Did "Solarsteinn" lead Vikings west?

Experts have long speculated that a Norse Solarsteinn, or sunstone, was used to help Viking mariners find their way west through cloudy weather, and the discovery of such an artifact on a sunken, 16th century English warship may prove it.

The sunstone is made of Iceland spar, a translucent calcite crystal that polarises light, allowing travellers to locate the sun in overcast weather. The conclusions of a recent study, led by Guy Ropars of the University of Rennes, have been published in the British journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A. An abstract of the article is available to read on the journal's website.