It is believed the remains of the much-searched-for Þykkvabær cloister may have been found. Icelandic and British archaeologists saw the remains of a very large building yesterday, using ultrasound techniques, at Álftaver in South Iceland.
The discovery came as a complete surprise, as it was not thought the remains of the cloister were in that area.
“I think we’ve just hit the jackpot, because I think we’ve discovered the remains of Þykkvabæjarklaustur. It came as a complete surprise, you can say that much. The remains are not on the site it was assumed the cloisters stood,” archaeology professor Steinunn Kristjánsdóttir told Stöð 2 television.
Þykkvabæjarklaustur, east of Mýrdalur, was a monastery of Augustine monks and its location has been lost to archaeologists until now. This week, ten Icelandic and British archaeologists have been searching for the remains with high tech instruments. The remains of an unusually big building were discovered under the ground yesterday, measuring around 40 x 45 meters.
“It is very big compared to the buildings of the time – as it is from the Middle Ages – and the footprint is around 1,500 square meters,” Steinunn says.
The cloister was in use from 1168 until 1550. Until recently it was assumed that Þykkvabæjarklaustur must have stood near the present-day Þykkvabæjarkirkja church, but searches revealed nothing; and this leads Steinunn to strongly believe yesterday’s find to be the lost cloisters. It is still possible, however, the remains are of a cow shed—but in that case it would be the cloister’s own cow shed and still therefore relevant.