Skagafjörður Church and Settlement Survey


June 17, 2017
by John Steinberg
1 Comment

Hegranesþing Geophysical Prospection and Coring Report – now available

We have put up the report on the 2016 geophysics and coring report from the work at Hegranesþing on the farm of Garður.  Hegranesþing is an important Viking Age assembly site.   The report presents evidence for specific locations of  Viking Age domestic activity.

June 10, 2017
by John Steinberg

Egg on Hegranes 2016 Report Available

We  have put up the report on the 2016  coring, geophysics and test excavations at the Farm of Egg.  Recently we received a AMS date from Test Pit 1, context [105] –  A piece of barley.  The date was 1145 ±15  calendar years before present, which calibrates to AD  777-790,  AD 827-841, and AD 865-971 (in the 2 sigma range).  The report will be updated with this new information.

June 9, 2017
by John Steinberg

2016 Keflavík Cemetery Report Available.

Guðný Zoëga and Doug Bolender have put up the report on the 2016 Keflavík Cemetery excavations.  One of the most interesting parts of the report is Feature 153, which is a series of spade marks up against the eastern cemetery wall.  More about that strange feature can be found on page 9 of the report.


December 31, 2016
by John Steinberg
1 Comment

Over 45,000 visitors to Glaumbaer In 2016

Visitors to the museums

Visitors to the museums

The Glaumbær turf house museum has welcomed over 45,000 visitors this year.  You can see the full Icelandic article at Below is a Google English translation.

That number is more than 10% of the population of Iceland (324,000), but only a little over 3% of the 1.2 million or so tourists that visit the island.


Growing number of Visitors

If visitors Víðimýri are included museum workers have received 57,828 visitors in 2016. Visitors Víðimýri was 8,308, a slight increase from last year. Guests Heritage The House was 4,518, which is double the previous year and guests in the old town in Glaumbær was 45,002. The highest increase in the number of visitors in the old town in Glaumbær in April, May, September and October. Doubling the number of reviews Heritage House explained that no entrance fee was taken into the events, this year and the increase was the tourists who went on Sauðárkrók year. summer compared to the year before.
If stays checked everywhere in Skagafjörður, where performances are more or less based on a collection of artifacts from Regional Folk Museum, as the emigration Emigration Center and the Historical Center of Icelandic horse at Hólar, the visitors 57974. If Víðimýri added 66,828 visitors visited the exhibition and archaeological remains as a museum linked in 2016.

July 27, 2016
by John Steinberg
1 Comment

Feykir Newspaper article about SCASS work in Icealnd

FeykirThere is an article in the local online paper today ( about some of our work and in particular some of the finds.


This is an awkward google translation of the article, but it gives some idea:

Rare Finds in Hegranes

The summer has archaeological department of the regional museums Skagfirðinga in cooperation with the American archaeologists from the University of Massachusetts in Boston (UMass) gained by research on the Onboard Hegranes SK affiliate program called Skagafjordur church and built history study. Guðný Zoëga, bone, Economist and Head fornleifadeildar regional museums Skagfirðinga, has conducted excavations of the town of Keflavik Hegranes but this is the second summer of the three project.

According Guðný Keflavik has been found somewhat plump sive church building and about 45 graves in the cemetery circular, with misheillegum skeletons. The cemetery has been put into the year 1000 and is in use over in 1104, probably laid by the first two decades of the twelfth century.

Two remarkable artifacts have been found in the studies in the summer. Otherwise, it is the money that was found in the church building in Keflavik, however, it is very beautiful beinprjónn in Viking style, but for the carved animal heads. Beinprjónninn found in the rubbish heap of antique farm Koti in the country Hella land is located close to the church instead. It was Josiah Wagener, conservator project handled the cleaning of the finds. Wagener told the reporter blotted both artefacts seem at first glance quite rare. The Silver Coin is similar silver coins that have been found in Scandinavia, however, several factors that Wagener believes special but looked to be experts on money to analyze how the coin is the case. Beinprjónninn with animal head is extremely rare gift, but only four of these have been found in this country. Two of these four Gürr needles have been found Hegranes addition knitting in Koti was beinprjónn with animal head in a grave in Keldudal summer of 2003. Below you can see the precious majestic.

July 21, 2016
by John Steinberg

2015 SCASS Reports now online

There are five new reports available that describe the 2015 field season of SCASS. Additional reports can be found on the reports page for the Skagafjordur Heritage Museum.

Keflavik_Cemetery_Excavation_ReportThe Cemetery Report describes the detailed excavations of the cemetery.



Survey_Report_2015The Survey Report describes the results of the coring and small test pits at 5 farms: Keflavík, Garður, Ás, Keldudalur, and Hróarsdalur.



Hegranesping_Geophysics_ReportThe Hegranesping Geophysics Report describes two years of work, mostly on the southern side, near the church



Fornbyli_ReportThe Abandoned Farm Report describes Kathryn Catlin’s work on the small farms.  This is part of her dissertation work.



Early_Modern_Test_Pits_ReportThe Early Modern Test Pit Report describes the upper portions of test pits at Keflavík and Ás.

July 14, 2016
by John Steinberg
1 Comment

Skagafjordur Heritage Museum wins Award for Excellence


Sig­ríður Sig­urðardótt­ir, director of the museum, with the President of Iceland.

The  Byggðasafns Skagfirðinga (Skagafjordur Heritage Museum) has won an award for excellence.  The news article in the Morgunblaðið, the paper of record in Iceland, is effusive.    Below is a google translation of the article.  It is not great, but you will get the idea.





Fyrsta verkið var að koma upp geymslu

These awards include first and foremost a recognition of our work and strengthen us to action – we think it will keep on,” says Sigridur Sigurdardottir, Director, Regional Folk Museum, which today won the Icelandic safnaverðlaunin when they were delivered in 10 time solemn ceremony at. Prize money of one million.

According Sigridur operations Regional Folk Museum transformation in the almost thirty years that have passed since she was appointed Museum Director. “My first work as a director was coming up storage for the museum. The museums are mainly to do is to collect relics, objects and sources of human life and land use. When I took the museum at the time consisted of performances held only in the old turf farm in Glaumbær originally opened to the public in 1952. It was not possible to accept more will where no storage facilities existed nor facilities for staff, “says Sigrid and points out that venues has increased and employees.

Made by a number of guests who exhibits the world each year, says Sigrid it varies by location. “Annually submit three to four thousand visitors their way Minjahúsið Sauðárkrókur. Þorfinnsson were over 40 thousand visitors last year, well over 95% of guests are foreign tourists, “says Sigrid and points out that the visitor experience is a strong turf farm. “With his visit perceive visitors firsthand how people lived on the farm at the time. The town is extremely remarkable, but he is the richest turf farm country and probably the richest turf farm world, “says Sigrid.
Extends far beyond the actual location of the museum

The Adjudication Committee stated that the activities of the museum is ambitious and comprehensive, which is cultivated in every aspect of museum work in a professional manner. “The museum possesses rich collections accumulated since its establishment in 1952 and staff use validated methods of collection, cataloging, research and dissemination that meet the demands of the contemporary museum. Furthermore, the museum cultivate partnerships of various types, both locally and internationally. That collaboration Command in the category of leading gather in Iceland today, “the justification.

Also states that the museum stands for sophisticated research work that weaves in a successful manner with other aspects of museum work, ie collection, preservation and dissemination. “Especially to mention extensive archaeological research that not only promote the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge in Skagafjörður cultural heritage, but the cultural and historical value nationally and internationally. The integration of research and teaching and dissemination expand further the functions of the museum, which appears among others activities Traditional Crafts School and more accessible version of research results on the portfolio. ”

Then also states that the activities of the local museum will reach far beyond the actual location. Performances are beyond the region than the main base for Glaumbær, such as Fair Sauðárkrókur Municipal Museum and the main show in emigration Emigration Center, which also is an example of a cooperative under the professional guidance of the local museum.

The cooperation of the museum with schools, institutions and tourism show how the collection can contribute to increased knowledge of cultural heritage and thus enhance professionalism in his brokerage.

“The museum has a team of qualified personnel on guard with enthusiasm and ambition has been able to ship it on a par with the leading of its kind in the country.”

April 7, 2016
by John Steinberg

Brown Bag Talk (Tues April 12@12:30) Sigríður Sigurðardóttir – From Text to Trowel: how a local rural heritage museum thrives in the 21st century

Coring in the ash midden outside the turf house museum

Coring in the ash midden outside the turf house museum

Sigríður Sigurðardóttir, Director of the Skagafjörður Heritage Museum will give a Brown Bag talk on  Tuesday, April 12 at 12:30 t UMass Boston in McCormack 1/503. The talk is  titled “From Text to Trowel:  how a local rural heritage museum thrives in the 21st century.”

The talk will describe the diverse portfolio of activities that the Skagafjörður Heritage Museum conducts that make it a vibrant center of cultural life for a valley in northern Iceland that has 6000 people and is located 60 miles south of the artic circle.  The Museum mixes local and international projects with traditional and cutting edge approaches to work in areas that require knowledge of hard science and local legend. The museum embraces 40,000 or so tourists every year but has a café frequented by locals. The Museum also offers international courses that take advantage of the regional knowledge of the traditional craft of turf house building.  Finally, she will describe how the small archaeological department has become one of the largest recipients of Icelandic government grants.

The Skagafjörður Heritage Museum is UMass Boston’s Partner in the National Science Foundation funded Skagafjörður Church and Settlement Survey (SCASS).  That project will run for 3 years and has received well over $500,000 in grants.

April 2, 2016
by John Steinberg
1 Comment

Doug Bolender stars on Vikings Unearthed

Doug Bolender, Sarah Parcak, and Dan Snow in Newfoundland

There have been more than 80 articles about the upcoming PBS/BBC/Nova special:  Vikings UnearthedA two-hour program premiering online Monday, April 4 at 3:30 pm EDT. The show will air Wednesday, April 6 on PBSDoug Bolender, a research assistant professor in the Anthropology Department and the Fiske Center for Archaeological Research, is featured in this New York Times story about a possible Viking settlement in North America. Watch him talk about his involvement in this  discovery Monday at 3:30 p.m. on and Wednesday night at 9 on PBS. Watch the trailer here.

Some of the Vikings Unearthed documentary was filmed on Hegranes in Skagafjörður with members of the SCASS project.  Filming took place at Keflavík and Ás.

Skip to toolbar