Newly Excavated Viking Dwelling May Be Oldest Found in Iceland
by Alex Fox/Smithsonianmag.com
Excavations in east Iceland have revealed what may be an ancient Viking hunting camp that predates the traditionally accepted arrival of the region’s first settlers by more than 70 years, reports Jelena Ćirić for Iceland Review.
Located in the Stöðvarfjörður fjord on a farm called Stöð, the remnants of Viking Age habitation were discovered by accident in 2003, according to Iceland magazine. The find, first excavated in 2015 by archaeologist Bjarni Einarsson, consists of two structures: One dates to between 869 and 873 A.D., while the other was probably erected around 800 A.D. The primary significance of these settlements lies in their age.
Compared with mainland Europe and Africa, Iceland’s human history is brief and well documented. A pair of books from the 12th century claim the island’s first inhabitants arrived in 870 A.D. at the earliest; one of these texts, the Landnámabók or Book of Settlements, states that Iceland’s first settler was Ingólfur Arnarson, who sailed from Norway to what is now Reykjavik with his wife, Hallveig Fródadóttir, in 874 A.D.
“Landnámabók erects this wall at the year 874,” Einarsson tells Magnús Sveinn Helgason of Iceland Review. “Scholars have been hesitant and afraid to peek beyond it. I prefer to approach the question of settlement as an open …read more: