Archaeologists have found remains of houses that mark the oldest Viking settlement in Iceland. Excavations in the region since 2015 provide new information on the migration of Vikings to Iceland.
Iceland, a northern European country, is thought to have been discovered by the Norwegians for the first time in 861, and the Vikings first settled on the island in the 9th and 10th centuries. Recent archaeological excavations in Iceland have led to the discovery of what is thought to be the oldest Viking settlement in the country.
Archaeologist Bjarni Einarsson, who led the excavation, explained that the ancient longhouse may have been built around 800 AD. Excavations in the ruins of the house led to the discovery of various remains of precious stones and beads, as well as the remains of the house.
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Einarsson, who made a statement about the house, which may be the first Viking settlement in Iceland, said, “The small hall is Iceland’s richest archaeological hall so far. “It’s pretty hard not to conclude that the house is a chief’s house,” he said.
The structure that the archaeologists found indicates that the remains belonged to a rather large house. The archaeologists explained that the grass and thatch-covered house had a large wooden hall 75 meters long and 6 meters wide that was used as common living spaces.
Explaining that the huge hall was divided into rooms and shared by several families, archaeologists stated that hearths were built along the center of the house to light a fire, and that the farm animals also protected the people living in the house from the cold.
The remains were found near a village in Iceland
The structure, which may be the first Viking settlement in Iceland, was found near the village of Stöðvarfjörður in the east of the country. Archaeologists think the structure was built in 874 AD. This date is also accepted as the date in Iceland’s local history when people fleeing the Norwegian king Harald Fairhair settled in Iceland. Ancient coins were also found in the historical ruin, along with valuable ornamental beads.
An older structure was found under the house, where coins and beads were found during the excavations. Analysis of the second house shows that it was built long before permanent settlement in Iceland around 800 AD.
Archaeologists think the second structure found was a seasonal settlement or camp used by local workers only during the summer months, perhaps also in the fall. Researchers speculate that people use the area seasonally to hunt and produce products from animals such as fish, whales, seals and birds.
Bjarni Einarsson, who led the excavation, announced that the house, which is still being excavated, is one of the largest houses ever found in Iceland. “We know that in the far west of the old hall there was a blacksmith for working with metal. This blacksmith is the only known blacksmith in Iceland to work in the hall,” he said.
Bjarni Einarsson explained that the settlement in the region may have occurred similarly to the Viking settlement in Canada. “Settlement was a model of the settlement of islands in the Atlantic Ocean,” Einarsson said. First we had seasonal camps. Then permanent settlement followed.”
Bjarni Einarsson discovered the longhouse ruins near the village of Stöðvarfjörður in 2007. After the necessary permits were obtained in 2015, excavations began in the area. Archaeologists continue excavations in the area to reveal the history of the Viking Age settlement.