Excavation in 1957

A small excavation was made in 1957, when a double-crook crosier dating from the 11th century was unearthed when an electrical cable was being laid to Hotel Valhöll. It was found in a low-lying, uneven patch of grassy ground a short distance north of the eastern end of the bridge across the Öxará River to the south of the Thingvellir house.

Curator Gísli Gestsson visited the site and excavated there.  It was identified by Kristján Eldjárn, general director of the National Museum of Iceland and later President of Iceland, "as a tau cross or tau crosier. It consists of socket in which the top end of a staff of cornel wood is still preserved - with two symmetrically placed crooks, all cast of bronze in one piece.

The metal is now oxidized to a dark green and there are no traces of gilding. On both sides of the socket there are engraved lines running through loops of the well known Ringerike or rune stone kind. The crooks are terminated by animal heads typical of the Urnes style, with an elongated pointed eye filling almost all the open space of the head, long twisted lip-lappets and degenerate head-lappets.

The object must certainly be grouped with the monuments and the Urnes style and consequently it should very likely be dated to the third quarter of the eleventh century, a period roughly coinciding with the term of office of the first bishop of Iceland."