Excavation in 1999

In 1998 the Institute of Archaeology commenced preparation and gathering of sources for an archaeological excavation on the area around Þingvellir Church.

The excavation took place in 1999. A trench was dug, ten metres long and two metres deep, from the northwest corner of the present church. Finds included the foundation of a 16 th-century church and traces of its structure, and an assembly booth nearby. The results indicate that a farm was not established at Þingvellir until after it had become an assembly site. Georadar readings were also taken at several locations.

Among the finds made during the excavation was an intact silver coin which turned out to be Norwegian and dating from the period 1065-80. It is an imitation of a coin from the reign of Ethelred II or Canute the Mighty which were minted in England around the millennium (997-1003).

As far as is known, no identical coin, i.e. minted using the same cast, has been previously found. Only one other 11 th- century Norwegian coin has been found in Iceland, at Bessastaðir in 1996.