Iron Production at Marginal Settlements in Northern Iceland

Author(s): Nicholas Zeitlin

Year: 2018


The environment of Iceland was rapidly and severely affected by the Norse Settlement, in particular by deforestation. In Iceland’s changing environment the production of iron, an essential material, became limited not by access to iron ore but by availability of wood to make charcoal fuel. The large-scale production of iron may be one of the primary processes that led to deforestation in Iceland due to the large need for charcoal. Investigations at Stekkjarborg on the farm of Keldudalur in Hegranes, Northern Iceland discovered the remnants of a small-scale iron smelting site dating to post-1104, well after deforestation. The smelting site represents a specific small-scale production activity being conducted in a marginal area for domestic use. The scale of the activity suggests independent production and usage while the evidence of limited activities suggests an interconnected production network. This paper will examine how such a site managed key natural resources for production activities in marginal ecological and economic contexts.

Cite this Record

Iron Production at Marginal Settlements in Northern Iceland. Nicholas Zeitlin. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444253)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 20556