Mass Grave Discovered Near Mývatn - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Mass Grave Discovered Near Mývatn

Published July 13, 2015

Photos by
Maroesjka Lavigne

Ongoing archaeological research into a gravesite that was found by Hofsstaðir near Lake Mývatn 25 years ago has thus far revealed 150 skeletons, more than half of them from small children.

RÚV reports that the church yard dates back to the so-called þjóðveldisöld, the period of time in Iceland’s history between the formation of parliament (930) and going under the Norwegian crown (1262).

Over the 25 years that this site has been studied, some 150 skeletons in all have been discovered, of whom 80 belonged to small children. The bones have been well-preserved, however, which will aid scientists in trying to assess what caused these deaths, especially those of the young children. This year will mark the conclusion of research into the site, with excavation of 40 more skeletons planned this year, bringing the total number of skeletons excavated on the site to 170.

According to archeologists, the graveyard is one of the largest such sites from the time period found thus far, so there is much yet left to be discovered with ongoing research of the area. Testing of what the dietary composition of the deceased may have been will begin shortly.

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