EAGERs and RAPIDs – Small Grants with Big Outcomes at Surtshellir Cave, Iceland

Author(s): Kevin Smith

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Celebrating Anna Kerttula's Contributions to Northern Research" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Anna Kerttula's stewardship of NSF's Arctic Social Sciences program not only expanded opportunities for large-scale collaborative research projects in the North, but also increased opportunities for supporting smaller "high risk" and "time-sensitive" projects through the EAGER and RAPID programs. These smaller projects, funded at the discretion of the program officer, generally attracted less attention but had the potential to generate significant results, set larger projects in motion, or resolve crisis situations efficiently.

In this presentation, I discuss my own experience with EAGERs and RAPIDs in the re-investigation of a unique Viking Age site located inside a lava cave within Iceland's rugged interior. While an EAGER initially allowed us to test the capabilities of an NSF-funded photogrammetric program inside the confined setting of a cave, the work done on that small project revealed the presence of unanticipated intact deposits that were threatened not only by unregulated tourism but also by the very work we had done. A subsequent RAPID allowed us to mitigate that risk through the site's excavation, producing new and surprising data on this unique site that has forced a reconsideration of its role and of myth, ritual, and leadership in Viking Age Iceland and perhaps beyond.

Cite this Record

EAGERs and RAPIDs – Small Grants with Big Outcomes at Surtshellir Cave, Iceland. Kevin Smith. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451251)

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 23412