Distributor:  Bullfrog Films
Length:  56 minutes
Date:  1996
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
Grade level: 9-12, College, Adult
Color/BW:  Color
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Norse America

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Evidence that the Icelandic sagas were fact not fiction.

Norse America

Long before Columbus, northern Europe had a tradition of mythic lands to the West. According to the medieval Icelandic sagas, Erik the Red founded a colony in 986 AD in what we now know as Greenland. His son Leif Eriksson later sailed south and discovered a fertile, temperate land he called Vinland.

This film explores the correlation between the latest archaeological discoveries in the Far North and the descriptions of Viking explorations and settlements detailed in the Icelandic sagas.

What emerges is a fascinating story of Norse settlements in Newfoundland and elsewhere along the North Atlantic coast of trading and occasional battles with Eskimo peoples migrating east in this period of global warming. Most amazing of all, it now seems likely that there were contacts between northern Europeans, native Americans, and Asians which were probably not the result of incidental voyages but of a pattern of exploration and trading that extended over the circumpolar region for thousands of years before Columbus' celebrated voyage.

'A brilliantly produced, informative, entertaining presentation. Highly recommended for school and community video libraries.' Midwest Review of Books

'Persuasively argues that the long tradition of lands to the west was not based upon legend but upon actual travel...Such contact belies the notion that the new and old worlds have gone through centuries of isolation with sporadic contact beginning after the voyages of Columbus...well made.' Rebecca S. Graves, University of Missouri-Columbia, MC Journal

'NORSE AMERICA provides a rare, balanced view of the Norse Vinland voyages, incorporating the most recent archaeological and historical evidence, and placing these early transatlantic settlements in a comprehensible cultural and environmental context.' Thomas H. McGovern, North Atlantic Biocultural Organization, Hunter College, CUNY


CINE Golden Eagle
Bronze Plaque, Columbus International Film and Video Festival
ICRONOS, Bordeaux International Archaeology Film Festival


Main credits

Timreck, T. W (screenwriter)
Timreck, T. W (film producer)
Timreck, T. W (photographer)
Goetzmann, William H. (screenwriter)
Goetzmann, William H. (film producer)
Goetzmann, William H. (photographer)
Lyman, Will (narrator)

Other credits

Edited by Philippe Desloovere; music by the Flying Fish Dancers.

Distributor credits

T.W. Timreck and W.N. Goetzmann

T.W. Timreck and W.N. Goetzmann

in association with Arctic Studies Center at the Smithsonian Institution

Docuseek2 subjects

Ancient History
Historical Anthropology
Indigenous Studies

Distributor subjects

American Studies
Arctic Studies
Indigenous Peoples
World Cultures


Leif Eriksson, Icelandic Icelandic sagas,; Greenland, Vinland, Viking explorations,; archaeology, Columbus, discovery of America, circumpolar navigation; "Norse America"; Bullfrog Films

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