Iceland

The centuries-old tradition involves sorting these woolly creatures after a summer of free-grazing on mountain grasses and berries in the highlands.

Iceland's Annual Tradition of Counting Sheep Is Far From Sleepy

Every fall, across the country, farmers and their friends and family gather to sort the ewes and rams that spent the summer free-grazing

Lava rises from the volcano eruption in Iceland's Meradalir valley late on August 6.

Why Hikers Are Clamoring to Photograph a Volcanic Eruption in Iceland, Despite Risks

Toxic gas, hypothermia and fragile terrain are among the site’s dangers

Alexander Skarsgård stars as Amleth, a Viking prince who seeks to avenge the murder of his father.

Based on a True Story

The History Behind Robert Eggers' 'The Northman'

The revenge saga blends traditional accounts with the supernatural to convey the lived experience of the Viking age

Medieval manuscripts featuring stories about King Arthur and Camelot

Art Meets Science

How Much Medieval Literature Has Been Lost Over the Centuries?

A new analysis suggests that just 9 percent of manuscripts produced in Europe during the Middle Ages survive today

Seasonal influxes of fishermen fed roaring local economies and attracted herring girls—women who came from across Iceland to take jobs gutting, cleaning and salting barrels of freshly caught fish.

How Iceland's Herring Girls Helped Bring Equality to the Island Nation

Between the 1910s and 1960s, thousands of young women formed the backbone of the country's thriving fishing industry

Unearthed in Norway, this crowned figure with a falcon on its right arm dates to the 13th century, and may be the oldest depiction of falconry discovered in Scandinavia.

Cool Finds

One of the Oldest Depictions of Falconry in Scandinavia Is Discovered

The 800-year-old carved figure holding a falcon was found at a dig site in Norway

A recreation of Viking structures at L’Anse aux Meadows

New Dating Method Shows Vikings Occupied Newfoundland in 1021 C.E.

Tree ring evidence of an ancient solar storm enables scientists to pinpoint the exact year of Norse settlement

Killer whales are among the oceans’ top predators. But in Iceland, pilot whales have them running scared.

Why Do Pilot Whales Chase Killer Whales Near Iceland?

Scientists are working to understand the strange inter-cetacean conflict

In the modern era, the European discovery of North American became a proxy for conflicts between American Protestants and Catholics, as well as northern Europeans who claimed Vikings like Leif Eriksson (left) as their ancestors and southern Europeans who touted links to Columbus (right) and the monarchs of Spain.

Viking Map of North America Identified as 20th-Century Forgery

New technical analysis dates Yale's Vinland Map to the 1920s or later, not the 1440s as previously suggested

Elite Vikings constructed a huge stone boat for use in rituals at the Surtshellir cave.

Cool Finds

Did Vikings Host Rituals Designed to Stop Ragnarök in This Volcanic Cave?

New findings at a cavern in Iceland point to decades of elite ceremonial activity aimed at preventing the apocalypse

Since mid-March, more than 30,000 tourists have visited the eruption site, which is just 20 miles from Iceland’s capital, Reykyavík.

New Fissure in Iceland Volcano Prompts Evacuation of Tourists

Scientists re-evaluated the safety of the eruption site after a new fissure began spewing steam and lava a half-mile from the original craters

As historian Nancy Marie Brown points out, “[A]sking not ‘Are the sagas true?’ but ‘Are they plausible?’” is a far better barometer for testing the Viking tales’ veracity.

Did a Viking Woman Named Gudrid Really Travel to North America in 1000 A.D.?

The sagas suggest she settled in Newfoundland and eventually made eight crossings of the North Atlantic Sea

Rotten fish contain a smellable chemical found in bad breath, faeces and blood, but some people identified it as sweets or roses.

New Research

If Rotten Fish Smell Like Roses to You, a Genetic Mutation Might Be to Blame

A new study in Iceland found a connection between a person’s ability to sniff stinky fish and a gene called TAAR5

Release the Kraken!

The Legend, the History and the Science Behind Seattle's New Hockey Team Name

NHL fans, meet the Seattle Kraken—named for a mythical beast that may have been inspired by the very real giant squid

Replica of a Norse Viking longhouse in Scotland's Shetland Islands. Archaeologists in Iceland have uncovered the remains of two ancient Viking longhouses that may have been among the island's very first settlements.

Cool Finds

Newly Excavated Viking Dwelling May Be Oldest Found in Iceland

Archaeologists say the settlement, which may have housed a Norse chieftain, dates to roughly 800 A.D.

The Melckmeyt sank in October 1659

Virtual Travel

Take a Virtual Tour of a 17th-Century Shipwreck

A new VR experience lets users explore the "Melckmeyt" without diving into Iceland’s freezing waters

Trending Today

Plaque Memorializes First Icelandic Glacier Lost to Climate Change

In 2014, the Okjökull was declared dead after dwindling from over 5 square miles to a mound of "dead ice"

Two Captive Beluga Whales Are Heading to First-of-Its-Kind Sanctuary in Iceland

It is the first refuge of its kind for belugas

Over 1 million people have made the pilgrimage to the ecologically sensitive spot since 2015.

Trending Today

Justin Bieber Ruined This Idyllic Icelandic Canyon

Over a million people have tromped the edges of Fjaðrárgljúfur since Biebs danced on its edge in a 2015 video

Cool Finds

Book of Lost Books Discovered in Danish Archive

The index is part of the Libro de los Epítomes, an effort by Christopher Columbus' illegitimate son to create a searchable index of the world's knowledge

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