A­alstrŠti 14-18

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Project Details

Title:A­alstrŠti 14-18
Abstract:This project aimed to fully excavate all archaeological remains in A­alstrŠti 14-18, ReykjavÝk in advance of proposed development. The area is historically known as an industrial area at the time of "the factories" (InnrÚttingarnar) in the 18th century. However, it was a pleasant surprise to reveal a well preserved Viking Age hall under undisturbed layers predating the factories.
Project Start Year:2001
Projected End Year:2002

Account Owner

Contact: Fornleifastofnun ═slands
Postal Address: Bßrugata 3, 101 ReykjavÝk, ICELAND
Post Code: 101
Telephone: 00354-5511033
Website: http://www.instarch.is
Email: fsi@instarch.is

Project Content

PDF File
Archaeological Excavations at A­alstrŠti 14-18 - 2001 A Preliminary Report [1.54 MB]
A major archaeological excavation was carried out at A­alstrŠti 14-16, ReykjavÝk between January and June 2001 in advance of proposed redevelopment. The work was undertaken by Fornleifastofnun ═slands on behalf of ┴rbŠrsafn, the Reyjavik City Museum. Previous archaeological work at and adjacent to the site between 1971-741, had revealed the remains of a number of structures, dating both to the settlement period and to the 18th-19th century. The new excavations revealed a complex sequence of remains from the latter period, and beneath these, the exceptionally well preserved remains of a Viking period skßli (or hall). Additionally, the skßli was found to overlay the fragmentary traces of an earlier phase of occupation, thought to represent the earliest known archeological remains in Iceland. A large number of artefacts was recovered, although primarily from the more recent layers. An extensive program of environmental sampling was undertaken and included the complete recovery of probable floor layers associated with the skßli.

PDF File
Excavations at A­alstrŠti, 2003 [3.64 MB]
During excavation in A­alstrŠti in 2001 a well preserved Viking Age hall was uncovered. The decision was taken to preserve it in-situ and to construct a public exhibition space around the extant remains. This decision required a sensitive re-design of the proposed development – including the re-routing of several major services (water, electricity and sewerage) - and this process itself necessitated additional archaeological work. Excavation in 2003 revealed a small ancillary building attached to a doorway in the eastern wall of the Viking period hall, together with internal paving, floor layers and a possible external midden. The ancillary building is interpreted as a porch or anteroom for the main entrance. The fragmentary remains of 18th and 19th buildings and deposits were also excavated, towards the western limit of the excavation area – although these had been substantially truncated by modern cellarage. A large assemblage of early modern / modern artefacts were recovered from these layers.

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Zooarchaeology of A­alstrŠti 14-16, 2001 - Report of the Viking Period Animal Bones (NORSEC Report 2) [0.54 MB]
The 2001 excavations of a Viking-Age hall at A­alstrŠti 14-16 in downtown ReykjavÝk produced a small and highly fragmented collection of burned animal bone. The bone collection derived from the hall floor layers and was recovered through flotation and retention of 1 mm mesh sink fraction. Approximately 3 % of the collection could be identified, allowing for only the most basic quantification. Nevertheless, all the major Settlement Period domestic mammals are represented (Cattle, Caprine, Pig, Horse) as are tusks of what may be local Icelandic walrus.

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Walrus Tusks & Bone From A­alstrŠti 14‐18, ReykjavÝk Iceland (NORSEC Lab Report 55) [1.02 MB]
Three tusks from large mature walrus (Odobenus rosmarus L.) were recovered in 2001 from excavations by Archaeological Institute Iceland (FS═) within the early settlement age hall at A­alstrŠti 14‐18 in downtown ReykjavÝk Iceland. These were made available for study at the FS═ research center shortly after excavation and have since been included in the exhibit of the ReykjavÝk 871+/‐2 Museum. These tusks showed clear signs of expert extraction from the dense maxillary bone, and apparently reflect successful hunting of Icelandic walrus by the first settlers. In 2010 the staff of the Reykjavik 871+/‐2 Museum kindly aided study of large bones still embedded in the lower portion of the preserved turf wall and door sill of the hall (skßli) structure. These bones proved to be a partially articulated vertebral column and scapula of large mature walrus. This paper reports on both sets of walrus bone and tusk finds from the early hall at A­alstrŠti 14‐18 , which together provide an intriguing indication of walrus hunting in early Iceland.

Project Location

Latitude: 64.146768°N
Longitude: 21.941643°W