Archaeologists have discovered the remains of two long wooden houses filled with treasures dating back to the Viking era in eastern Iceland.
The settlement is estimated to have been built in the 800s, decades before the refugees arrived in Iceland and settled permanently on the island. The remains of two old houses were found under green grass in the Stöð area, near Stöðvarfjorður bay.
Ruins of the oldest Viking settlement in Iceland. (Photo: Bjarni Einarsson).
The largest structure is about 75m long and 6m wide, divided into many small rooms. Some families may have lived together, according to archaeologist Bjarni Einarsson, the team leader of the excavation. Stone fireplace systems are also found along the center of the house.
The second structure, about 40 m long, is said to be the home of a Viking leader. The team unearthed many valuable treasures inside, including Roman and Middle Eastern coins, silver ingots, jewelry, or small pieces of gold. The Vikings may have traded local resources such as the skin and flesh of whales and seals to collect these jewels.
Settlement viewed from above. (Photo: Bjarni Einarsson).
The wooden houses in Stöð are similar in size and function to the 1,000-year-old Viking settlements discovered in Newfoundland in Canada. "This is a model of common settlement on the islands in the Atlantic , " Einarsson emphasized.
Einarsson has been running a private archaeological company for over 20 years and has been searching for Viking settlements on the Iceland coast since 2009. The ruins of long houses in Stöð have been known from long but only started to be excavated in 2015.