Early church organization in Skagafjörður, North Iceland. The results of the Skagafjörður Church Project
by GUÐNÝ ZOËGA
The article discusses the results of the Skagafjörður Church project. The aim of the project is to establish the number and nature of the earliest, Christian cemeteries and churches in the county of Skagafjörður, north Iceland. By employing a systematic regional approach to the study of early Christian cemeteries, a more nuanced interpretation of early church development can be generated. The research suggests that at least 130 cemeteries may have been established in Skagafjörður in the 11th century, following the official adaption of Christianity AD 999/1000. The results indicate a swift adoption of Christian burial rites and cemetery architecture and that at first most independent farmsteads had their own Christian household cemetery. The apparent uniformity of burial customs and architecture suggests some form of management or communality from the outset. Many of these cemeteries appear to have gone out of use in the late 11th/ early 12th centuries, an indication of increasing ecclesiastical control.