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Öndvegissúlur (Icelandic pronunciation: ​[ˈœntveijɪsˌsuːlʏr̥]), or high-seat pillars, were a pair of wooden poles placed on each side of the high-seat—the place where the head of household would have sat—in a Viking-period Scandinavian house.

According to descriptions in Landnámabók and several sagas, written long after settlement of Iceland, some of the first settlers brought high-seat pillars with them from Norway. Once land was sighted, the high-seat pillars were thrown overboard, and a permanent farm was established where the pillars washed ashore. The first farm established in Iceland, located where the capital, Reykjavík, stands today, was allegedly founded using this method.[1]

One saga refers to a high-seat pillar having been carved with an image of the god Thor, and Icelandic saga Eyrbyggja saga relates that when Þórólfur Mostrarskegg (Thorolf Most-Beard) constructed a temple after reaching Iceland, the high seat pillars had reginnaglar (Old Icelandic "god-nails" or "power-nails") in them.[2] Otherwise very little is known about what they might have looked like.


  1. ^ Scigliano, Eric (24 March 2009). "Sagas reveal Vikings were 'first oceanographers'". New Scientist.
  2. ^ Eyrbyggja saga, William Morris & Eirikr Magnusson translation (1892), Ch. 4.