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The Importance of Wild Animal Resources in Skagafjörður, North Iceland

Author(s): Grace Cesario

Year: 2017

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In both past and present, pastoralism has been an integral part of life in Iceland. In fact, status is generally defined by how many cattle one can keep; however, wild resources are abundant in Iceland and are also used to supplement the diet. For much of Iceland’s history, wild resource use and access was heavily regulated through formal laws and social contracts that often favored elite landowners. Using case studies from Skagafjörður, North Iceland, this paper will explore the use of wild resources compared to domesticates. Preliminary zooarchaeological analyses of sites in the Hegranes region suggest that larger, wealthier farms used fewer and less varied wild resources than smaller, abandoned farms. This differential use of resources hints at the complex relationship between wealth and access to resources and, further, to the ways people would have thought about their use of wild animals—as a vital part of daily life or as something to be exploited occasionally. I argue that wild resources would have been vital to the smaller farms that could not support a large herd of domesticates, while larger farms likely had a very different relationship with the few wild resources they utilized.

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The Importance of Wild Animal Resources in Skagafjörður, North Iceland. Grace Cesario. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429588)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16458

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America