Interim Field Report, Gasir Hinterlands Project 2008, Midden Prospection (field report)

Author(s): Ramona Harrison

Year: 2008


In June and August 2008 international teams cooperated in carrying out a

program of survey, coring, and small scale test excavation on selected sites in

the Eyjafjord region in Northern Iceland. This was the first season of a planned

multi-season collaborative investigation of the hinterlands surrounding the

medieval seasonal trading center at Gásir (Roberts 2004; Roberts et al, 2002-

2006; Harrison et al 2006 – 2008; Harrison, 2006-2008). Prior work at Gásir

indicated that this trading center was provisioned from a wide economic

catchment area and that investigations needed to be extended to include the

surrounding landscape. The Gásir Hinterlands Project (GHP) is aimed at

improving our understanding of the interactions of local farming strategies

affected by changing climate and ongoing human impact with medieval overseas

trade and long distance exchange centered on Gásir. GHP also focuses on the

long term human ecodynamics in this historically important part of Iceland,

contributing to the reconstruction of a detailed historical ecology of Eyjafjord from

first settlement down to modern times. Part of the 2008 field project involved a 3


season of excavation of midden deposits associated with the major monastic

center at Möðruvellir. The second part of the project consisted of coring and

selective test trenching of 9 sites in the surrounding valleys, building upon a

comprehensive site survey database (ÍSLEIF) already established by FSI. While

some sites tested proved to have little or no surviving household midden deposits

(Neskot, Skriða:NLÖ1, Klausturhús, Möðruvallasel), others proved to have rich

deposits quite possibly datable to the medieval and early modern periods through

tephra and associated artifacts (especially Skuggi, and also Myrkárdalur). Some

of the cored midden areas, i.e. Bakki, Skriða:NLÖ2, show great potential, if some Ramona Harrison Gásir Hinterlands Project–2008 Interim Field report


logistical hurdles can be overcome. There appears to be great potential for

further excavations at both Myrkárdalur and Skuggi, and additional coring work

on other sites can usefully continue in the wider area.

Cite this Record

Interim Field Report, Gasir Hinterlands Project 2008, Midden Prospection (field report). Ramona Harrison. Fornleifastofnun Íslands, NABO, IPY 2007-10. 2008 ( tDAR id: 3259) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8MC8XFK

Spatial Coverage

min long: -24.5; min lat: 64.5 ; max long: -13.5; max lat: 66.56 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Ramona Harrison

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