Fowling and Food Security in the Faroe Islands

Author(s): Seth Brewington

Year: 2018


Seabird fowling has long played an important role in the traditional domestic economy of the Faroe Islands, a small North Atlantic archipelago. Direct evidence for seabird exploitation in the earliest period of Faroese prehistory has been lacking, however. In this paper, I present new archaeofaunal evidence for substantial and sustained seabird exploitation in the Faroe Islands from the 9th through 13th centuries CE. The data suggest that seabirds represented a significant resource in the Faroese subsistence economy from the earliest Norse settlement onward. Fowling thus represented one component of a broad-based subsistence regime that was aimed primarily at decreasing vulnerability to food shortfalls, particularly those caused by failures in the agro-pastoral economy. When compared to typical contemporaneous archaeofauna from Norse Greenland and Iceland, the role of fowling in the Faroese domestic economy is quite large. The Faroe Islands in this respect appear more similar to some northern insular communities of the British Isles, and the Outer Hebrides in particular.

Cite this Record

Fowling and Food Security in the Faroe Islands. Seth Brewington. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443508)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -97.031; min lat: 0 ; max long: 10.723; max lat: 64.924 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22294