WNPR

The Vikings Invade Connecticut!

Jul 6, 2018

It’s usually historians and scholars who get excited when a university acquires an ancient document. But in the 1960s, a map acquired by Yale University caused such a stir it divided the country.

This hour, the story behind the Vinland Map, now the focus of a new exhibit at Mystic Seaport Museum. At one time, this supposed rare parchment was seen as further evidence the Vikings came to the Americas before Christopher Columbus.

Why did it lead to protests by Connecticut residents on the streets of New Haven? We find out.

We also talk with a Swedish scholar about the real Vikings, beyond what pop culture has told us. For the first time, Viking artifacts from the Uppsala University Museum in Sweden are part of an international exhibit now on display at Mystic Seaport.

Have you traced your ancestry to the Vikings? Why do these ancient people still captivate our imaginations today? 

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

GUESTS:

  • Nicholas Bell - Senior Vice President for Curatorial Affairs at Mystic Seaport Museum
  • Marika Hedin - Director of the Gustavianum, the Uppsala University Museum in Uppsala, Sweden (@marikahedin)

READING LIST:

NOVA: Investigate the Vinland Map – “Is the Vinland Map, which depicts Viking forays to North America, a priceless document made before Columbia's voyage to the New World, or is it a brilliant 20th-century forgery? Take a close look at the map and its suspicious details with this high-resolution and annotated image, and decide for yourself.”

Smithsonian Magazine: This High-Ranking Viking Warrior Was a Woman - "More than a thousand years ago, a Viking woman was laid to rest with the full honors of a mighty warrior, including weapons, armor and two horses. But when researchers discovered her remains in 1880s, the weaponry led them to assume this mighty she was a he. Now, over 130 years later, DNA tests have shown that this high-ranking Viking warrior was actually a woman."

Learn more about Mystic Seaport's exhibits "The Vikings Begin" and "Science, Myth, and Mystery: The Vinland Map Saga".

Catie Talarski and Lydia Brown contributed to this show.