Vinland via Cyberspace.
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This is a website about Vikings, especially the Norse from Greenland and their exploring of Vinland.

The vikings had a high-developed knowledge about issues as astronomy and navigation, and some sort of knowledge of cartography (portolans), demonstrated through the instruments they used.

From Vebaeks finds in Eastern Settlement in Greenland 1948 - and with help from the computer - we can investigate some of their tools and make experiments and analyses ourselves. Click the images for more information of the bearing dial, the sunstone and the sunstick.


Click image for investigating the bearing-dial (suncompass).

theory: Find out here how the bearing-dial throws a shadow when used directly in the sun.


Click image for investigating the sunstone.

Map from Vinland drawn on sunstones here.



Click image for more analyses on the sunstick.




True copy of a Bearing-dial above - model of the original find from Greenland. Click here to investigate and zoom into the bearing-dial. or here for a 3d view.

See how the Viking geometry from the bearing-dial matches the construction of Trelleborg at 980 AD in Denmark here.

Sunstone (solarsteinn) found in Greenland. Similar, but more simple finds in L'Anse aux Meadows Settlement in Newfoundland.

Sunstick (gnomon) for determining latitudes.

These finds (items) will be extended in both numbers and analyses. Index for special questions (FAQ) on this website: Look for updates here.

From the Sagas we know that the Norse knew how to measure latitudes. We also know that the Norse knew the seasons of the year and some sort of declination so they were able to build a calendar and manage daymarks. Calendar stones were used for organizing the society and planning periodes of sailing.

The Norse used a bearing dial for measuring sunpositions (azimuth) and heights (altitude) around sunrise and sunset, noon and other daymarks (e.g. eykts) for exploring purposes. (Ref.: Leifs expression from Vinland where he talked about "eyktarstadr" (sunset) at "skamdagr" (winter solstice): Find a computersimulation here.

We know from Trelleborg (980 AD) compared with the Bearing-dial that the geometry used are based on the same methods.


last updated 1. May 2003, copyright 2003 Erik Torpegaard

If you want to join the work: projectdescription, translation, modelling and analyses or make any comments to the site - please mail me here:

Erik Torpegaard