Pagan Remains Being Excavated In The Westfjords - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Pagan Remains Being Excavated In The Westfjords

Published June 8, 2015

Photos by
Maroesjka Lavigne

Human remains thought to date back to pre-Christian Iceland are being excavated near a hotel in a remote corner of the Westfjords.

Birna Mjöll Atladóttir, who owns the hotel at Breiðavík við Látrabjarg at the westernmost tip of the Westfjords, has had some unlikely colleagues at the location for the past 15 years now, RÚV reports. Namely, archaeologists from the Icelandic Institute of Archeology, who have been excavating human remains around the area that were first discovered in 1912.

At that time, workers building a house discovered a grave that appeared to date from pagan times. When Birna and her family began to do further work around the house, they discovered even more human remains. Especially interesting was finding horse bones in one such human grave, possibly indicating the grave of a chieftain, who were often buried with their steeds.

Birna has taken a philosophical approach to the situation, telling reporters that she wants the bones to stay where they are.

“If these [bones] are from pagans, I’m not going to be the one to bury them in Christian ground,” she said, when asked if she had considered giving the departed a church burial. She added that she cannot imagine the bones being put in storage, either, as her whole family has grown accustomed to them.

You can check out a couple photos of the bones found so far here.


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