"The majority of archaeological evidence for this early colonization is likely to have been destroyed by the major Viking invasion, explaining the lack of proof found in the Faroes for the earlier settlement," Church said.
It remains unknown who these newly discovered settlers were. Possibilities may include religious hermits from Ireland, late-Iron Age colonists from Scotland or pre-Viking explorers from Scandinavia. (The 10 Most Intrepid Explorers)
"Maybe these were intrepid explorers arriving from each of those areas," Church said, adding that the findings raise more questions than they answer.
"Although we don't know who the people were that settled here and where they came from, it is clear that they did prepare peat for use by cutting, drying and burning it, which indicates they must have stayed here for some time," researcher Símun Arge, of the National Museum of the Faroe Islands, said in a statement.
Questions of human settlement The research challenges the scale, timing and nature of human settlement of the wider North Atlantic region.