Icelandic archaeological digs featured on Discovery Channel

A documentary on world archaeologists and their work produced by the Discovery Channel will feature footage from Iceland and explore the excavations of Adolf Fridriksson in the Hringsdalur valley. The dig is located in the Westfjords, near the Arnarfjördur fjord.

A local newspaper reports that the series is scheduled to air sometime next year and will include footage from the archaeological findings in Hringsdalur and Skriduklaustur. Digs at these sites have uncovered an ancient monastery.

Only last week, what appears to be a pagan grave was unearthed in Hringsdalur. While work on the Skriduklaustur site is complete, archaeologists are still working to find out more about the grave site, which is the second to be discovered in the area. The new grave contains human bones which appear to date back to the 9th or 10th century. Fridriksson was also responsible for the discovery of the first grave last summer, which contained a well preserved skeleton and several ceremonial objects.

“The script was made in the last few weeks and now shooting is taking place,” Fridriksson said. “This has been very exciting and the people who came here [the Discovery Channel crew] are obviously very professional and well travelled.”
Fridriksson said that one of the most interesting thing about the visit from the Discovery Channel was seeing how they made scientific information accessible and entertaining to the public.

“For us scholars it is an interesting experience to see how these people form material that we know mostly from a scientific point of view,” Fridriksson added. “We have been very busy with digging and investigating. After ten years of hard work we have a lot of material, but we haven’t really tried to tell others about it.” He concluded, “What we need is to submit our scientific conclusions in a clear and accessible way which everyone can understand and enjoy.”

Iceland has not been known for its contributions to the field of archaeology until quite recently. The Discovery Channel only learned about the diggings of Fridriksson and others through their connections with foreign archeologists.