Kvívík is one of the oldest settlements in the Faroes and excavations have shown the remains of Viking houses. Excavations prove that it dates back over 1,000 years probably to the 10th century, when a Viking longhouse and barn were built beside a small river flowing through a valley to the sea. House and barn stood at the point where the river entered the sea.

Both the longhouse and its barn are unique. The longhouse, measuring 72 feet by 20 feet, is immense by Faroese standards and was built of a double row of stone with earth and gravel in between as insulation. The bottom rows of stone still remain, but the roof — probably of birch bark and turf — has long since disappeared. In the middle of the longhouse was a narrow, 23-foot fire pit used for cooking and heating.

Parallel to the longhouse stood a barn divided into storage and stalls for a dozen cows. It, too, was large, measuring 33 feet by 12 feet. Nothing like it has been discovered elsewhere in the Faroes.

During excavation at Kvivik, everyday household objects were uncovered: spindles, fishing gear, oil lamps, ropes made of juniper, weights for looms and, most touchingly, children’s toys. All these are on display in the Historical Museum in Tórshavn.

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