Archaeologists Margrét Hrönn Hallmundsdóttir and Guðný Zoega recently began digging for human bones in the medieval cemetery at Hrafnseyri in Arnarfjörður in the West Fjords, bb.is reports. The cemetery lies below the modern day graveyard.
Archive photo from the site of another archeological dig in Iceland. Photo by Bjarni F. Einarsson.
The purpose of the excavation is to try to identify when the cemetery first came into use. Bones were discovered on the first day of the dig and have been sent for testing to determine their age.
During the first centuries of the Icelandic settlement, Hrafnseyri was called Eyri. Iceland’s independence hero Jón Sigurðsson, was born in Hrafnseyri on June 17 (Iceland’s National Day). The place was later renamed after Hrafn Sveinbjarnarsson who lived there in the 12th century.
Hrafn is considered to have been the first Icelander to seek an education in medicine. He reportedly travelled to the Salerno Medical School in Italy, which is thought to have been the world’s first medical school.