Image: Lísabet Guðmundsdóttir/Twitter.

Medieval and Viking Era Artefacts Discovered in North Iceland

 In Culture, News, Society

Archaeological remains of three buildings have been discovered at Hofstaðir in North Iceland. Archaeologists were not previously aware of the buildings’ existence, RÚV reports. The site, located in the Mývatn area, contains both Medieval and Viking Age artefacts.

Hofstaðir is the most-researched archaeological site in Iceland, and according to Professor of Archaeology Orri Vésteinsson of the University of Iceland, that’s for good reason. Orri says the research material in the area is endless, although experts’ knowledge of the site is still “quite incomplete.” Researchers are only now carrying out detailed mapping of the area for the first time.

Banquet hall and cemetery

A banquet hall and a cemetery had been previously found at the site. A new farmstead with a large longhouse was uncovered in 2016, leading to the decision to map the area in more detail. That mapping helped lead to the newest discovery of the three buildings. Orri says further on-site research is needed to determine the function of the buildings, which will first and foremost require funding and careful planning.

Political and social place

There are various hypotheses as to how work and life were organised at the rediscovered settlement, though evidence points to the site hosting both political and social activities. Interestingly, the area contained both a lodge that hosted pagan ceremonies and a Christian church, which stood side by side for several decades. “This gives an indication that the conversion may have taken longer and been more complex than we had imagined,” Orri observed.

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