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According to the andnámabók 1, (the Book of Settlement) Reykjavík was first settled by Ingólfr Arnarson in c. AD 870.

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1. See “The Vikings in Iceland: The Discovery and Settlement of iceland“.

In 2001, excavations in advance of the construction of a hotel at 101 Reykjavík, on Aðalstræti 16, on the corner of Aðalstræti and Suðurgata located the remains of a Viking Period longhouse.

The excavated longhouse now forms the focus of a museum about the Viking Settlement.

The Settlement Museum in Reykjavík
Image: Wikipedia

For more information about the Settlement Museum in Reykjavík
go to the website here…

In 2018 excavations near the centre of Reykjavík revealed another Viking Age longhouse.
The line of stones shows part of the remaining foundations of the building.

image: David Beard

image: David Beard

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Viking Age Reykjavík was a vibrant village.
The earliest settlement in the area seems to date to the first half of the 8th century.

Excavations at The Lækjargata Longhouse

Key to Map

1   Remains of a boundary wall
2   Part of a settlement age long-house wall
3   At least one and half long-houses, two smithies, a rye storage and stone courtyard. The area has only been partially explored.
4   A stone pathway, leading toward the lake, and a built up open stone drain, also leading towards the lake.
5   Parts of the stone pathway and the built up open stone drain, leading toward the lake.
6   A large industrial area, stretching along Tjarnargata street and the shores of the downtown lake, which extended further north at the age of settlement. The area was found to have been home to at least four smithies and other workshops. These included workshops for iron, silver, wood and leather, rye, fish and meat processing, as well as a brewery. Along the lake was a boundary wall, seperating the lake from the industrial area, as well as a wooden walkway, running alongside the boundary wall.
7   The remains of a smithy and part of a long-house.
8   A large long-house from the 10th century and the remains of a 9th century wall, constructed prior to the settlement tephra 871+/-2. The earliest settlement at the site seems to date to the first half of the 8th century.
9   Fragmentary remains of a wall, either the wall of a long-house or an enclosure wall.
10   Fragment of a wall, either a boundary or an enclosure wall.
11   According to written documents a cemetery and church stood at this location around 1200, but it is believed that an earlier church would have stood at the same site, and that a church would have been constructed at the site following the adoption of Christianity in the year 1000. No excavation has yet taken place at the site.
12   Austurvöllur square is the single largest untouched area in downtown Reykjavík, and archaeologists are optimistic it might hold evidence and artefacts which could help shed further light on the Viking age settlement of Reykjavík. No excavation has yet taken place at the site.
13   The long-house by Lækjargata street has been revealed to be one of the largest longhouses in Iceland, possibly larger than the long-house by Aðalstræti street (8). A stone pathway seems to have led from the house in the direction of the river which connected the lake and the sea.
14   Preliminary studies in the parking lot south of the current archaeological dig have revealed settlement age remains.

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