Ancient Maps – The Vinland Map is Genuine

The 15th century Vinland Map, the first known map to show part of America before explorer Christopher Columbus landed on the continent, is almost certainly genuine, a Danish expert said. Controversy has swirled around the map since it came to light in the 1950s, many scholars suspecting it was a hoax meant to prove that Vikings were the first Europeans to land in North America — a claim confirmed by a 1960 archaeological find.

The map shows both Greenland and a western Atlantic island “Vinilanda Insula”, the Vinland of the Icelandic sagas, now linked by scholars to Newfoundland where Norsemen under Leif Eriksson settled around AD 1000. American scholars have carbon dated the map to about 1440, about 50 years before Columbus “discovered” the New World in 1492. Scholars believe it was produced for a 1440 church council at Basel, Switzerland.

The Vinland Map is not a “Viking map” and does not alter the historical understanding of who first sailed to North America. But if it is genuine, it shows that the New World was known not only to Norsemen but also to other Europeans at least half a century before Columbus’s voyage. It was bought from a Swiss dealer by an American after the British Museum turned it down in 1957. It was subsequently bought for Yale University by a wealthy Yale alumnus, Paul Mellon, and published with fanfare in 1965. The lack of a provenance has caused much of the controversy. Where the map came from and how it came into the hands of the Swiss dealer after World War Two remain a mystery.

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COPENHAGEN (Reuters) — By John Acher (http://in.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idINIndia-41126620090717)

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