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Project Details
Title:Nešri Įs
Abstract:The aim of the project was to excavate an alleged graveyard and church ruin in Nešri-Įs. According to written sources this is supposed to be one of the oldest churches in Iceland.
Project Start Year:1998
Projected End Year:1999

Account Owner
Contact: Fornleifastofnun Ķslands
Postal Address: Bįrugata 3, 101 Reykjavķk, ICELAND
Post Code: 101
Telephone: 00354-5511033

Project Content

PDF File
Nešri Įs Preliminary Excavation Report 1998 [1.52 MB]
The purpose of the excavation in Nešri Įs was to shed light on a ruin, surrounded by an enclosure, thought to be the site of one of the earliest churches in Iceland according to written sources. Several phases of structures were revealed. An upstanding ruin of a sheep house was removed, revealing an earlier phase of another sheephouse, predating tephra from 1766. An even earlier structure was most likely a smithy, judging from slag and other iron-working remains. Earlier buildings are most likely those of the church, the earliest one predating tephra from 1104 - as did some graves revealed. The only remains that could possibly belong to the oldest church are postholes, pointing to a timber structure. The graveyard boundary proved to be later than the homefield boundary which it is built up against - both however predate 1104.

PDF File
Fornleigfarnnsókn į Nešra Įsi ķ Hjaltadal 1998 [0.60 MB]
In 1998 the remains of an alleged church ruin and graveyard in Nešri Įs, Skagafjöršur, were excavated. The oldest church revealed this year postdates tephra from 1104 and had been rebuilt several times after it fell out of use as a church, possibly as late as the 16th century, as a smithy and later (prior to 1766) as a sheephouse. The graveyard is built up against a homefield boundary and is shaped as a half-circle. It clearly postdates the homefield boundary but still both were erected before the 1104 tephra was deposited. Over 30 graves have been found and those who can be related to tephras are most earlier than 1104. The oldest church still remains to be excavated.

PDF File
Forn kirkja og grafreitur į Nešra Įsi ķ Hjaltadal 1999 [0.19 MB]
The aims of the 1999 excavation were to complete the earliest phase of the church in Nešri Įs and to reveal and map graves around it. The earliest church was built soon after the year 1000 and made solely from wood. It was rebuilt at least twice and had turf walls added to it before it burnt down in the late 13th century and the site was reused as a smithy . A total of 83 graves were revealed and it is speculated that the total number could be around 100. The graveyard most likely fell out of use soon after the 1104 tephra was deposited as only two graves clearly postdate it. This is linked to the establishment of a bishopry in Hólar.

Project Location

Latitude: 65.774158°N Longitude: 19.258822°W