Excavations in Reykjavík
Viking Age Reykjavík was a vibrant village.
The earliest settlement in the area seems to date to the first half of the 8th century.
(click on the images to enlarge).
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.
The recent discoveries bring into stark relief how little we actually know about Viking Age Reykjavík.
Image: Andri Marínó Karlsson
(click on the images to enlarge)