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Reykjavik, Capital Region H÷fu­borgarsvŠ­i, Iceland
 

The Settlement of ReykjavÝk

 
 
The Settlement of ReykjavÝk Marker image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, June 8, 2017
1. The Settlement of ReykjavÝk Marker
Inscription.  (English side:)

Archaeological remains have been found in the city centre. They date back to the settle-ment period in the 9th century to modern times. This is the site of the first settlement of ReykjavÝk and it is believed that the farmstead reached from Vonarstrimti to Grjˇtagata.

The first settlers came to Iceland from Norway and the British Isles in the 9th century. At this time the environment was quite different from what we see today. There were birch wood forests that for various reasons had for the most part vanished by the year 1000. The sea level was considerably lower and the homes of the early settlers were built on a gravel bank typical of the area at the time.

Beyond it was the Lake, much larger than today, as it extended as far as the present site of the ReykjavÝk Cathedral. A brook flowed from it out to sea, where LŠkjargata (Brook Street) now stands.

Archaeological findings provide us with a clear picture of the life of the early Icelandic community in the 9th and 10th centuries, the period described in the Sagas of Icelanders. People lived in longhouses, a common type of turf houses in Scandinavia

The Settlement of ReykjavÝk Marker - wide view, English side image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, June 8, 2017
2. The Settlement of ReykjavÝk Marker - wide view, English side
during the Viking Age. By one of these longhouses was a smithy where metal was melted and forged.

At the site was a well organized common zone, utilised in various ways by the inhabitants. Iron was processed from bog iron, barley was worked and baking took place over open hearths in the area. Animal bones found during the excavations show that the settlers hunted birds for food and caught fish and shellfish at sea. They were agricultural people as well and raised cattle and pigs. Walrus ivory was an export commodity in these times but walruses became more scarce by the Icelandic shores in the 11th century.

Research shows that it is probable that more archaeological remains from the early settlement period lie concealed under the modern buildings and road constructions in the city centre. Therefore, the settlement of Reykjavik and the life of the first settlers remains to be explored further. One 10th century longhouse has been preserved and it can be seen at the Settlement Exhibition 871 ▒2 in A­alstrŠti 16.

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(Icelandic side:)

═ mi­bŠnum hafa fundist fornminjar frß ÷llum tÝmum ═slandss÷gunnar og er hÚr a­ finna elstu bygg­ Ý ReykjavÝk. Tali­ er a­ elsta bŠjarstŠ­i­ hafi nß­ frß VonarstrŠti og nor­ur fyrir Grjˇtag÷tu en ß ■vi hafa sta­i­ nokkur h˙s.

Fyrstu landnemarnir komu frß Noregi og Bretlandseyjum ß 9. ÷ld en ■ß

The Settlement of ReykjavÝk Marker - wide view, Icelandic side image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, June 8, 2017
3. The Settlement of ReykjavÝk Marker - wide view, Icelandic side
var umhverfi­ t÷luvert ÷­ruvÝsi en ■a­ er Ý dag. HÚr ˇx birkiskˇgur sem af řmsum ßstŠ­um var a­ mestu horfinn um ßri­ 1000. Sta­a sjßvar var lŠgri og h˙sin ß bŠjarstŠ­inu stˇ­u ß malarkambi sem var einkennandi fyrir svŠ­i­ ß ■essum tÝma.

NßlŠgt h˙sunum lß Tj÷rnin sem var mun stŠrri en n˙ og nß­i ■anga­ sem Dˇmkirkjan stendur. Ůar sem n˙ er LŠkjargata rann lŠkur ˙r Tj÷rninni til sjßvar.

Minjarnar sem hafa fundist Ý mi­Šnum gefa gˇ­a mynd af ■vÝ samfÚlagi sem hÚr mynda­ist ß 9.-10. ÷ld, ß s÷gutima ═slendingasagna. Fˇlk bjˇ Ý skßlum sem var algeng ger­ torfh˙sa Ý Skandinaviu ß vÝkinga÷ld. Vi­ einn ■essara skßla stˇ­ smi­ja ■ar sem mßlmur var brŠddur og unninn. ═ grennd vi­ bŠjarh˙sin var skipulagt athafnasvŠ­i ■ar sem fˇlk kom saman og stunda­i řmis st÷rf. Ůar fˇr fram jßrnvinnsla ˙r mřrarrau­a en rau­inn var sˇttur Ý mřrarnar Ý kring. Vinnsla ß korni og bakstur fˇr fram yfir eldstŠ­um ß svŠ­inu.

Dřrabein sem hafa fundist vi­ fornleifarannsˇknir benda til ■ess a­ landnßmsmenn hafi veitt sÚr fugla til matar og nřtt sÚr au­lindir sjßvar. Ůeir stundu­u landb˙na­ og rŠktu­u me­al annars nautgripi og svÝn. Afur­ir rostungs nřttust vel en ■Šr voru vinsŠlar erlendis og ■vi ver­mŠt ˙tflutningsvara. Rostungum fŠkka­i ■ˇ t÷luvert vi­ strendur landsins 11. ÷ld.

Rannsˇknir sřna a­ fornleifar frß fyrstu tÝ­ liggja undir g÷tum og h˙sum i mi­bŠnum. Ůa­ er ■vÝ margt enn ˇkanna­ var­andi landnßm og fyrstu aldir bygg­ar Ý ReykjavÝk. Einn skßli hefur veri­ var­veittur frß 10. ÷ld en hann er ß Landnßmssřningunni 871 ▒2 Ý A­alstrŠti 16.
 
Location. 64° 8.842′ N, 21° 56.524′ W. Marker is in Reykjavik, Capital Region H÷fu­borgarsvŠ­i. Marker can be reached from the intersection of A­alstrŠti and KirkjustrŠti. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Reykjavik, Capital Region H÷fu­borgarsvŠ­i 101, Iceland.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Theodˇra Thoroddsen (a few steps from this marker); Grjˇgata 4 (within shouting distance of this marker); Adlon (within shouting distance of this marker); T˙ngata 6 (about 90 meters away, measured in a direct line); Laufey Jakobsdˇttir (about 90 meters away); A­alstrŠti 2 - Ingˇlfsnaust (about 120 meters away); VaktarabŠrinn (about 120 meters away); Svava Jakobsdˇttir (about 150 meters away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Reykjavik.
 
More about this marker. The marker is located within the small park (Vikurgar­ur) at the intersection of KirkjustrŠti and A­alstrŠti, and easy to see when within the park. Worth noting is that directly accross the street (A­alstrŠti), set into the sidewalk, is a plexiglass setup into which one may look beneath the surface to see part of the excavated archaeological site. It's a rather underwhelming view, however.
 
Categories. Settlements & Settlers

 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 9, 2018. This page originally submitted on August 9, 2018, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. This page has been viewed 45 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on August 9, 2018, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California.
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