WORK/PROJECT: SEEDS volunteers will get an introduction and chance to try to work like the Vikings used to! The project’s objective is to reconstruct and keep in good shape old Viking traditional turf farmhouses.
The work is done using ancient tools and elements keeping the work with the same style and final details as the turf houses were originally constructed. The tools are reconstructed like the actual tools the Vikings used for similar work, since their methods still proof to be the best for this work. We will work in teams and get guidance from professionals and experts and will be taught the techniques as the methods used in the old times. The concept uses Icelandic, natural local materials for the turf walls and roofs, as in the interior of the houses, using turf, soil, rocks and wood.
There is a strong aspect of learning during the working process and on the social importance of the work. We will receive practical lessons in turf cutting, turf-walling as in stone construction; which are the traditional Icelandic crafts, then to produce turf material and use these skills for the work on the turf, stone walls and other constructions. We will work closely with one of few Icelandic specialists on turf constructions. Additional tasks depending on the needs might come up during the camp.
We will also have the chance to participate in Skeiðaréttir (the annual sheep round-up of Skeiðar), which is one of the biggest in Iceland. Réttir is one of the most beautiful Icelandic traditions. The annual round-up of sheep and horses is so popular that sometimes it feels there are more people than animals. The Réttir is a tradition which goes back a thousand years to the Viking settlement.
Réttir is a place where farmers from the area and their families come together to round-up their sheep for the winter. In the spring the sheep are let loose, they wander around on the mountains, highlands and grazing areas until the fall comes, when the farmers go on horses to the mountains to gather them and bring them to réttir, so they can be sorted and claimed by their owners.
ACCOMMODATION: We will be lodged in a house, sleeping on mattresses on the floor. Please bring your own sleeping bag. There will be an opportunity to sleep for at least some nights in the traditional Icelandic turf houses. Within the facilities volunteers will have a kitchen to cater themselves. Food will be provided and meals will be then prepared/cooked by volunteers.
LOCATION: We will stay in the south of Iceland, around 70 km from Reykjavík. The place consists of few typical traditional farmhouses in the South-Icelandic style. Very few similar farmhouses remain in the country and these ones we will be staying and working in, are the last in the district. A dedicated effort has been made to develop and conserve the place as the farmhouse tradition embodies an important element of Icelandic history and the Icelandic way of life over centuries.
The largest town in the district is Selfoss (pop. 6000). The workcamp site is located about 15 km from Selfoss. We will be able to explore and enjoy the south Icelandic lowland, which is made out of sand and rock sediments delivered by the river Þjórsá during the last centuries. The land is covered mostly by green grass and the closeness of the ocean can be felt in the air. The Southern district is known by its geothermal activity which helped to develop important greenhouse agriculture.
LANGUAGE: English will be the language in the camp, but high proficiency is not a requirement.
TERMINAL: Closest International Airports: Keflavík /Reykjavík (KEF), the closest bus stop is in Selfoss. SEEDS organises the “minibus option”, a shared transport from Reykjavík to the camps and vice-versa, which apart from being cheaper and more convenient, allows volunteers to meet fellow campers and have a relaxed trip, while stopping on the way for interesting and tourist sites.
SPECIAL REMARKS / EXTRAS: Participation fee EUR 150,- (Euros).
SEEDS and our local hosts will try to arrange excursions and other free time activities in the area.
We will help to preserve the local cultural heritage, learn the working techniques, get a significant practical experience and last but not least we will explore the surrounding of the location and make some short excursions through the south of Iceland.