runar Storeide, posted by Geir Are Johansen (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Although they never found Spam, the salmon fishing and grape growing were better on the east coast of North America. A couple of ancient Icelandic texts are referred to as the Vinland Sagas, but they were not firsthand accounts of the explorations and commutes. Strangely, dendrochronology and radiocarbon dating were used in conjunction with other forensic (historical) and empirical sciences.

When used to "prove" the earth is old and discredit biblical history, counting tree rings is horribly flawed. Both dendrochronology and radiocarbon dating utilize several assumptions, but they can still be useful when reasonable assumptions are used and bad assumptions are chopped off with a battle axe. Carbon-14 dating is helpful if in conjunction with other data and items are not too old. Historical records and archaeology (including a Viking penny discovered in Maine in 1957), and even a known date of a solar storm are factors. When things are properly coordinated, information can be reasonably ascertained even though there are no living witnesses.
After Leif Eiriksson’s original voyage to North American shores, the Greenland Vikings remained in “Vinland the Good” for a time—but for how long? A couple of decades, at least, according to new evidence reported in Nature.

. . . 

Now, it looks like Greenlanders migrated seasonally—if not settling for entire years—for at least 21 years after Leif’s historic voyage of discovery in A.D. 1000. Evidence for this comes from recent dendrochronology data that links to solar storm indicators.

To read the entire article, set sail for "Tree Rings Corroborate Vinland Viking Sagas."