Alþingi Excavation Site

Research at the Alþingi excavation site adjacent to Parliament House started in 2008. Remains from the settlement period up to modern times were excavated, the best-preserved structures being from the Viking Age. The remains form an organized centre of activity where the early settlers produced and worked iron and carried out other tasks, such as wool working, carpentry, butchery, fish processing and crafts.

 

Viking Age Reykjavík

Some of the oldest settlements in Iceland can be found in the downtown area of Reykjavík. Archaeological excavations have shown that the area was quite densely populated in the 9th to 11th centuries. Well-preserved buildings have been excavated in Aðalstræti, Tjarnargata and Suðurgata.


The area has changed significantly since the settlement period; research has shown that it was mostly covered in birchwoods when the settlers arrived in the late 9th century. Adjacent marshland offered plentiful bog-iron, and peat for fuel. Ships could be brought up the river which led from the seashore to the Lake, for a sheltered mooring. Therefore the area was ideal for occupation during the settlement period. During the 10th century the woods were steadily felled, and the area became dominated by heath plants.

Frá uppgraftarsvæðinu á horni Tjarnargötu og Kirkjustrætis, þessi hluti svæðisins liggur nú undir húsi.

The central area of present-day Reykjavík, Kvosin, was the location of a flourishing community in early Iceland. Remains found at the Alþingi excavation site dating from late 9th and 10th centuries belong to the same period as other remains excavated over the past decades in central Reykjavík. Recent findings suggest that soon after settlement the area was well populated and buzzing with life.


In the summer of 2012 the plan is to excavate and research in detail a 400 m² area which has been approximately dated between the 9th and 11th century.

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