Mittens Long in the National Museum of Iceland’s Archive Dated to Settlement Era

mittens in national museum of iceland

When Halldór Kristjánsson, a farmer from Akranes, dug new foundations for his farm in 1960, he unearthed a pair of mittens that have since sat in the collection of the National Museum. Kristján Eldjárn, then the head conservationist and future president of Iceland, suspected that the mittens dated from the earliest period in Iceland’s history.

His suspicion had gone unconfirmed until now, when a study conducted by researchers at the National Museum verified their antiquity.

national museum of iceland
provided by Þjóðminjasafn Íslands

Last spring, a sample from the Heynes mittens, named after the farm on which they were discovered, was sent abroad to a lab for analysis. Two samples were taken, one from the mittens themselves, and one from a braided cord that connects the mittens. The results of the dating show that both the mittens and cord are from the second half of the 10th century, placing them before the Christianization of Iceland. Notably, they are also an example of early sewing techniques for clothing, as knitting was not used in Iceland until the 1500s.

Earlier this year, Scandinavian textile experts conducted research at the National Museum of Iceland. They concluded that if the mittens did indeed date from the settlement period, their pristine condition could make them nearly unique as artefacts in the North Atlantic. The mittens are made from homespun wool, a staple fabric during the settlement of Iceland. Their remarkable preservation is attributed to their burial in the earth under the farmstead at Heynes.

The mittens, known as Þjms. 1960-77, can be viewed online at the National Museum of Iceland’s digital archive. The mittens are also on display at the National Museum, which is open from 10.00 to 17.00 every day of the week.



Dog Falls 20m off of Cliff, Lives to Tell the Tale

Iceland search and rescue

RÚV reports that North Iceland’s search and rescue team was called out last night, July 5, to respond to a dog who had fallen off a cliff.

The dog had been on a walk with its owner near Gönguskarðsá near Skagafjörður in Northern Iceland when it fell off a cliff and lost consciousness. The owner called the search and rescue service, which responded to the incident. Accompanying the search and rescue team was a veterinarian. After some time, the dog recovered and regained consciousness.

Landsbjörg is the search and rescue service for Iceland. It is a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization which provides search and rescue for Icelanders and tourists alike.



Night Bus Returns to Reykjavík after Two-Year Suspension

Public bus in Reykjavík

The Reykjavík night bus, or Næturstrætó, will be returning to service this Saturday, July 9.

Night service will include seven routes leaving from downtown towards the suburbs and neighbouring towns, but it will not be possible to take the night bus heading into downtown. A list of the routes can be found at Stræto’s website.

The Reykjavík night bus was suspended for two years in response to lower utilization of the service than hoped for. Residents of the greater Reykjavík area have been calling for the return of the night bus since its discontinuation, as it provided an affordable and safe alternative to taxis and driving for downtown nightlife. However, the return of service is only a trial run, and the usage will be reassessed in September.

The fare for the night bus will be the same as day fare, which can be seen below. As with day fare, travellers can pay with the Klapp card, Klapp ten, the Klappið app, cash, Strætó app, or Strætó card.

Individual night bus fares Price
Adults 490 kr.
Young people, 12-17 years old 245 kr.
Senior citizens, 67 years and older 245 kr.
Disabled * 147 kr.
Paid by credit card or cash 1,000 kr.

Fare table taken from Strætó.

However, the timetable for the Reykjavík night bus will differ from day service. Only departure times from Hlemmur and Lækjartorg B will be given, and passengers planning on catching the bus en route are encouraged to use the live bus tracking offered on the Klappið app, Strætó app, and Strætó website.

Strætó’s announcement comes in the wake of a taxi shortage in Iceland’s capital area.