The US Ambassador to Iceland and his family visited us at Thelamerkursoli where the crew are
staying and the ambassador, his wife, son, and granddaughter came along on a tour of the Skuggi site.
We had a wonderful time with them and thank them all for their interest and kindness.
Here is the link to the Ambassador’s blog.
After a three year absence we are back working at Skuggi in Hörgárdalur (Eyjafjörður).
Howell, Aaron, Sant Mukh (who left us today for work in the south of Iceland), Michael, Brenda, Norie (who arrived on Monday) and I have been working on extending out 2009 trench for one week and a half and are making steady progress!
We have more or less exposed the walls of the structure’s interior, while still excavating multiple layers of midden materials infilling that structure dating before the late 10th c. AD.
Beyond the beautiful view, the horses, and the generally outstanding weather, the archaeology is keeping us busy and happy. We have found a lot of bones, several stone tools and jasper fragments, and very well preserved artifacts made from animal bone.
1 bone comb fragment
3 gaming pieces made from Haddock bone
3 pieces of carved/incised artifacts made from animal bone that have to be analyzed further.
We are looking forward to two more exciting weeks in the field, followed by the NABO 2013 conference in Akureyri, our current home town.
In October the City University of New York’s Graduate Center hosted the first annual HERC Open Workshop. We had lectures from researchers from the UK, Sweden and the U.S. It was a great success and we’re already looking forward to next year.
All of the contributors to this blog (myself, Konrad, Ramona, and Megan) gave short talks at the workshop. You can see the slides from our lectures and all of the others by clicking the link below.
High up north in the Atlantic Ocean, on a peninsula at the mouth of a fjord, one can experience the local wildlife, including abundant Arctic Terns, elusive Polar Foxes on very rare occasions, and many other sea bird species. And fish of course, and fishing boats …
Before we began our excavation season Zach Zorich flew over to Iceland and traveled up to Gufuskálar with our site director Lilja Pálsdóttir for a tour of the site. His photos look great and he wrote about some of the other work being done in Iceland as well.
The team arrived on Siglunes Monday evening and got settled into the 100 year old house called Þormóðshús after a nice trip from Reykjavik to Akureyri by car and from Siglufjörður to Siglunes by boat.
Yesterday morning, the crew inspected the mounds that were mapped and planned in 2011 and were a bit shocked to find that the preservation of many of the cleaned profiles had further deteriorated and many structural elements, especially large stones, had fallen out of the sections.
This experience made us realize the unique chance we had to preserve some of the information held by the archaeological remains through documenting all the ruins last year and through excavating some of the most threatened ones this season.
The pictures below are both from Mound C; the one on the left from the 2011 season with a lot of the stones in the exposed section alligned in such a way that one interpretation is that this could have once been a platform for drying fish. It could have also been part of the structure‘s back wall instead, again indicating how little of some of these ruins remains. The picture on the right is from the same structure, taken one year later. Much of the structure has been further eroded by the sea, as indicated by the stones that have fallen out of the section and the more or less collapsed profile.
Howell and Birna have started cleaning the debris from Mound D at the very western edge of the peninsula; this ruin has a large whale bone as one of its structural components. The picture shows Birna and Sirry inspecting how much this structure was damaged by the sea.
To reach this structure‘s occupational layers, a lot of beach cobbles had to be moved away!
Sirrý and I have cleaned and sectioned Mound F and started excavating it. We have removed some modern collapse and will deal with occupation layers in the next few days. This badly eroded structure may still hold some information on human activity in the Middle Ages . The picture below shows the structure before excavation, with the two little mounds indicating walls made from turves and stones.
So far, the weather has been very windy but warm.
The Siglunes team.
This video was shot by some of our comrades in the Global Human Ecodynamics Alliance (GHEA), a group which all of the authors of this blog are a part of as well. This video was shot on the Orkney Islands in Scotland and in it children learn about the “hogboon” or the spirit who inhabits a burial mound and gave good luck to the farm. They also learned how archaeologists survey the land for sites and record them.
Our project in Siglunes, at the very Northern end of Eyjafjörður is about to start.
Birna Lárusdóttir (FSÍ), Howell Roberts (FSÍ), Sigríður (Sirrý) Þorgeirsdóttir (FSí) and I will leave sunny and warm Reykjavík next Monday morning for the far north. The weather up there may be somewhat less friendly, but we are prepared and will make the best of whatever conditions we encounter.
Since we will only be there for two weeks this year, we have to plan very carefully to make the most out of this short season.
We hope to excavate at least one of the most endangered ruins on the ‘-nes´ or peninsula and sample a midden deposit from one of the eroding fishing structures planned and mapped last year. Plans depend on site conditions and are subject to change.
Thanks to Baldur, Pétur, Unnsteinn and all the kids who participated in Kid´s Archaeology Project in Þingeyarsysla, Iceland, this year! We learned about zooarchaeology, viking graves, and landscape survey. Awesome group of kids and some were back for their second year. Let’s keep this up. ~Megan
We are archaeologists at the CUNY Graduate Center’s Human Ecodynamics Research Center (HERC). Follow us as we head into the field to work at four sites in the North Atlantic. Living and working at each site presents its own challenges and we hope to offer stories of how archaeology gets done rather than just present the results of our research. click to read more
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