Ancient Viking Settlement Hóp, Known in Sagas But Lost for Centuries, Found in Canada

Scientists believe they may have finally found the location of the legendary Viking settlement "Hóp" in what is now New Brunswick.

Birgitta Wallace, a senior archaeologist emerita with Parks Canada who has spent a large portion of her career investigating Vikings in North America, recently revealed evidence to back her claim that she and her team are closer than ever to finding the lost settlement.

According to oral history and legends, Vikings settled in Hóp over a 1,000 years ago, which would have put them in North America nearly half a millennia before Christopher Columbus. Now, new archaeological tools are bringing the legend to life.

Related: 300 Mysterious Skeletons Found In Mass Grave Likely Belonged To Ancient Viking Army That Died Together

03_06_Viking A woman wears a Viking hat as she swims in Lake Geneva during the 79th 'Coupe de Noel' (Christmas cup) swimming race, on December 17, 2017. FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

Though the legend of Hóp is pretty old, three key elements of the story have persisted throughout the centuries: the settlement was abundant in grapes, had a large salmon supply and that the inhabitants made canoes out of animal skin hides. According to Wallace, the only reasonable location to fit this description is the Miramichi-Chaleur bay area in northeastern New Brunswick.

This area is home to wild grapes, was abundant in salmon before commercial fishing came and was home to the native Mi'kmaq people who made canoes from animal hide. In addition, artifacts found at another confirmed nearby Viking settlement contain wood that is native to New Brunswick. Taken together, Wallace said these clues suggest that the Miramichi-Chaleur bay area in northeastern New Brunswick is the location of the ancient Viking settlement.

Related: The Irish Have Much More Viking DNA Than Previously Thought, Genetic Study Reveals

While these clues strongly suggest that the Miramichi-Chaleur bay area is the location of this ancient pre-Columbian Viking settlement, it may be difficult to ever prove. The settlement was temporary, which means the Vikings took all their tools and goods—and even the bodies of their dead—with them when they left, Live Science reported. 

Even without concrete evidence, the research still gives a glimpse into the ancient Viking culture in America. Wallace explained that further excavation in the area may continue to reveal more evidence of the once lost settlement.