The 871±2 Settlement Exhibition

Iceland welcomed its first permanent resident in the 9th century, when Ingólfur Arnarson landed on the shores of Reykjavík. Today, most physical traces of early Viking culture have vanished, so it was a big deal when, in 2001, a longhouse was discovered in the center of the capital. After careful excavation, it’s been opened to visitors as the the 871±2 Settlement Exhibition.

871±2 Settlement Exhibition

The strange name of the exhibition refers to the year the discovered settlement has been dated to, plus or minus the two-year range of error. And since Ingólfur was thought to have arrived in 874, it’s safe to say that the remains found on Aðalstræti are among the very earliest traces of humanity anywhere in Iceland.

Apart from the longhouse itself, there isn’t a whole lot to see within the exhibition; just artifacts found around the grounds like an axe handle or a flint stone. But the house itself is interesting and there’s an incredible amount of information about the settlement era. It can be rewarding for those who don’t mind taking time to read. The exhibition is fairly high-tech, with multimedia exhibits recreating life in the era, and interactive programs that illuminate early Icelandic language and culture.

871±2 Settlement Exhibition underground

The Settlement Exhibition is perfect for a rainy day in Reykjavík, when you have time to kill and are in the mood for some history. A comprehensive visit takes about an hour, and provides a nice overview of the Vikings who settled Iceland.

Location our Iceland Map

The Settlement Exhibition – Website

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