Moyens d’orientation et de navigation des Vikings, marins accomplis en Atlantique Nord (fin VIIIe-XIe siècles) [The orientation and navigation methods of the Vikings: Accomplished sailors in the North Atlantic (late 8th to 11th centuries)]
The article goes a long way to prove that the Vikings managed to navigate without maps — nor written itineraries, or compasses — and that, nevertheless, they crossed the North Atlantic and reached Northeast America five centuries before Christopher Columbus discovered Central America; it should, nevertheless, appeal to our Members! Indeed, this article gives a lot of insight on ancient navigation techniques, which were probably also applied in other parts of Europe in the Middle-Ages. It is very well documented on the history of the Vikings’ explorations, as well as on the scientific and technical aspects of their navigation instruments (sunstones, sundials, hourglasses, logs, sounding weights, and weather vanes) and navigation techniques (rudimentary dead-reckoning, horizontal navigation, and particularly visual navigation — without the use of instruments), as well as their ship-building skills.
The author manages to present these very erudite notions in an attractive way, thus making the 33 pages article an instructive and pleasant reading.