The Vikings not only discovered the New World before Columbus, they did so twice, some 200 years apart, according to a University of Virginia professor. The first Viking exploration of America is generally regarded as having taken place around the year 1000, but a Latin manuscript discovered in Dublin by Dr. Marvin L. Colker indicates there was a second discovery in the 13th Century. "The very interesting thing about this manuscript is that it refers to the discovery of an island beyond Iceland and Greenland 'in our own times,' which means the Vikings either forgot the earlier exploration or thought they were discovering something entirely new," Colker said. "In early Viking days, America, or the part known as Vinland, was regarded as an island." Colker speculates that the area discussed in the manuscript is Newfoundland, Labrador or Nova Scotia. The land is described as populated by "pagans" and situated in far northern latitudes. The manuscript, which Colker describes in the most recent issue of Speculum, the journal of the Mediaeval Academy of America, is a geographic description of the known world, written as an introduction to a treatise on the culture and origins of the Tatars, who at the time were regarded as a major threat to western Christianity. The treatise on the Tatars does not exist in Dublin, either because the author never completed it or because the scribe did not make a copy, but the geography in the introduction, "is a very sober, conservative treatment which avoids the fabulous and mythological and is therefore to be taken seriously," Colker said. "The author was a missionary in eastern Europe. He was a writer, he had some intellectual interests and he was a traveler," Colker said. After describing Greenland and Iceland, the author discusses a third immense "island" very recently discovered. The trip to and from the area required about five years in a double-sized ship, he said.