Is that a pagan circle outside Hallgrímskirkja?
October 15, 2017 5:18 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone tell me what this plaque says?

I was recently in Reykjavik, Iceland, and visited Hallgrímskirkja, the big church that can be seen from almost anywhere in town. Outside the church and to the left (facing the church) is a small circle made up of stone blocks, with a center block that holds a plaque (in Icelandic, I assume, which I can't read). I've tried Googling for information on this stone circle with no luck. Can anyone tell me what it is or what the plaque says?
posted by Joleta to Travel & Transportation around Reykjavík, Iceland (9 answers total)
Best answer: It's a survey marker and the plaque says basically, "This stone and the ground around it to a distance of 13(?) are protected. In particular, it is forbidden to light (fire) on/around it."
posted by notquitemaryann at 5:41 PM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Sadly, as far as I can tell, that plaque is just telling you that the stone is legally protected and you can't set fire to anything near the stone.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 5:42 PM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

I think, but am not 100% sure, that it's actually in Danish, which would make sense if the survey was conducted during the time of Danish rule.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 5:47 PM on October 15, 2017

Best answer: Yes, it's Danish (Iceland was part of Denmark until 1944).

It reads:

"This stone
and the area around it
for a distance of 3 ells
is protected.*
Particularly, it is prohibited
to burn a fire on
or near it.
G S"

* protected as in under "cultural heritage management." Not sure what G S stands for, but the crown at the top signifies that it's an official government sign.

Other Danish speakers, please feel free to improve the translation.

To me, it looks like a "thing" -- a meeting place for the local decision makers. Many small villages in Denmark have something like it.
posted by AwkwardPause at 7:03 PM on October 15, 2017

Best answer: The plaque is nearly identical to Danish trig point plaques. It's a survey marker.
posted by zamboni at 7:29 PM on October 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: GS is Generalstabens Topografiske Afdeling, the Danish mapping organization from 1842 to 1928.
posted by zamboni at 7:38 PM on October 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: for a distance of 3 ells

The other Danish survey plaques give this distance in metres, suggesting that the Reykjavik trig point predates the 1907 metrication of Iceland & Denmark. (The other difference, GI, was the Geodætisk Institut, a successor organisation to GS.)
posted by zamboni at 9:12 PM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Just a quick kudos to Zamboni for the excellent research in this thread.
posted by AwkwardPause at 6:00 AM on October 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone. I marked a bunch as "best answer" but you all helped. I'm just a little disappointed that it's not a pagan stone circle.
posted by Joleta at 8:09 AM on October 16, 2017

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