Árbók Hins íslenzka fornleifafélags - 01.01.1967, Blaðsíða 105
Viking Age graves foiind in íceland in 1966—1967
This article is a survey of Viking Age graves found (or learnt of) in Iceland
in 1966—1967. There are 6 finding places, but, owing to factors such as defective
information and poor state of preservation, only three of the finds yield any real
knowledge about heathen burial customs.
The first of those is the grave at Brandsstaðir, Austur-Húnavatnssýsla, Northern
Iceland (no. 2 in the above list), where a man had been buried with a horse at his
feet. The grave had been thoroughly searched by grave robbers a long time ago,
so that no grave objects were found nor could they be expected.
The second is the burial piace at Grimsstaðir, Northern Iceland (no. 3 above).
Here the most remarkable feature is the fact that two horses had been buried in the
same grave and both carcasses had indeed been cut into two or more big parts
before they were laid in the grave. On the photo (fig. 4) the fore-part of one horse
and hind part of the other are seen lying along the two sides of the grave.
The third is a grave at Ormsstaðir, Eastern Iceland (no. 5 in the above list). In
this case the grave was undisturbed by grave robbers but a bulldozer had done
considerable damage to the foot end. In the grave the skeleton of a middleaged
man was lying outstretched on the back. A small axe head lay on the right upper
arm, a small knife blade and 3 balance-weights of lead were found under the left
lower arm. The bones from the feet were removed by the bulldozer, but it does
not seem likely that more objects were ever in the grave. No horse had been buried
with the dead person, although the custom of grave horses was very common in
The three finds, at Brandsstaðir, Grimsstaðir and Ormsstaðir, as well as at least
no. 4 in the above list, were in fact the sad remains of cemeteries where more per-
sons had been buried in the loth century. But it is important that all such finding
places should be diligently registered, though the archaeological value is not great.