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Iceland Mag

Archeology

Viking longhouse discovered downtown Reykjavík to be on display in a new settlement exhibition

By Staff

  • Most likely the largest Viking Longhouse ever found in Iceland The ruins will be the subject of a new settlement exhibition, partially located within a hotel which is planned for the site and partially visible from the sidewalk. Photo/Reykjavík City Museum.

A new settlement exhibition will be constructed to house the ruins of the Viking longhouse which was discovered in downtown Reykjavík this summer. The ruins, which were discovered during an archaeological dig in a parking lot by Lækjargata street, are of one of the largest longhouses ever found in Iceland. The Cultural Heritage Agency of Iceland has decided the ruins will be preserved The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service RÚV reports.

Read more: One of the largest Viking longhouses in Iceland has been found in downtown Reykjavík

A hotel is currently planned for the site where the ruins were found. The decision to protect the ruins and have them on permanent display will require changes to be made to the design of the hotel. The exhibition will be visible from inside the hotel and from the sidewalk, as part of the ruins are located outside the planned hotel.

Archaeologist Lísbet Guðmundsdóttir, who oversaw the dig which discovered the ruins, told RÚV that all un-organic remains will be preserved on location. Turf from the walls will not be reserved because completely intact because of cost. “Moreover, their preservation adds very little to people’s understanding of the remains we have here,” she adds.

The archaeological find came as a complete surprise to archaeologists, as there are no records of a settlement age structure in the area. The find has also forced archaeologists and historians to revise their understanding of the Viking age settlement in Reykjavík.

Read more: News report: The Viking Age settlement that is emerging in downtown Reykjavík

Archaeologist have been unable to determine the exact size of the structure, as its northern end has been destroyed by construction and road work in the early 20th century. The structure is believed to have extended under the houses to the north of the site where it was found, and into the middle of Skólabrú street.

Lísbet tells RÚV that the outlines of the longhouse, including those archaeologists believe extended under the street to the north of the site, will be marked out in the street, allowing people to envision where the structure stood and what it looked like. “We decided to preserve all the un-organic remains of the longhouse on location, where they were found, that is, the fireplace and trough, which will be outside the hotel, and we also decided to preserve and display the outlines of the longhouse, both within the hotel and on its outside." The site and the various items discovered during the dig will be the subject of an exhibition both inside the hotel and on the sidewalk.

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