Excavation of Greenland Nordic settlement planned for July

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Icelandic archaeologist Orri Vésteinsson will lead an excavation project in Garðar of the Eastern Settlement in Igaliku fjord in south Greenland in July and August this summer, where the remains of a church and other buildings from the Middle Ages are located. Garðar served as bishopric for the Nordic settlement in Greenland. 

The site of the Medieval Nordic settlement in Igaliku fjord in south Greenland [Credit: Páll Stefánsson]

Three other archeologists from the Icelandic Institute of Archaeology and seven archeologists from the US and Greenland will also take part in the project, Morgunblaðið reports. 

In 2005, well-preserved animal bones and objects that are believed to date back to the Nordic settlement were discovered when wetlands near the remains were drained. This summer’s excavation will be focused on this area. 

After the banking collapse in 2008, state funding to archaeological expeditions have been cut significantly. 

In 2011, ISK 50 million (USD 384,000, EUR 309,000) were allocated to such projects in Iceland but funding has been cut by 30-40 percent this year. Therefore, Icelandic archaeologists have increasingly joined projects abroad. 

Icelandic archaeologists have been involved in excavations in Greenland on earlier occasions, but this will be the first time that an Icelander will lead an archeological project in the country. 

The project is a collaboration between the Icelandic Institute of Archaeology, University of Iceland, the National Museum in Nuuk and the City University of New York. It is sponsored by NSF, the National Science Foundation in the US.  

Source: Iceland Review [June 05, 2012]

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