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A Ship in the Desert? Searching for a Lost Viking Ship in California

Monday, February 13, 2017 12:25
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An imaginary depiction of the remains of a stranded Viking ship.

Back in the days when much of the map was still blank, explorers would follow any waterway in the hopes of finding the next great passage. Yet some rivers can be deceiving, especially those in the volatile region west of the Rocky Mountains. According to local lore, a great ship is stranded in California’s Salton Sea Basin on the edge of the Sonora Desert. Despite having no concrete proof that such a ship actually exists, there is a great deal of debate over its possible origins.

Some say it is a Spanish galleon that was searching for an alternative way around “California Island” (a common misconception in the 16th century). This ship would naturally be filled with treasure. Others claim that the ship belonged to early Viking explorers who managed to navigate a Medieval Northwest Passage and come down the western coast of North America before being stranded. The only way we will ever know for certain is to find the ship.

‘Vikings Heading for Land’ (1873) by Frank Dicksee.

‘Vikings Heading for Land’ (1873) by Frank Dicksee. (Public Domain) – Reconstructing the story of humanity’s past


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