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Archaeological Remains Discovered in Vestmannaeyjar

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Archaeological Remains Discovered in Vestmannaeyjar

The reconstruction of a settlement house in Herjólfsdalur, Vestmannaeyjar.

The reconstruction of a settlement house in Herjólfsdalur, Vestmannaeyjar. Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Ancient remains of a house were discovered by ground penetrating radar (GPR) research in Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands) off South Iceland this past summer. Archaeologist Bjarni F. Einarsson believes the islands were settled around 800 AD.

According to legend, Irish and Scottish monks, known as papar in Icelandic, lived on the islands from 600 to 800 AD. Bjarni stated his discovery may debunk the theory, ruv.is reports.

The research was carried out by Bjarni and volcanologist Ármann Höskuldsson in Herjólfsdalur valley on Heimaey, the only inhabited island in Vestmannaeyjar.

They discovered the remains in an area excavated in a project led by Margrét Hermanns Auðardóttir in 1971-1983, who also believes the islands were settled several decades before 871 AD.

“But we need to find the houses from that time. It isn’t enough to find remains and maintain that they were a farm or a settlement house. We need more evidence. We don’t know what kind of human habitation existed in Vestmannaeyjar,” Bjarni stated.

He would like to continue his research but it is up to local authorities whether further excavation will take place in Herjólfsdalur.

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