Sagnagrunnur is a geographically mapped database of the main published collections of Icelandic folk legends.
The work on the database was started in 1999 by Professor Terry Gunnell, then lecturer in Folkloristics at the University of Iceland. Inspired by the work of the late Swedish folklorist, Professor Bo Almqvist of University College Dublin, the form of the eventual database was decided in close cooperation with Rósa Þorsteinsdóttir at the Arnamagnean Institute in Iceland. This new version of the database (from 2014) is the end result of an intensive re-structuring of the database which now includes geographical mapping of a large number of the place names in the database. The re-design and the mapping work was carried out by Trausti Dagsson as a MA-project in Public Folklore at the University of Iceland.
The database now involves a distribution map of published Icelandic legends, and is connected to both the homes of the original storytellers and collectors and those places mentioned in the legends (which can still be found). Most of these legends come from collections that were made between the middle of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th.
This project has been funded by RANNÍS (the Science Council of Iceland), the University of Iceland and Kungl. Gustav Adolfs Akademien för svensk folkkultur.
The Sagnagrunnur is dedicated to the memory of the late Swedish folklorist Professor Bo Almqvist (1931–2013), of University College, Dublin. Bo Almqvist had long been interested in putting together a classified catalogue of North Sea legends similar to that made in Norway by Reidar Christiansen. He had a deep interest in the folklore of Iceland, Shetland and Orkney, as well as Ireland, his research often featuring detailed comparative studies of legends and beliefs across this area.
On Bo Almqvist: See: Terry Gunnell 2014. “In Memorium: Bo Almqvist (1931-2013)”. Folklore, 125.2, 258-261.