Introduction

The Vinland Map: Authentic or a forgery?

Anyone examining the authenticity of the Vinland Map, must tackle many unfamiliar subjects - Norse history, medieval cartography, handwriting analysis, scientific investigation of materials, and so on.

That may seem a daunting prospect. Actually it isn't. Given a little background knowledge, which is readily acquired, the intelligent and curious viewer can learn enough to reach useful conclusions.

Reaching conclusions is the pedagogical purpose of this web site - not deciding about the Map but learning how evidence is used to draw conclusions. It is an exercise in reasoning. All kinds of evidence are available - documentary evidence, historical evidence, material evidence. How are scientific data used to formulate an argument? We have to learn to do that, as scientists do. Sometimes, two scientists will consider the same data but reach diametrically opposite conclusions. How can that be? How do we handle that?

Then there are questions about logic. Imagine that I say:

  1. Evidence shows that the Map is a fake.
  2. It can't be a fake because we don't know who faked it.
  3. The Map is so complex that nobody would have been able to fake it.

Does the second statement trump the first? Does the third? These are some of the issues you must face in judging the authenticity of the Vinland Map.