Thousand-Year-Old Bones Discovered in North Iceland Skip to content

Thousand-Year-Old Bones Discovered in North Iceland

A recent archeological find of 1000-year-old human remains in Skagafjördur in north Iceland may shed a new light on a period of Iceland’s history that is largely in the dark, the period around which Iceland converted to Christianity.

Archeologists have found bones that belonged to an infant and an old man under a layer of volcanic ash from 1104 during an ongoing excavation project at the farm Steinsstadir, Fréttabladid reports.

“It is a significant find because it educates us about the time when Iceland was converting to Christianity, which we don’t know much about,” said archeologist Gudný Zoëga. “It also confirms that there is a graveyard [at Steinsstadir] which isn’t mentioned in any sources.”

Zoëga said other bones had been discovered in the area about a decade ago, which led archeologists to believe that there were other important remains buried deeper underground and therefore an excavation project was launched this summer.

Zoëga said it was obvious that the first skeleton belonged to an infant, but since the bones were not well preserved the grave has not been disturbed yet. The bones that belonged to an old man were, however, well preserved and show that he suffered from arthritis.

“I’m an osteologist and I often consider skeletons the most significant sources of information that can be found during an excavation,” Zoëga said, adding that bones can tell us a lot about the community.

“Graveyards can tell us whether the rate of infant mortality was high, whether people suffered from starvation or diseases and many other things,” Zoëga explained.

Click here to read about another ongoing archeological project in Iceland.

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