Nfld. & Labrador

Viking discovery could put southwest Newfoundland on the map

The potential discovery of a second Viking site in Point Rosee, Newfoundland may spell big news for the tourism industry on the island's southwest coast.

Locals say discovery could spell huge boost for tourism in the region

At Point Rosee, researchers have found what they believe to be evidence of Norse turf walls. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

The potential discovery of a second Viking site in Point Rosee, Newfoundland may spell big news for the tourism industry on the island's southwest coast.

Local residents were abuzz on Friday after research from an international team of archaeologists revealed the possibility of a Viking site in the area.

If the results are verified through further research, then Point Rosee would be only the second verified Viking site in North America. The first site is at L'Anse Aux Meadows, near the northern-most tip of Newfoundland, about 600 kilometres away.

Roger Fowlow, a fisherman and history buff, lives three kilometres away from the site of the researchers' excavation. He said news of the potential Viking settlement had his mind racing.

"I never slept last night," he said. "I was up until about three in the morning thinking about it. My wife thinks I'm crazy."

Roger Fowlow says he is very excited about the news of a potential Viking site near his home in Codroy Valley. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

As a local with a keen eye for history, Fowlow has had his ear to the ground over the years. He said he first heard rumblings of a potential Viking connection two years ago.

"I was talking to a gentleman, he was talking to one of the archeologists that passed through his land, and they were 99 per cent certain then it was a Viking settlement," he said.

Fowlow said he's driven by the potential Viking site a hundred times over the years.

"They had a great view. Ocean on three sides to the north, to the south, to the west, and then they could look inland."

He believes that if confirmed, the discovery will have a huge effect on the region. "It's going to put the southwest on the map," he said.

Huge tourism implications

Claudelle Devoe says news of the Viking settlement could have a massive effect on tourism in the region. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

Claudelle Devoe helps operate nine cottages in the province's Codroy Valley area.

She said a camera crew from PBS and BBC's Vikings Unearthed documentary, along with some of the archaeologists conducting research, stayed in the cottages last year.

"They arrived about the middle of June, and they stayed about three nights," said Devoe. ​"Very nice group of people."

​She said the discovery could encourage more people to come to Codroy Valley. "Right now in Codroy Valley, a lot of people just seem to … go past the highway and travel on."

But the Viking discovery, said Devoe, could give tourists incentive to stay and explore the region. 

"[It's] massive for our area. Great for tourism, for the economy, the whole southwest coast in Newfoundland," she said. "It will definitely attract more tourists to our area."

​The researchers are planning a return to the area this summer in hopes of finding definitive evidence of a Norse presence.

With files from Colleen Connors