Wight of the Nine Worlds


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Archaeological Find in Iceland - The First Settlers?

Archaeological excavations in Stöðvarfjörður, the East Fjords, reveled interesting signs of human presence dated 74 years before the official settlement in the area by the first humans who came exploring the country. It seems the country was inhabited as early as the year 800 which means the first Viking explorers were not the ones who came to settle in 874 but there were people before who made the preparations for an official colonization of the area.

However, this is not the first time that signs of human presence from a similar time have been discovered. Excavations in Kvosin, Reykjavík, Hafnir, Reyjanes and in Húshólmi, had already given the hint of older settlements in the country. But now this one in Stöðvarfjörður came to cientifically prove the previous thought that Vikings settlers had been here way before the official historical record.

The Stöðvarfjörður is a strategic location, because the fjord has a good harbor and is the country’s closest location to sail to and fro Norway and the British Isles.

The first structure to be detected was a longhouse-shaped building with thick floor layers. The long-fire structure which was usually at the very center of the house is missing, but a fireplace can be seen by the wall. This structure is typically Nordic. The items are of the same kind as the ones which had been found in the whole Nordic area (including the Scandinavian Peninsula and all the way to the British Isles). This first settlement probably wasn't the type of farm-settlement, but an outpost that served as a predecessor to a real settlement.

The lack of animal bones in the area suggests that these settlers did not keep animals here, but used this place as a seasonal residence in order to exploit the natural resources the area offered.

Several tiny items of great importance to this finding, and a link to the first settlers, have been found. For instance, a sharpener, pearls, washers, a ring and a silver coin. A chalcedony discovered at the site proves that these first norsemen made utensils out of stone. This might give us a clue from where these people came from. In Northern Norway, during the medieval ages, it was still common for people to make tools out of stone. It became a sort of a costum to make stone tools in that area, while in other places these techniques had been put aside for a long time and in most cases had been forgotten. These first settlers were skilled in making stone tools, which suggests they were used to do it and this might indicate that they probably came from the northern regions of Norway.

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