From Iceland — Potentially The Oldest Boat Picture Discovered in Stöðvarfjörður

Potentially The Oldest Boat Picture Discovered in Stöðvarfjörður

Published June 21, 2023

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Facebook / Landnámsskáli í Stöð

On June 15, RÚV reported that archaeologists in Stöðvarfjörður discovered an ancient sandstone carved with a picture of a boat. The stone was found within a longhouse believed to have served as the residence of a foreign ruler during the pre-settlement era. The etching could be the oldest in the country.

In recent years, archaeologists have been conducting annual summer excavations in Stöðvarfjörður, specifically at Stöð, where they have been investigating a settlement longhouse and an even older longhouse that was unexpectedly discovered beneath it. Through age analysis, it has been discovered that the older longhouse predates the actual settlement of Iceland and served as an outpost for individuals sent to extract valuable resources by a foreign ruler. The extensive array of artefacts and relics found indicates the presence of whaling and fish oil processing activities.

This spring, a wider area surrounding the site was scanned using a geoscope, revealing additional structures and a number of shipwrecks. Although exploratory excavations have yet to confirm the remnants of a boat, intensive excavations are currently underway at the older longhouse site.

Bjarni F. Einarsson, the archaeologist leading the excavation, explains that the stone was found within the wall of the older longhouse. Carvings of ships, similar to this one, are relatively common in Nordic countries, crafted from bone, wood or stone. However, this discovery marks the first known ship drawing found in Iceland, making it the oldest known picture of its kind in Iceland.

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