A sandstone Thor’s hammer amulet has been found at the Viking-era farmstead Bergsstaðir in Þjórsárdalur valley. The site was last occupied 900 years ago and the amulet is believed to be around the same age. Only one Thor’s hammer has ever been found in Iceland before.
“These are all objects from the Viking age,” said Ragnheiður Gylfadóttir, an archaeologist with Iceland’s Institute of Archaeology, speaking with ruv.is.
When the team arrived at the site, she said, they quickly found rocks that looked like they could have been foundations for longhouse walls. In addition, they found remnants of human habitation, such as an ash pile and burned bones.
“We found a so-called ‘heinarbrýni.’ It’s a type of whetstone that was usually kept on the belt, used to sharpen needles, for example,” continued Gylfadóttir. “And we found a fragment from a soapstone pot.”
Soapstone does not occur naturally in Iceland, so it must have been imported, likely from Norway, where it is found in abundance.
The farmstead is the latest archaeological site discovered in Iceland. The site’s name, Bergsstaðir (‘Bergur’s Place’) honours the man who found it, Bergur Björnsson.
“I just thought there was a long distance between sites out here, so I started searching just for fun,” Björnsson told RÚV.
It looks like there’s plenty more to be found at Bergsstaðir. Remnants of ironwork have been discovered in the area, and archaeologists believe there may have been significant iron working conducted there.
Thor’s Hammer amulets were worn around the neck as pendants by people in the Viking age. It is believed that this came about as a response to the Christian habit of wearing crosses in the same way.