The Packet

Canada's History - - CONTENTS -

Vik­ing relics need thor­ough re­view. Vin­land lost and found. Nuns’ jour­ney: fact or fic­tion?

The Fe­bru­ary-March 2018 edi­tion of Canada’s His­tory printed a fea­ture ti­tled “Find­ing Vin­land,” which in­cluded a side­bar on an al­leged hoax in­volv­ing Vik­ing relics found in north­ern On­tario on May 24, 1931. What is of­fen­sive to me, and to many other his­to­ri­ans, is the bold em­ploy­ment of the term “hoax.”

I have been re­search­ing and writ­ing about these relics since 1990, when I con­ducted a se­ries of field searches to re­dis­cover the site where James Ed­ward Dodd claimed he had re­cov­ered them. In 1966, Dou­glas Tush­ing­ham, head of art and ar­chae­ol­ogy at the Royal On­tario Mu­seum, pulled to­gether all known facts about the relics and pub­lished a book­let ti­tled The Beardmore Relics: Hoax or His­tory? Tush­ing­ham con­cluded the book­let by writ­ing, “opin­ion leans towards the view that their ‘dis­cov­ery’ was a hoax.” He called for more ev­i­dence.

The dis­cov­ery site needs a thor­ough ex­ca­va­tion by a pro­fes­sional ar­chae­ol­o­gist. No one needs scavengers root­ing around Dodd’s dis­cov­ery site. Un­til such a dig is com­mis­sioned, I keep the lo­ca­tion a se­cret.

Edgar Lavoie Ger­ald­ton, On­tario

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