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Climate Change and Textile Production During the Little Ice Age in Iceland and Greenland

Author(s): Michele Hayeur Smith

Year: 2014

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Summary

Textiles used for clothing provide direct evidence of cultural adaptations to climate change, the roles of textile producers as decision-makers adjusting to climate change, and regional variability in strategies responding to local and regional patterns of climate change. NSF-funded project, Rags to Riches, has been examining archaeologically recovered textiles from Iceland-from AD 874, until AD 1800. Textile technologies are often conservative, yet the long time span covered by this project has enabled changes in weaving patterns to be tracked over a millennium. These differ significantly from their earlier medieval counterparts and coincide with a crucial period of declining temperatures and increased climatic variability in Iceland during the Little Ice Age. Comparable technological changes in Greenlandic textile collections of the 14th and 15th centuries, especially at the site of Tasipataakilleq (&216;172), suggest similar decision-making processes coincident with initial climatic cooling in Greenland.This paper explores these changes, examining divergent adaptive strategies to climate change through material culture at the levels of the individual and the region.


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Climate Change and Textile Production During the Little Ice Age in Iceland and Greenland. Michele Hayeur Smith. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437126)


Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-59,01

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