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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/177

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VINLAND AND ITS RUINS.

filled in with earth. Often, however, the walls were built entirely of turf and earth, or with only disconnected rows of stones at the base. Wood also was sometimes used. It is stated in Thorfinn Karlsefni's Saga that some of the trees in Vinland were "so large they were laid in a house."

A long, narrow fireplace usually extended through the middle of the principal room, and an essential feature was the cooking fireplace, which was about one metre square. These were either paved or surrounded by upright stones. The plan is of the ruin of the house of Eric the Red in Haukadalr, Iceland. It shows the different forms of fireplace, and that the walls, which were built of

PSM V56 D0177 Ancient icelandic wall with turf between stones.png
Ancient Wall in Iceland, showing Layers of Turf between the Stones.

turf, were one and a half metres thick. Outhouses were often dug into the hillside, and were sometimes walled up on the inside with stone and turf. Ruins of such old settlements in Iceland are usually low, grass-grown ridges and hollows.

When Professor Horsford first visited the site which his study of maps and literature had led him to believe was Vinland, he found a few hollows in the hillside and also some broad, low ridges on the level ground, indicating that a building about twenty metres long by five metres broad had once stood there. There was also a mound some distance away which has since proved to be of modern construction.