L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site is celebrating Canada Historic Places Day with our Annual Full Iron Smelt!
L’Anse aux Meadows is the first known European settlement in North America. The archaeological remains of the Norse encampment were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. Among the remains is the earliest evidence of iron smelting on the continent. Based on expert estimate, approximately 2.5 kg of iron was produced 1000 years ago.
Last year, to celebrate 40 years of UNESCO designation as a World Heritage Site, L’Anse aux Meadows’ blacksmith Ragnar and his crew yielded twice this amount. Ragnar Red Beard and his crew will spend close to 12 hours pumping bellows and smelting iron to produce another iron bloom to be used for nails and boat building hardware as was the use to the Norse 1000 years ago.
Refreshments and games will accompany the smelting crew on this historic day of celebrations!
Over 1,000 years ago, Norse explorers from Greenland came ashore at what is now L’Anse aux Meadows. When they built structures of sod and timber at this site on Newfoundland’s Great Northern Peninsula, they became the first known European settlers in the Americas. The Vinland Sagas told of Vikings in the area, but it wasn’t until a bronze cloak pin was discovered at L’Anse aux Meadows in the 1960s that archeologists had proof to support those ancient tales. Today, you can explore a reconstructed camp, see original artifacts, hike scenic trails and learn about the Vikings. (And, no, they didn’t wear horned helmets!)