Day 1 at Skutustaðir – Shovel:Check; Trowel:Check; Bug spray:D’oh!

Our first day on site was a success.  Having a few extra bodies certainly didn’t hurt, made the deturfing and shoveling go much more quickly; thank you Howell, Etel, Celine, Stefan, and Oscar.  The weather here has been pretty nice, warm and overcast mostly, and the flies only slightly menacing.  Lake Mývatn (midge lake) is well known in Iceland for swarming flies during much of the summer (here is a link to a nice article about some of the cool fly related research being done by some biologists from the University of Wisconsin – Icelandic midge article).  They were out in full force at times this morning, hence the head nets.

In the pictures here you can see the two trenches we have opened up.  The one wrapping around the house (Area E) is an extension to a much smaller trench that ran inside of it.  Numerous tephra layers are present in the stratigraphy in this area and we are hoping to get more medieval midden material to complete the long chronology that this site has produced.  The tephra layers exposed in the profile from the past trench indicate significant cultural deposits between 1300 and 1700, roughly.

Area E midden deposit

The rectangular trench (Area H) is also an extension from a trench that was excavated last season, and produced a lot of artifacts and animal bones from a deeply stratified midden.  This season we will be continuing to follow it down, approximately 90 cm further to go, and should mostly be medieval material as well.

Area H midden deposit

Video project update: Took a few short videos today and a bunch of pictures.  In the next day or two should get access to a better camera that will be easier to shoot better and longer videos.  Also, the scope of the project is evolving considerably.  More on that once the details are hammered out.

This is just the beginning, stay tuned for more.

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