Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Greenland

Landnamsgaarden

People have lived in the current Narsaq area for thousands of years, but not continuously. Remains of the Norse settlement can be found in the area. The church ruins of Dyrnes can be found on the north-western outskirts of the town. The Landnám homestead, Landnamsgaarden, can be found immediately to the west of the town. Dated to the year 1000, the homestead is among the oldest of the Norse ruins in the area. The w ...
Founded: 1000 AD | Location: Narsaq, Greenland

Garðar

Garðar was the seat of the bishop in the Norse settlements in Greenland. In the sagas it is told that Sokki Þórisson, a wealthy farmer of the Brattahlíð area launched the idea of a separate bishop for Greenland in the early 12th century. He got the approval of the Norwegian King. Most of the clergy would come from Norway. The first bishop of Garðar, Arnaldur, was ordained by the Archbishop ...
Founded: 1126 | Location: Garðar, Greenland

Eastern Settlement

The Eastern Settlement (Eystribyggð) was the first and largest of the three areas of Norse Greenland, settled c. AD 985 by Norsemen from Iceland. At its peak, it contained approximately 4,000 inhabitants. The last written record from the Eastern Settlement is of a wedding solemnized in 1408, placing it about 50–100 years later than the end of the more northern Western Settlement. Despite its name, the Eastern S ...
Founded: 985 AD | Location: Eastern Settlement, Greenland

Qoornoq

Qoornoq is an abandoned fishing village in the Sermersooq municipality. The area was known to have been inhabited by the ancient pre-Inuit, Paleo-Eskimo people of the Saqqaq culture as far back as 2200 BC. It still contains archaeological ruins of ancient Inuit and Norse buildings. The site was excavated in 1952 and the remains of an old Norse farm and ancient tools were discovered. The outside walls of the farm are doubl ...
Founded: 2200 BC | Location: Sermersooq, Greenland

Qilakitsoq

Qilakitsoq is an archaeological site on Nuussuaq Peninsula. Formally a settlement, it is famous for the discovery of eight mummified bodies in 1972. Four of the mummies are currently on display in the Greenland National Museum. The remains that were found in an icy tomb dated to 1460 CE. Four of these bodies were preserved well due to being buried under a rock in cold temperatures. In essence, they were freeze dried. Th ...
Founded: 1460 | Location: Siaqqissoq, Greenland

Deltaterrasserne

Deltaterasserne is one of the largest archaeological sites in Peary Land, the northernmost part of Greenland. These terraces were inhabited circa 4000 - 3700 BC by Independence I and Independence II cultures. Deltaterrasserne was constructed of large, terraced stones, ranging from 5m to 23m above sea level. Knuth named the site"s ruins and caches in order of their descending elevation. These are scattered over 800 m ...
Founded: 4000-3700 BC | Location: Northeast Greenland National Park, Greenland

Comer's Midden

Comer"s Midden is the find after which the Thule culture was named. The site was first excavated in 1916 by whaling Captain George Comer, ice master of the Crocker Land Expedition"s relief team, and members of Knud Rasmussen"s Second Danish Thule Expedition who were in the area charting the North Greenland coast. The site shows signs of having been inhabited from the 14th to the 20th century although Holtv ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Qaanaaq, Greenland

Western Settlement

The Western Settlement (Vestribyggð) was a group of farms and communities established by Norsemen from Iceland around AD 985 in medieval Greenland. Despite its name, the Western Settlement was more north than west of its companion and located at the head of the long Nuup Kangerlua fjord (inland from Nuuk, the present Greenlandic capital). At its peak, the Western Settlement probably had about 1,000 inhabitants, about ...
Founded: 985 AD | Location: Western Settlement, Greenland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Easter Aquhorthies Stone Circle

Easter Aquhorthies stone circle, located near Inverurie, is one of the best-preserved examples of a recumbent stone circle, and one of the few that still have their full complement of stones. It consists of a ring of nine stones, eight of which are grey granite and one red jasper. Two more grey granite stones flank a recumbent of red granite flecked with crystals and lines of quartz. The circle is particularly notable for its builders' use of polychromy in the stones, with the reddish ones situated on the SSW side and the grey ones opposite.

The placename Aquhorthies derives from a Scottish Gaelic word meaning 'field of prayer', and may indicate a 'long continuity of sanctity' between the Stone or Bronze Age circle builders and their much later Gaelic successors millennia later. The circle's surroundings were landscaped in the late 19th century, and it sits within a small fenced and walled enclosure. A stone dyke, known as a roundel, was built around the circle some time between 1847 and 1866–7.