On Human Remains and Other Articles from Iceland

R. F. Burton
1873 The Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland  
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more » ... I HAVE the pleasure to forward, for the inspection of the Anthropological Institute, a small collection of human remains and other articles from Iceland. The site of the "find" will readily be found upon the foursheet map of Gunnlaugsson and Olsen. Cast the eye eastward of the great southern stream "Markarfljot," march or forest flood -whose eastern delta-arm debouches nearly opposite to Vermaninaeyjavr-Islands of the Westmen-that is to say, of the Irishmen. You will see on the left (east) of the stream the little valley of Thorsm6rk, the grove of Thor, a good sturdy old god whose name still lives and tlhrives in Iceland. He was even preferred to Odin-" Hinn Almattki A'ss," "that almnighty A'ss"-by the people of Snowland; and in more modern days he was invoked when a doughty deed was about to be done, the deities of Christianity being preferred only when the more feminine qualities of mildness and mercy were to be displayed. The valley in question is described by the " Oxonian in Iceland" as a " beautifuil, green-wooded spot," near wlhiclh the Markarfljot flows. About eight miles long, with precipitous sides, its site is bisected by a narrow but tolerably deep " boulder-river "-a bugbear, by the by, of Icelandic travel-and this must be repeatedly forded. The map shows a green patchl, the shrubs may average six feet, whilst one monster, a miountain ash, attains the abnorm-al attitude of thirty to tlhirty-six feet. It is one of the tallest, if not thbe tallest in the island. The two " giant trees " of Akreyri, wlhiclh every traveller is in duty bound to admire, do not exceed twenty-five feet. Reaching, on July 16, 1872, Thingwalla (Ding,wall or Thingwall), after a Cockney tour to Hekla and the Geysirs, I met a young Englishman, who was returning from a sketclingc expedition round the now rarely-visited south coast. Fromll Hekla I miglt easily have made Thorsmdrk in a day, but the depot of bones was then unknown to me. Mr. W-lad travelled from the Eyvindarholt farm, west south-vest of the site of the find, in some six lhours of fast work, and complained miuch of the road. There are only two guides, and the lhalf-dozen influents of the Markarfljot were judged dangerous. It is only fair, however, to state that lhe had read the "Oxoniian in Icelald," and he was prepared to ford the terrible torrents, nearly tlhree feet deep ! in boots and " buff." After passing the sites of many finie farnms, now destroyed by the ever-increasinig ice, lie enitered time valley froml Eyviidarliolt by a ruggred enitrancee, leaving time This content downloaded from 185.2.32.121 on Mon,
doi:10.2307/2841451 fatcat:tnokxdplebauha2wowgqm4j2ai