Midden in Skútustađir

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Parent name: Mývatn Landscapes Project

Project Details

Title:Midden in Skútustađir
Abstract:This project aims to gather archaeofauna and other comparative data from a midden dating back to medieval times in Skútustađir, south of lake Mývatn.
Project Start Year:2007

Account Owner

Contact: Fornleifastofnun Íslands
Postal Address: Bárugata 3, 101 Reykjavík, ICELAND
Post Code: 101
Telephone: 00354-5511033
Website: http://www.instarch.is
Email: fsi@instarch.is

Project Content

PDF File
Öskuhaugsrannsóknir á Skútustöđum í Mývatnssveit 2008 - Framvinduskýrsla I [5.50 MB]
A part of a midden in Skútustađir was excavated. Two trenches were opened up and in addition an open profile which had been cleaned previously was moved back and an area behind it excavated. The midden proved to be extensive, up to 1,5 m deep and contains cultural layers from modern times back to the settlement period. It is well stratified, thanks to several tephra layers . Bones are well preserved and have already provided an interesting insight into the development of the Skútustađir farm throughout the centuries. Excavations will continue over the next summers.

PDF File
Archaeoentomological investigations at Skútustađir, Mývatnssveit, N-Iceland [1.17 MB]
This describes the sampling methodology that was used for the collection of bulk samples for archaeoentomology during the summer of 2008, and discusses the results of the preliminary analysis undertaken in 2009-2010. King G. & Forbes V. (2010) Archaeoentomological investigations at Skútustađir, Mývatnssveit, N-Iceland. Université Laval.

PDF File
Excavations at Skútustađir, N. Iceland 2013 Preliminary Report [12.19 MB]
The purpose of the 2013 excavation was to recover additional animal bone, artifacts and botanical samples - from the Middle Ages, roughly AD 1000-1500. To accomplish this, an excavation area E4, a 5 x 5 m trench, was opened adjacent to a previous area E3, investigated in 2010. It was hoped that the new area E4 would contain a continuation of the same deposits of previously found material dating to the Middle Ages. Midden material including animal bone, hearth sweepings, discarded household objects, and discarded turf from this phase were indeed identified and samples revocered. Density of anthropogenic debris increased below the V1477 tephra. In addition, collapsed turf and stone structural remains were encountered and were left unexcavated - their disuse was provisionally, albeit broadly, dated to before the fall of the 1410 Veiđivötn volcanic tephra. An additional test excavation area was opened, Area I, which was a 2 x 3 meter test trench slightly to the south of the hillcrest and of interest because of the dense Early Modern material present. Both excavation areas were exclusively targeting midden material including samples of bone, archaeobotanical remains and artifacts and successfully recovered samples from every phase. The confirmation of the presence of a structure at least as old as the Middle Ages provides a potential subject for future field investigations.

icon Walking on eggshells? Millennial-scale sustainable community management
A new article on the www.futureearth.org website discuss the NABO communities research into over 1000 years of sustainable natural resource management of waterfowl around lake Mývatn, Iceland. Written by Árni Einarsson, Megan Hicks, Kesara Anamthawat–Jónsson and Tom McGovern. Archaeological excavations of a midden at Skútustađir has revealed large numbers of egg shell fragments in contact with the well dated Landnám (871±2 CE) tephra layer. This demonstrates that sustainable egg collection and water fowl began as soon as the first settlers colonised this area.

Project Location

Latitude: 65.566159°N
Longitude: 17.033115°W