National Geographic : 1898 Mar
DWELLINGS OF THE SAGA-TIME IN versity of Copenhagen, chose for the subject of his thesis "Pri vate Dwellings in Iceland in the Saga-time."* In preparing for this he read every saga of his native literature, comparing each description, sentence, and word relating to his subject, until in imagination he had reconstructed every form of dwelling and outhouse of the Saga-days. These buildings differed considera bly from the design given by Finsen in his edition of Gunnlaug's Saga, printed in 1775, which was the accepted model until the publication of Dr Gudmundsson's work. In 1894 Lieutenant Daniel Brunn, of the Danish navy, was sent by the Danish government to make extended researches among the Norse ruins in Greenland. These researches went far toward confirming the results of Dr Gudmundsson's studies. It was therefore with much gratification that Dr Gudmunds son (who was by that time professor of Old Norse literature and history at the University of Copenhagen) accepted my commis sion to direct archeological researches for me among the ruined dwellings and other works of man in Iceland during the summer season of 1895.t He took with him from Copenhagen another Icelander named Thorsteinn Erlingsson, and to him the greater part of the work is to be accredited, for Dr Gudmundsson was in attendance at the Icelandic Parliament and could not be present in the field himself. ICELAND The Icelandic Antiquarian Society has done some good work in the field. They have identified and roughly measured the ruins of many historical farms and of several hundred booths at some of the old open-air law courts called "things." One or two pagan temples have been dug out and carefully described, and many burial mounds, which also belonged to the pagan days. The ancient dwellings were situated on sloping ground, near rivers or fjords. From the early days this has been believed to be the ruin of the house built by Erik the Red in the Hawk River valley soon after his marriage with Thorhild, and here his eldest son Leif was probably born. Erik lived in four different places in Ice * " Privatboligen paa Island i Saga-Tiden " af Valtyr Gudmundsson. Copenhagen, 1889. Andr. Fred. Host & Sons, Forlag. SThe report of this expedition will soon be published by the Viking Club of London under the title of " Ruins of the Saga-Time." t The researches of this society are published yearly at Reykjavik, Iceland, in the "Arb6k hins Islenzka Fornleifafelags."