Maine's mysterious Viking penny was made in 1065 but was it proof that the Vikings reached America before Columbus?

Anita Durairaj
Viking ship (generic image)Photo bySteinar EngelandonUnsplash

In 1956, amateur archaeologists digging by the coast of Maine came across a mysterious, ancient coin.

The coin was excavated near a Native American settlement and the researchers initially identified it as a 12th-century English coin. No one knew how a medieval English coin got to America.

Then the coin found its way to a London dealer who identified it as a Norse penny. It was not of English origin but was created by the Vikings.

But one question remained, how did a Viking coin made between 1065 and 1093 get to North America before Columbus? Was it evidence of Viking contact with the Native Americans?

There were efforts to disprove the finding of the ancient Norse coin. Some claimed that it could be a hoax and that the coin was planted.

Yet, the evidence pointed to it being a genuine coin.

Scientific testing of the coin revealed that the coin had laid in a horizontal position at the archaeological site for a very long time. The test also showed that there was corrosion on the coin and signs of water tricking down the metal over centuries.

Also, the coin's wear and tear were not faked. Thus, the evidence pointed to the fact that the coin could not have been planted in the US in modern times but had remained in the soil for centuries.

Archaeologists found no other Norse artifact at the site where the coin was found.

For now, the origin of Maine's Viking coin remains a mystery.

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Trained with a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Cincinnati, I write unique and interesting articles focused on science, history, and current events.


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