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“The younger hall is the richest in Iceland so far,” Einarsson said. “It is hard not to conclude that it is a chieftain’s house.”

The 40 metre-long hall contained a prized hoard of ornamental beads, silver and ancient coins. They included Roman and Middle Eastern silver coins, and ‘hacksilver’ – bent pieces of silver used as currency by the Vikings.

Einarsson thinks it was a seasonal settlement or camp, occupied only during the northern hemisphere summer and maybe into the autumn.

Areas of the older building reveal it was one of the largest long houses ever found in Iceland.

“We know that the westernmost part of the older hall was a smithy [for working with metal] — the only smithy within a hall known in Iceland,” Einarsson said.

He said the site follows a pattern of gradual expansion through the North Atlantic islands.

“First, we had the seasonal camps, and then the settlement followed.”


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