Mapping a submerged historic landscape - Investigating the underwater archaeology of Þingvallavatn

Northern shores of Þingvallavatn

The focusarea of 2023 underwater archaeological survey. Photo.

We are delighted to announce that later in the summer, an underwater archaeological research project investigating the submerged historic landscape of Þingvellir on the northern shores of Þingvallavatn will take place. This project aims to identify and map archaeological remains which were previously above water on land but which over time have become submerged beneath the lake due to land subsidence in the Þingvellir valley, which has been measured up to 4m in depth since 1000AD. The research will involve the use of a number of remote sensing techniques including drone and side-scan sonar surveys in combination with targeted underwater archaeological inspection dives and photo-grammetrical recording. This will be the first time this type of research has been carried out in Þingvallavatn for archaeological investigation. In addition to the archaeological remains, it is also hoped that the results of this project will shed new light on how people interacted with the lake environment in the past in one of Iceland´s most historically important landscapes.


The project is led by underwater archaeologist Dr Kevin Martin and will involve a team of marine archaeologists from Iceland, Sweden, Denmark and Australia. The project is supported by a research grant awarded from the Antiquities Fund/ Fornminjasjóður 2023 allocation and financial and practical assistance from the Þingvellir National Park. We wish the project team the very best of luck with this exciting research and look forward to posting more updates once the project is underway.


Project Team

Dr Kevin Martin – Project Leader, Nordic Maritime Group (NMG)

Jens Lindström - Nordic Maritime Group (NMG)

Jørgen Dencker – Former Head of Maritime Archaeology, Roskilde Viking Ship Museum

Dr John McCarthy - Flinders University, Adelaide.

Gunnar Grímsson - Þingvellir National Park