Bloody raids. Merciless pillaging. Loathsome invasions. The Vikings are infamous for their fearsome conquests—but they were also expert seafarers, skilled traders, and courageous explorers. They travelled far and wide, crisscrossing the known world from Scandinavia to Europe and into Asia, leaving a trail of evidence that suggests they were far from just vicious warriors. Through stunning CGI recreations and careful investigation of archeological evidence, "Vikings Unearthed" unravels the secrets of these intrepid adventurers. And now, new evidence is coming to light that these pioneering people may have ventured even farther than we had suspected. Renowned space archeologist Sarah Parcak takes up the case, and is on the trail of the Vikings. What she discovers just might rewrite history.
Public Broadcasting Service’s NOVA documentary, Vikings Unearthed, gives the viewer a glimpse into the lives of the fearsome Scandinavian warriors who terrorized the world from Ireland to the Caspian Sea for three hundred years. The Norse were ferocious raiders, but they were also traders and explorers. They were masters of early metal production, and their ships were built with techniques that were cutting edge at the time. They ventured further than any Europeans before them. Which begs the question: Did they reach America centuries before Columbus?
The two hour documentary discusses the politics, culture, and dispersion of the Vikings while also following renowned American archaeologist, Egyptologist, and remote sensing expert, Sarah Parcak, in her journey to discover archaeological evidence to support the theory of Viking settlements in North America. Parcak uses near infrared satellite data to pick up subtle variations in the vegetation on the soil’s surface to find long-buried remnants of lost cultures. In Vikings Unearthed, her focus is turned to the North American eastern coastline to detect possible remnants of Viking existence. In the 1960s, archaeologists discovered L’anse aux Meadows, the only confirmed Viking settlement on the west side of the Atlantic. Parcak and a team of experts hope to discover more evidence of a Norse presence predating Columbus’s discovery of the new world.
From a rich, isolated land, these intrepid and daring peoples ventured into the unknown. Several of their settlements in Scotland, England, and Ireland are explored, and their journey from the British Isles to Iceland and then to Greenland is charted. Old texts are examined, which detail Leif Erikson’s possible venture along Baffin Island, Labrador, Newfoundland, and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Parcak and her team have focused on these regions, studying the satellite imagery to find any archaeological evidence to support these sagas.
The PBS segment aired in April 2016 and is available for viewing online through PBS or on Netflix. An engaging, gripping documentary, Vikings Unearthed shows a stunning parallel in the human compulsion for exploration: Just as the Vikings used state of the art technology to venture across far-flung waters and lands, so too do modern scientists in their search for the remnants of those brave adventurers.
Highly recommended for viewers who are interested in archaeology, exploration, and the Vikings