The Hvalsey Fjord farms - Excavations at the

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Project Details

Title:The Hvalsey Fjord farms - Excavations at the
Abstract:The ruins at ruin site Ø83a were first recorded and excavated by Aage Roussell in 1935. Originally eight ruins and three cooking pits were recorded. To day four of the ruins have been removed owing to modern cultivation.

Roussell\'s report on the 1935-excavations is very brief and the excavations in 2004 were to look into the state of the remaining ruins and – if possible – to collect material for radiocarbon dating.

In 2004 trenches (2 x 4 m) were made in ruin no. 20 (one trench) and ruin no. 22 (three trenches). The excavations in ruin 20 showed that Roussell\'s 1935-excavations had been comprehensive here and not much was left. It was however possible to conclude that the house had functioned for a short period only. The excavations in ruin 22 revealed a single-phase house with flagged floors. This house too had functioned for a short period only.

No material for radiocarbon dating was collected.

After his 1935-excavation Roussell concluded that the site had no dwelling and he interpreted the buildings at Ø83a as byres, stables and barns calling the site a "dairy farm" connected to the adjacent high status farm Hvalsey fjord farm and church, ruin site Ø83 (Roussell 1941).

House 20 had a byre in the western part of the building and most probably it had a dwelling in the eastern end (see also: Vésteinsson 2008). The ground plan of the houses, the layout of the site and the fact that the houses seem to have been used for at short period suggest that the farm was built at an early stage – most probably at landnam and abandoned shortly after. Two explanations for this early abandonment seem possible 1) that the area was taken over by the nearby high status farm at Hvalsey (Ø83) or 2) the farm Ø83a was a predecessor for the Hvalsey Ø83 farm (Vésteinsson 2005).


Roussell, Aage 1941. Farms and Churches in the Mediaeval Norse Settlements of Greenland. Meddelelser om Grønland vol. 89(1). Copenhagen

Vésteinsson, Orri 2008. Archaeological investigations in Hvalseyjarfjörður, Eystribyggð 2005. Fornleifastofnun Íslands. FS388-05301. Reykjavík

Jette Arneborg, Fuuja Larsen & Niels-Christian Clemmensen, 2009: The "Dairy Farm" of the Hvalsey Fjord Farm. Journal of the North Atlantic. Selected papers from the Hvalsey Conference 2008. Special Volume 2:24-29


Georg Nyegaard, Greenland National Museum & Archives, Nuuk. Then head of Qaqortoq Museum.

Fuuja Larsen, Greenland National Museum & Archives, Nuuk

Niels-Christian Clemmensen, KUAS, The Heritage Agency of Denmark.

Sponsors/Funders: The Commission for Scientific Research in Greenland
Project Start Year:2004
Projected End Year:2004

Account Owner

Contact: Jette Arneborg
Postal Address: Frederiksholms Kanal 12
Post Code: DK-1220 COPENHAGEN K
Telephone: +45 3347 3441

Project Collaborators

Name: Georg Nyegaard
Institution: Greenland National Musuem & Archives
Address: Hans Egedes vej Postboks 145 Nuuk
Postcode: 3900
Country: Greenland
Phone: +299 322611

Project Location

Latitude: 60.828285°N
Longitude: 45.754666°W