Akurvík NORSEC 15 1 A 15 th c Archaeofauna from Akurvík, an early Fishing Station in NW Iceland


This is a report of analysis of 15th c bone materials from the site of Akurvík in NW Iceland

excavated in 1990. A small international project in Árneshreppur district recovered a series of

stratified midden deposits associated with small turf structures on an eroding beachfront.

Radiocarbon dates identify at least two major phases of occupation and use, one extending

into the mid 13th century, and the other dating to the mid 15th century. This report documents

the animal bone collection from the later 15th c occupation. Dominated by cod fish, these

deposits appear to be the product of seasonal fishery carried out from small temporary

“booths” and are clearly not the product of a normal medieval Icelandic farmstead. Clear

zooarchaeological signatures for cod and haddock preserved fish production are evident and

comparisons are drawn to later 18th c contexts. Whale bone was extensively used in

construction and craftwork, but it is unclear whether active whaling was carried out from the

site or if stranded carcasses were extensively scavenged. Seals and sea birds provided minor

supplement to the station and shellfish were probably mainly collected for bait.

Cite this Record

Akurvík NORSEC 15 1 A 15 th c Archaeofauna from Akurvík, an early Fishing Station in NW Iceland. Colin Amundsen, Sophia Perdikaris, Thomas McGovern, Matthew Matthew Brown, Yekaterina Krivogorskaya, Salina Modugno, Konrad Śmiarowski, Shaye Storm, Malgorzata Frik, Monica Koczela, Thomas McGovern. 2004 ( tDAR id: 394058) ; doi:10.6067/XCV81Z45D7

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -21.875; min lat: 65.902 ; max long: -21.352; max lat: 66.113 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Thomas McGovern

Contributor(s): Ramona Harrison; Aaron Kendall; Frank Feeley

Principal Investigator(s): Thomas McGovern

Sponsor(s): CUNY Northern Science and Education Center

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