During construction for a new hotel in 2001, a Viking-era longhouse was discovered under the streets of Reykjavík, and it has been preserved right where it was found (the hotel was completed, presumably with a few modifications). The longhouse was in unusually good condition - not many survive at all - and because of volvanic ash evidence it's been possible to date the house to around the year 871 - just a few years after Iceland was first settled in any meaningful way. As well as the house, there are all kinds of artifacts from the nearby area, accumulated over the course of various excavations.
The museum makes use of the latest in multimedia technology, but it's not just a display of technical wizardry: they make fantastic use of computer and other technology to evoke the era when the house was built, and to explain the way of life that prevailed in Iceland's earliest history. As well as the top-notch exhibits, there was also a museum employee who walked around and gave us additional information and anecdotes: all around, a great museum experience.
This is part of the Reykjavik City Museum; the name actually relates to a layer of tephra was deposited around 871 AD. The plus or minus 2 relates to a degree of accuracy when dating the tephra.
NOTE: tephra is fragmental material created due to volcanic eruption and is classified by size!
It was a rather quiet day in the museum, there were very few of visiting the museum. There is an admission charge for visiting this museum.
Now this was found by pure chance. Remains of a longhouse from the Settlement age were found at an excavation at the south end corner of Aðalstræti, the oldest street in Reykjavík. These are one of the oldest remains to be found in Iceland and there was a museum built around the remains which opened in 2006. They were actually building a hotel there and had to stop the work due to this extraordinary longhouse. Decision was made to make a museum around the longhouse and build the hotel on top.
At the museum there are Viking artefacts on display which were found on this site. I find this museum to be extraordinary and kudos to them for their idea of adding "photos" all around the longhouse of what Reykjavík was like by the time the settlers came - and at the same time the view from the longhouse. They are lit up and from time to time white figures of people working pop up. Extraordinary, I recommend not missing this museum while visiting Reykjavík.
It is almost impossible to build new houses in this and nearby streets as while digging for the foundation there is almost inevitably something to be found in the ground. They started digging on the street opposite Aðalstræti and the same thing happened.
Open daily from 10-17h.
Entrance fee 600 ISK
Now the name of the museum stems from the belief that Ingólfur Arnarson, the first settler, came to Iceland in 874. Now it has been discovered that he might have arrived a couple of years earlier, so 871 +/-2 means give or take a few years.
This fab’ exhibition comprises of the oldest archaeological evidence of human habitation found in Reykjavik and no it doesn’t include empty Brennivin bottles! The 871 in the title refers to the date of the first squatters 871 AD + or – 2 years. The museum building has cunningly been constructed to cover the excavation. It also has a range of interesting artefacts and uses some clever multi-media trickery to explain how folk lived before Reykjavik had shops and clubs:)
This is one of the best museums in Rekjavik. It's built around the excavated ruins of a 871 AD Viking Longhouse. The oldest known building in Reykjavik.