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(April 12, 2001, Gazette)

Dr. Helge Ingstad

Dr. Helge Ingstad, an honorary graduate of Memorial University, passed away March 29. Dr. Ingstad, who died in Oslo at the age of 101, was the Norwegian explorer who discovered the Viking settlement in Newfoundland at L’Anse aux Meadows, proving that the Norsemen discovered America 500 years before Christopher Columbus. In the late 1950s he searched the coast of Labrador, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, looking for Vinland, a name from the Icelandic sagas, which told the story of how Leif Eriksson sailed from Greenland and settled on a distant coast. Late in 1960, in Newfoundland, a local fisherman, George Decker, tipped him off to a place near St. Anthony, on the northern tip of Newfoundland. He saw the mounds that hinted at a settlement and he was convinced it was a Viking site, though until that time people thought it was an old Indian settlement. The next year he returned with his wife, Anne Stine, a Norwegian archeologist. The significance of the Ingstads’ discoveries at L’Anse aux Meadows was immediately recognized by the Newfoundland government, which declared it an ancient monument. The site was named a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Helge Ingstad and Anne Stine, who died in 1997, had a daughter, Benedicte, who survives them.