Earliest settlement found in Iceland

Excavations at Stöðvarfjörður, East Fjords region of Iceland, revealed discoveries that might date the earliest settlement date of the island almost 100 years earlier to the past.

Excavations at the site (by Visir)
Excavations at the site (by Visir)

Signs of human presence found at the site might be the oldest found on the island and in the country so far. There are traces of a longhouse built shortly after 800 AD, which is three quarters of century earlier than the so far known first settlement made by Nordic settler, Ingólfur Arnarson in 874 AD. The excavations revealed remains of a longhouse-shaped structure with thick floor layers. The structure lacks a long-fire, but a fireplace is coming into view by one of the gables, by the wall, as the archaeologists continue the excavations. The house is typically Nordic in construction, but the artefacts discovered within the trenches are found in the whole Nordic area – from far North to the British Isles.

Beads found at the site (by Visir)
Beads found at the site (by Visir)

It is uncertain whether the people that settled here came from the British Isles, Norway or North Norway. The artefacts include a sharpener, pearls, washers, a ring, a silver coin, and piece of chalcedony rock, used for carving. So far no animal bones were found, which might indicate that the site was used as a seasonal residence in order to exploit the natural resources the area. So far earliest evidence of human occupation of Iceland have been found at various sites, including Kvosin, Reykjavík, in Hafnir, Reyjanes, and in Húshólmi by Krýsuvík. The finds from the Stöðvarfjörður site have been dated by radiocarbon dating, revealing the date of 800 AD.

Visir presented a short video reportage on the discovery on its site:

http://www.visir.is/section/MEDIA99&fileid=VTVF3930CAE-F820-4056-801E-4870D2F3EB0B

(after Visir, Iceland Review)

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