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Iceland

A row of turf houses in Iceland.

Hidden in the Landscape: The Unique Architectural Heritage of Icelandic Turf Houses

Turf houses are a distinctive type of dwelling found in Iceland with origins dating back to the 9 th century AD, which are attributed to the country’s Nordic settlers. The development of turf houses...
The small Thor’s hammer amulet was carved out of sandstone.

Rare Thor’s Hammer Amulet Found in Iceland Casts New Light on Viking Life

In archaeology, anything from the past can be of great importance, including artifacts that may seem rather small and unremarkable at first glance. For example, archaeologists have just announced the...
Digital model of the neopagan Ásatrúarfélagið temple in Iceland.

Neopagans in Iceland Will Build the First Temple to Thor and Odin in 1000 Years

About 1000 years ago, paganism was practically stamped out in Iceland, while Christianity was ushered in. But Nordic neopaganism, under the name of Ásatrúarfélagið (sometimes called Asatru), has now...
"The Black Man", an aspect of Nyarlathotep as described by H. P. Lovecraft in "The Dreams in the Witch House" (1932). (Jens Heimdahl/CC BY SA 4.0) A replica of necropants at The Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft in Holmavik, Iceland. At the right of the pants is the magical symbol (nábrókarstafur) that is part of the ritual and at its feet are coins. The exhibit is behind glass and lit from above with a harsh yellow light. (Bernard McManus/CC BY 2.0)

Necropants: Did Icelandic Sorcerers Really Make Magic Pants Out Of Human Skin?

A museum in Iceland is home to the only known pair of necropants: pants made out of human skin. Legend has it that Icelandic sorcerers would tear the skin off of a dead friend’s body and clothe...
Representative image. The Eruption of Vesuvius in December 1820 by Johann Christian Dahl

Did a Brutal Volcanic Eruption Lead People to Abandon Their Pagan Gods and Embrace Christianity?

Memories of the largest lava flood in the history of Iceland, recorded in an apocalyptic medieval poem, were used to drive the island's conversion to Christianity, new research suggests. A team of...
King Haraldr hárfagri receives the kingdom out of his father's hands. From the 14th century Icelandic manuscript Flateyjarbók.

Icelander Sagas May Have More Truth to Them than You Think

Myths and legends – purely the creation of creative and imaginative minds, right? Not necessarily. Numerous stories, sagas, and texts from the ancient past have been proven to hold facts. For example...
Elkhound, a Viking Dog.

Viking Dogs Followed Their Masters to Valhalla

By THORNEWS Large amounts of animal bones have been found in Viking Age ship graves. For example, there were eight large sighthounds (Old Norse: mjór) buried on both sides outside the ship In the...
Elves and other fairy folk.

Divine, Demonic, or Something In-Between: How the Changing Face of Elves Reflects the Zeitgeist

Just as human culture has changed over the centuries, supernatural creatures also change with time. For example, elves were originally a type of nature spirit similar to Nymphs in Greek mythology...
Archaeologists dig at the site of the first ship burial, where the human and dog bones, the ship and sword were found. You can see how close the waters of the fjord are in the background.

Three Boat Burials of Viking-era Chiefs Found in as Many Days at Icelandic Site

Archaeologists have announced that they found three Viking-age boat burials in quick succession on a fjord along Iceland’s northern coast this week. They believe they may find more Viking burials in...
Reconstruction of a Viking meeting by Jonathan Hart

Vikings Used Sherwood Forest Long Before It Was Known as the Hideout of Robin Hood

A team of archaeologists has made a significant discovery at an ancient monument which served as a Viking meeting point in Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, England. Archaeologists stated that the...
Depiction of Surtr – a powerful fire giant mentioned in the Viking age.

A Viking Flame Reborn: Myths and History Hidden in the Depths of Blackener's Cave

Forged by the mythological fires of Muspell, the Blackener's Cave lives up to its name as a cavern of fiery mystique. The volcano to which the cave is attached has long been silent, but Blackener...
Drinking Horn by Brynjólfur Jónsson of Skarð, South Iceland – 1598

Icelandic Drinking Horn Changes Our Historic Understanding of Saint Olav

After the Reformation, Norway's Olav Haraldsson was no longer supposed to be worshipped as a saint. An Icelandic drinking horn offers some clues on how the saint's status changed over time. Drinking...
Highland along Kjolur, Iceland

The Kjolur Route: Haunted Highway and Ancient Viking Shortcut in Iceland

Positioned on a desert upland in the highlands of Iceland, the Ancient Kjolur Trail gives a new meaning to the word “desolation.” This lengthy, winding thoroughfare, that leads visitors across an...
"Alchemist Sędziwój" by Jan Matejko: alchemist, and pioneer chemis.

Icelandic Magic, Witchcraft, and Sorcery and the Tragic Case of Jón Rögnvaldsson

Traditions relating to the dark and fascinating practices of witchcraft in Iceland are as old as the first human settlements on the island. Countless people paid for these practices with their lives...
The Viking Discovery of Iceland

The Viking Discovery of Iceland

The Vikings’ next step out into the Atlantic – the discovery and settlement of Iceland – is one of the best documented events of the Viking Age. Medieval Icelanders were fascinated by genealogy, not...
The 1,000-year-old Viking sword discovered in Iceland.

1,000-Year-Old Viking Sword Discovered in Iceland by Men Hunting Geese

A group of hunters tracking geese in Skaftárhreppur, South Iceland, brought back more than just birds on their latest trip – they found a 1,000-year-old Viking sword lying completely exposed in the...

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