Environmental Variation and the Sustainability of Farms: Investigating Effects of Erosion in Northern Iceland
The initial colonization of Iceland in the late 9th century had a profound impact on the fragile environment of the North Atlantic island. Settlement and the introduction of livestock resulted in widespread erosion and the replacement of woodlands with meadows and heaths. Changes in the environment are assumed to have played a role in determining settlement patterning and subsistence strategies. While marginal highland areas were most seriously affected, resulting in farmstead abandonment, the nature of changes in lowland areas and their impact on the productivity of individual farms is poorly understood. Local patterns of landscape change in Iceland could be highly varied as erosion in one area often resulted in soil accumulation in another. Focusing on the lowland region of Hegranes in northern Iceland, we examine the timing of erosive events in relation to fluctuations in farmstead size during three periods of occupation: pre-1104 A.D., 1104-1300 A.D., and post-1300 A.D. We consider when and where these events occurred and their implications for the viability and productivity of individual farms and households.
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Environmental Variation and the Sustainability of Farms: Investigating Effects of Erosion in Northern Iceland. Lauren Welch O'Connor, Douglas J. Bolender. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444248)
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min long: -26.016; min lat: 53.54 ; max long: 31.816; max lat: 80.817 ;
Abstract Id(s): 20042