According to old Norse sagas the Vikings reached North America five centuries prior to the voyages of Christopher Columbus. Archeological findings support this thesis and even suggest that the Vikings made it a lot further south than just the Canadian province of Labrador and Newfoundland. Since The Vampire Diaries we know that some Vikings made it as far south on the North American continent as Mystic Falls,VA and started the Vampire race there as an act of self-defense against the werewolves.
What the Vikings discovered and knew of the North American continent they called Vinland and that already around 1000 CE.
A map surfaced in 1957. In 1965 this map was presented to the world. The presentation was accompanied by a scholarly book written by librarians of the British Museum and the Yale University. It was claimed that the map was a 15th century mappa mundi including unique information about Norse explorations of North America.
This claim was met from the beginning with skepticism by historians of geography and medieval document specialists. For one thing, the Norse site L’Anse aux Meadows had just been discovered in 1960 and for many the Viking’s voyages to North American were still mere myths. Furthermore, while the map show some timely inaccuracies and similarities to other maps of the time period (1430/40) it is nearly perfectly correct where the island of Greenland is concerned. Yet nobody is known to have surrounded Greenland before the 20th century and therefore Greenland is usually shown as a peninsula connected to Russia. Leif Ericson’s name is used in its Latin version, what is more consistent with 17th century norms, while the writing on the map contains letters not usual used after early medieval times and never in Gothic style as used on the map. Plus, there are hand writing inconsistencies to the book it is said to be a part of and to the time it was suppose to be written.
The better the technical means of analysis became the more they were used on the parchment and ink of the map. These analyses show that the parchment is indeed original parchment produced between 1423 and 1445. Yet, the ink – though iron-gall ink – contains artificial ingredients not known before the 20th century. Furthermore, while the parchment is covered in fall out of the 1950s nuclear tests, the ink seems to be applied on top of this cover. All this together makes it very unlikely that the map is anything but a forgery.
However, until today scientists argue and some try to prove the maps authenticity. Forgery or not, the maps value is claimed to be $25 million according to the latest appraisal.