Auður Djúpauðga Ketilsdóttir

Unn the Deep Minded

Auður Djúpauðga Ketilsdóttir (Unn the Deep Minded) was the only female settler in West Iceland as told in Laxdæla saga.

She had been married to Ólaf the White but later went from Norway to Scotland with her father, Ketill Flatnose and her son, Thorsteinn the Red, who became king over half of Scotland.

When Thorsteinn was killed it was dangerous for Auður to stay in Scotland. So she had a ship (knörr) built secretly in the woods, and when it was ready she took with her all her kinsfolk of more than 20 people. It shows how great a person Auður was to be able to get out of such a state of war with so much wealth and great following. She traveled to the Orkneys and the Faroe Isles before going to Iceland.

Auður settled in Dalir, West Iceland. She was a great leader and later distributed her wealth to her grandchildren and people who had been loyal to her. In 920 Auður organized a three day wedding feast for her favored grand son, Olaf. At the wedding she announced that Olaf should get her land at Hvammur.

The morning after Auður was found sitting up dead in her chamber. The feast continued as a celebration of the wedding and Auður’s great life. Auður’s body was laid in a ship in a cairn (burial mound) with much of her treasure and then the cairn was closed up.