New Study: Iceland Settled 200 Years Earlier Skip to content

New Study: Iceland Settled 200 Years Earlier

According to new analysis on the age of archeological remains in Reykjavík and the Westman Islands, Iceland was settled 200 years earlier than stated in the Book of Settlement (Landnáma), that is, in 670 AD, not 874 AD.

A (modern) Viking ship headed for the Westman Island. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

Physicist Páll Theódórsson bases his conclusion mostly on new age analysis of animal bones, undertaken by British and American scientists. For the past ten years, these scientists have studied ancient changes in vegetation in Iceland, RÚV reports.

The age analysis shows that around 870 AD, settlements already existed in various places in Iceland. “Everywhere where people undertake studies to some extent remains are found that date back to 870 when Ingólfur Arnarson [known as Iceland’s first settler] is supposed to have arrived,” Theódórsson said.

“It is absolutely clear that the settlement is much older and therefore the Icelandic settlement must have begun some time before that and to name a decade I mentioned 670 as credible and conclude that the settlement is 200 years older than Ari fródi [the alleged author of Landnáma] says,” Theódórsson stated.

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