Vinland Map is a unique ancient map that shows Asia, Africa, Europe, Greenland, Iceland and a significant land known as Vinland which is located to the southwest of Greenland. If this is a real map (as it is claimed to be) then it proves the fact that Vikings were the first to have sailed to North America. The map would also prove that the New world was known to Europeans before Christopher Columbus set foot on America. The Vinland Map was found in 1957, about three years before the Viking settlement of L’Anse aux Meadows was discovered in Newfoundland. This 15th century map is claimed to show a substantial Viking exploration of the world. It was found along with a medieval text known as “Hystoria Tartarorum” or Tartar Relations, which has been confirmed as an authentic work and is dated from 1440 AD. The Tartar Relation which describes the history and manners of Mongols was written by a Franciscan scholar named Giovanni De Pian Del Carpini.
The parchment upon which the Vinland Map was drawn has been carbon dated. It has justified that both the map and Tartar Relation belong to the same period. But there is a great controversy over the genuineness of this map. This map is not attributed to Carpini and no one really knows who drew it. The scientists have also discovered amounts of anatase titanium dioxide contained in the ink of map. This is a 20th century substance. Researchers also question the actual substance of the Vinland Map. They feel the map is dated much later than 1440 to at least 17th century. There are wormholes in the map just like Tartar Relation, but both these worm holes are not same. This proves the fact that map was inserted later. The map also appears to be created out of two different parchments which were glued together, which scientists associate with the work of a forger.
But in 2009 a research conducted under the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts refuted all the fake allegations. They claimed that all tests conducted upon the map for the last five years showed no signs of forgery. Though the scientists have gone on to question the quality of ink and pattern of wormholes.
There are studies still under way to prove conclusively whether the Vinland Map is real or a fake.