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L’Anse aux Meadows is the only known site of a Norse village in Canada, and in North America outside of Greenland. When it was a bustling town, the settlement had three timber and sod longhouses as well as five smaller buildings that were built by the Vikings, all built five centuries before Christopher Columbus set foot on this continent. While those structures are long gone, historical reconstructions were erected in their footprints based on the traces that the Norse left behind. The homes are made of an inner frame of wood covered with thick patches of sod, making these houses very sturdy, as opposed to plain wooden structures. The roofs are then also covered with sod that acts as a natural insulator.

In 1978, the site and its archaeological remains were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Inside the homes, exhibits showcase the Viking lifestyle and artifacts.

+ L’Anse aux Meadows

Images via Shutterstock, D. Gordon E. Robertson, Daniel Pouliot, Eric Titcombe, and Rosino