Archaeologists think they have discovered the oldest Viking settlement

by Peter Heck · Jun 25th, 2020 1:04 pm
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Bjarni Einarsson

Last Updated Jun 26th, 2020 at 10:44 am

A discovery in Iceland may have revealed the oldest Viking settlement ever found. In an excavation archaeologist Bjarni Einarsson calls "the richest in Iceland so far," crews have uncovered an ancient longhouse buried beneath a younger one in the eastern part of the island country.

The discoveries were made at a location known as Stöð, near the village and fjord of Stöðvarfjörður.

Longhouses were large, skinny halls, often covered with turf. Sometimes measuring up to 250 feet long and 20 feet wide, they would be divided up into rooms, allowing for communal occupation.

The discovery is thought to be a settlement longhouse built in the 800s. If so, that is decades before seafaring Vikings are recorded as having settled the island.

Though the older longhouse is garnering headlines, it is actually the younger one that holds the richest treasures. So many ornamental beads, silver coins, and large amounts of "hacksilver," the currency of the Vikings, have been discovered in it that Einarsson is convinced it is a "chieftain's house."

Einarsson discovered the settlement ruins in 2007 with excavations beginning in 2015.


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