1000-Year-Old Cowshed Discovered

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1000-Year-Old Cowshed Discovered

Archeological research undertaken earlier this summer in Keldudalur in Skagafjördur  has brought to light an unusually well-preserved cowshed from the 10th century; the first one to be unearthed in Northern Iceland, archeologist Ragnheidur Traustadóttir told mbl.is.

Icelandic turf farm. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

Remains from man-made structures from the 11th and the 12th century were also discovered.

The cowshed surfaced just west of the living quarters of cow farmers Thórarinn Leifsson and Gudrún Lárusdóttir at Keldudalur. Research has been ongoing there since the year 2002. An ancient burial ground has been found there and it has been known since 2007 that ancient man-made structures existed.

The cowshed is ten meters long and four meters wide, made from rock and turf. The floor is paved with stones, which still are in place. On both sides of the floor are low steps for eighteen or twenty stalls.

The east end has been damaged, and partially used to build another house in the 11th century, but the western side is very well preseved, said Traustadóttir. The floor appears to have been covered in turf, so that every stall must have been smooth and dry. Wooden panels appear to have separated the stalls.