Stöng - The Excavated Farm

The Ruins of the medieval farmhouse Stöng

A Team of Nordic Archaeologists excavated the Medieval Farm in 1939

In 1104, Mt Hekla erupted for the first time in the recorded history of Iceland. The eruption destroyed, for instance, an entire district of at least 20 farms in the valley Þjórsárdalur in Árnessýsla.

Over eight centuries later, in 1939, a team of Nordic archaeologists excavated several of these farms. In one location the exceptionally well-preserved remains of an early medieval farmhouse, unparalleled elsewhere in the Nordic cultural area, were discovered under a thick layer of pumice. It was formerly known as Stöng.

 Uppgröftur Stangar árið 1939

The farmhouse at Stöng appears to have been relatively recently built when it was destroyed by the Mt Hekla eruption, because underneath it are remains of on older hall.

Grunnmynd af Stöng í Þjórsárdal

The floor plan of the farmhouse at Stöng shows that the buildings arrangements have now undergone further changes ad taken on a more definite form. The main change is that at one end of the hall is a sitting room (stofa), with an entranceway between them.

At the back of the building there are two buildings attached at not quite right angles. One of these rear buildings is across from the entracne. Two trenches running along the walls indicate that this was most likely a sizeable lavatory.

At the other end of the hall is another, somewhat larger, attached building, the pantry, where there were large, sunken vats of vessels, in whidch food picled in whey was stored.

Remains of a cowshed, hau storage and smithy were also found at Stöng. Later investigations also discovered the remains of a small church and a graveyard. A suggestion has been made that Stöng may have been laid waste by a later eruption from Hekla, but this is still debated.

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