In four days I will leave for Canada for a new project called The Vinland Phenomenon. It can be considered a follow up to an earlier work about the transatlantic voyages of the Norsemen pre-dating Columbus about 500 years.
My destination will again be Newfoundland but I will stop over in Halifax this time: I will meet Dr. Birgitta Wallace, archaeologist emerita for Parks Canada. Dr. Wallace who in the 1960s and 70s participated in the excavations of the first and only known Norse site in North America in L’Anse aux Meadows dated around 1000 AD – first assisting the Norwegians Helge and Anne Stine Ingstad and later leading the excavations – is one of the leading experts on the Norse in Greenland and North America and I am honored and excited to meet her. I secretely call her Mrs. L’Anse aux Meadows and hope she won’t mind now that I publish this little secret here…
I have been in L’Anse aux Meadows before: It lies very exposed and yet so remote on the Northern tip of Newfoundland’s Great Northern Peninsula and has an amazing aura to it if you think about the fact that it is the place where the encircling of the globe by mankind has been completed. And the Norse settlement in L’Anse aux Meadows is the only place belonging to the legendary Vinland from the medieval Norse sagas that has been indisputably identified.
This trip will be different from the previous ones (not only those to Canada) in the sense that although it includes a four weeks residency on Fogo Island its route will be mostly project-driven: I will visit all the places and people in Newfoundland that to me appear to be of significance to study what I call The Vinland Phenomenon. And I haven’t bought a return ticket yet – I will stay at least 2,5 months – or as long as the projects demands (and the grant from the German Foundation for Canadian Studies allows).
I haven’t been on the road for almost 15 months now. My work is less about new angles per se now but more specialised on the change in perspective related to a specific topic or idea, and in times of internet and skype many conceptual works steps can be processed from home. But at a certain point almost every project calls for actual field studies or peronal contacts and experiences. This time has now come.