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09.05.2020

Herjolfsdalur

Herjólfsdalur is a valley northwest of Heimaey in the Westman islands. Since National Day Westman is held every year on the first weekend of August (bank holiday weekend).

The valley is said to offer advice to Herjólfur, son of Bard Bárekssonar and considered a settler in Westman Island Melabók and romance books about the settlement of Iceland and his son promised Worm the rich. It states that Herjolfur lived in Herjolfsdalur "in the interior of Agisdir, where lava is currently being burned". Sturlubók, on the other hand, says that Hormur was, by necessity, a settler and son of Bardur Barksson, but before he captured the islands, there was a fishing station and the winter residence of a man.

The National Festival of the Westman Islands had been held since early 1874 in Herjolfsdaloor, except in 1973 and 1974, when the valley had been so badly destroyed after the Westman Islands had erupted that it had been held in Bridabacky.

Archaeological research 

In 1924, the raw Matthias Thordarson, the first National Museum of Iceland, in the ruins of the southern side of the pond in Herjólfsdalur. In his opinion, there were three ruins, one main house or a long house and then two small houses. The long house was overgrown and seemed older than the other two. He was convinced that this was the city that Herjólfsdalur Bardarson himself had built. 

In 1971-1983, extensive excavations were carried out in Heriolfsdalür under the direction of Margrethe Hermann-Ardardottir at the same location as Matthias. She worked on the excavations for 5 years, but the study was postponed due to the Heimaey eruption in 1973. The excavation area of Margrethe was about 1300 m². She found traces of about 4-5 construction periods containing eight houses and garden yards. Remains of animal bones from animals, birds and fish were found, which highlight the material of the early Westman Islands. Margaret not only supported the excavation of human remains, but also pollen analysis, which shows significant changes in vegetation and human aggression. Based on her research, Margret proposed the theory that the earliest remains in Herjolfsdalur were from the 8th or even 7th century and she believed that Iceland as a whole was mined at that time, but not at the end of the 9th century as most others thought.

Much was discussed about Margrethe's theory, as it would change the beginning of Icelandic history. The controversy revolves around her interpretation of the age analysis of radiology, but she believed that they showed that the landslide that lay beneath the remains of human remains was much older than about 900 as believed in the study. It was later shown that the landslide fell around 871 years old, and therefore the human remains in Herjolfsdaloor should be younger than that, but there is still debate about whether the age analysis of carbon should target

Today the ruins of Herjólfsdalur are part of the local golf course. In October 2005, on the initiative of the Herjólfsdalsbar Society for Arts and Culture, a new modeling of Herjólfsdalur in the spirit of the original city was launched and the aim was to get as close to the city mentioned in the sources as possible. Arnie Jonsen, Tordur Goodnason and Torstein D. Torstein participated in the construction of the town. Rafnsson, Ezra Ó. Viglundsson and Viglund Kristiansson.

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