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Alftaver plain

Region: South Iceland
Coordinates: 63.417934° N 18.67809° W

Alftaver is a relatively small and a flat area to the east of the desert Myrdalssandur and south of River Skalm, which spills into River Kudafljot to the east. North of the inhabited area are groups of pseudo craters, probably created during the big Eldgja eruption, when the lava overran boggy areas. The craters were declared inviolate in 1975. Grassy and lime grass areas surround the cultivated farmlands. In the past lime grass grains were used to supplement the food, but nowadays the farmers collect the seeds to prevent erosion and reclaim land. Sandstorms and floodings still threten the area. The panoramic scenery from Alftaver is framed with the near and far mountains, myriads of birds nest there (black backed seagulls, great skuas and others), and the farmers hunt seals in the estuaries of River Kudafljot.

In earlier times, the vegetated area was bigger and more populated than now. The tremendous Katla glacier bursts have demanded their toll during the centuries and devastated parts of it. Many legends mention farms consumed by the floodings (Dynskogar, Laufskalavarda etc.), and in the 17th century some of them were excavated. Many artefacts were found, among them a large copper kettle. During the years 1972-76, the National Museum financed the excavation of a late middle age farm at Kuabot to the west of Þykkvabaejarklaustur. Its front was measured 50 m long.

Alftaver is on the Saga trail for South Iceland.

Links in Alftaver plain