Historical Saga Farm Excavated in Iceland Skip to content

Historical Saga Farm Excavated in Iceland

An extensive archeological project on behalf of the National Museum of Iceland, which began in 2001, is currently taking place in Mosfellsdalur valley in southwest Iceland. A farm is being excavated where saga hero Egill Skalla-Grímsson is believed to have lived.

On the farm, which is called Mosfell, there was also a church which was mentioned in Egils Saga. According to the saga, Skalla-Grímsson spent his last years, 974 to 990, on Mosfell with his niece Thórdís and her husband, Morgunbladid reports.

The Mosfell project is so extensive that archeologists don’t know when it will finish and research in relation to the objects excavated and the farm itself will take years.

“It is a large house, compared to Icelandic houses, and among the largest houses ever excavated [in Iceland],” said archeologist Davide Zori, who is participating in the project.

The building is well preserved and the remains of doors and pillars are clearly visible as are the locations of the rooms. There are also clear remains of a large fireplace in the center of the building.

Objects that have been discovered in the excavation process support theories that wealthy people used to live on the farm, including various pearls, around 20 in total, some with a gold cover and others with silver in between layers of glass. Some of these pearls are painted according to South Asian traditions.

Archeologist Sigrid Juel Hansen said it is incredible how many pearls have been discovered which were very valuable in the early middle ages.

Underneath the Mosfell church an empty grave was discovered which may possibly have been the resting place of Skalla-Grímsson. According to Egils saga, his remains were buried underneath the church’s altar until they were relocated along with the church.

The Viking’s silver treasure has, however, not been discovered yet. According to legend, he buried it in an area within a distance of one night’s ride from Mosfell.

Archeologists from Denmark, Canada, Italy, England and other countries are participating in the project and filmmaker Adam Fish is working on a documentary about it, scheduled to finish by the end of this year.

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