The farm of Vatnsfjörður is located in northwest Iceland, on the fjord of Ísafjarðardjúp. It has played an important role in the settlement and economic history of the Westfjords since the Viking Period: it was one of the main seats of power in the region, and during the later Middle Ages it was one of the richest and most powerful farms in Iceland. Excavations at the site began in 2003, and have so far uncovered the remains of a Viking Age farm complex with dwelling houses, workshops, storage buildings and animal buildings, as well as a large dwelling house, work areas and middens dating from the 17th-19th century. In 2011, excavations will continue on the large 17th-19th century house on top of a large farm mound, where thousands of artefacts have been found, including textiles, ceramics, glass and iron, and hundreds of animal bones.
During the four weeks of the field school, students will be housed in the hotel in nearby Reykjanes. Students will work on site from 8:00 to 17:00, Monday to Friday, and will help with post-excavation work in the evenings. In addition, there will be lectures and practical workshops on most weekday evenings, and for half a day on weekends. Excursions to museums and interesting sites in the region will be organised on weekends. Students will be evaluated on the basis of their participation, a fieldwork portfolio including an excavation diary, and a group project.
Upon their acceptance to the field school, participants will receive a student manual and a reading list, and are expected to have acquainted themselves with these before their arrival in Iceland. The student manual will probably answer most questions about travel and accommodation, project staff, and the teaching curriculum, but any further enquiries can be sent to the director of the field school, Dr Karen Milek