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Anthropological Trip to Iceland

Under the charge of Dr. W. C. Farabee, of the Division of Anthropology, a scientific expedition was made to Iceland during the past summer to discover, if possible, any traces of early man on the island. The main division of the party sailed from Leith, Scotland, on July 13 and arrived at Reyjavik, the capital of Iceland, four days later. From here the start across the country was begun on the following day. Thingvellir, where the Icelandic Althing, or Parliament, assembled in the lawless days of the island's early colonization, was first visited, and from here the party proceeded to Geysir. At Geysir are situated the largest boiling spring in Iceland, and an extensive field of smaller hot springs. Five days later, after travelling east ward, the expedition started across the Sprengisandr Desert, on its way to Akureyri, on the north coast. The route taken is considered the hardest way of crossing the island, as many fords have to be made, the deepest that across the Thojorsa River, the largest of the rivers of Iceland. On this part of the trip the party passed near Mt. Heckle, the famous volcano, and for two days rode close to the Arnafells Jokull and the Vatna Jokull, the latter the largest glacier in Europe. In six days the expedition reached Akureyri, after a ride of over 500 miles. Here the party separated, Dr. Farabee and four others returning by the post road to Reykjavik, while two members of the expedition proceeded east to Seydisfjord, visiting on the way the volcanic area about Lake Myvatn, Rifstangi, the most northerly point of the island, and several other places of interest. One other member of the party took the steamer from Akureyri, going around the north and east coasts.

In addition to the main party, conducted in person by Dr. Farabee, several independent trips were, made by other members of the expedition. V. Stefansson, assistant in anthropology, and J. W. Hastings 2G, made for the Peabody Museum a valuable collection of Skeletons from an early Icelandic cemetery. Hastings also made several anthropometric measurements of the natives. A. E. Hutchinson '06, E. M. Howland '06 and C. S. Waldo, Jr., '06, with B. Pallson '08, visited Thingvellir, Geysir and Hekla in a separate party, and H. G. Ferguson '05, in company with the director of the Geological Survey of Iceland, made an extended trip for purposes of geological research.

The several parties together covered nearly 3000 miles, making a complete circuit of the island and crossing it through the interior, the main party alone travelling nearly 900 miles of the total distance. Several botanical collections were made and considerable work done in ornithology. In none of the caves or other places visited were any remains of ancient date discovered, and it was concluded from this that the island was probably not inhabited prior to its settlement by the Norwegians in 876.

The following men accompanied Dr. Farabee: H. G. Beyer, Jr., '06, L. Carroll '06, A. S. Clark '00, E. F. Fish '05, L. H. de Milhau '06, P. H. Noyes '06.

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