Zooarchaeology of Marginality: An Investigation of Site Abandonment in Hegranes, North Iceland

Author(s): Grace Cesario

Year: 2018


The settlement of Iceland, a previously uninhabited landscape, began a series of human-induced environmental changes that have had lasting effects on not just the land but on social organization as well. As land claims were made for household farms, hierarchy developed and some were pushed to settle on the margins. In Hegranes, a region in Skagafjörður, northern Iceland, the sites that are on the margins are often much smaller than the others and may not have been farms at all but rather specialized activity areas. Examining marginal and non-marginal sites through a zooarchaeological lens can help decipher patterns of resource use which can act as a proxy for understanding environmental and social change. Current work on Hegranes has shown that the archaeofaunal assemblages from marginal sites are nearly always comprised of over 50% wild resources throughout the site’s short occupational history, while those from proper farms are dominated by domesticates. These marginal sites also follow a pattern of abandonment by the year 1104 A.D., while many of the larger farms are still functioning to the present. This paper will examine the social and environmental variables of abandonment by using zooarchaeology to understand site function and status.

Cite this Record

Zooarchaeology of Marginality: An Investigation of Site Abandonment in Hegranes, North Iceland. Grace Cesario. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444245)

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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): 19899