Reconsidering Cereal Production and Consumption in the North Atlantic: A case study from Northern Iceland
This is an abstract from the "Mind the Gap: Exploring Uncharted Territories in Medieval European Archaeology" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.
During the Viking Age, the Norse settled Iceland, a sub-arctic volcanic island at the climatic margin of cereal production. These settlers brought with them a distinctive subsistence economy involving animal husbandry and cereal production, most notably barley. Barley (Hordeum vulgare) has been noted by archaeologists and historians as important to early Icelandic society because it is the only cereal grain that could be cultivated in such an environmentally marginal landscape due to its high climatic tolerance. Barley production has been consistently interpreted as restricted to high status farms because of its connections to feasting practices and the sustainment of social hierarchy in the Icelandic political economy. However, new systematic sampling from the Skagafjörður Church and Settlement Survey (SCASS) project of 50 farmsteads has shown that this cereal can be found ubiquitously across both the larger, wealthy sites and smaller, less-affluent ones. Because Iceland is on the edges of successful agricultural production, understanding the regional variation in agropastoral practices adds to the broader discussion of human adaption and colonization of marginal landscapes and new environments.
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Reconsidering Cereal Production and Consumption in the North Atlantic: A case study from Northern Iceland. Melissa Ritchey, Heather Trigg. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451289)
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min long: -97.031; min lat: 0 ; max long: 10.723; max lat: 64.924 ;
Abstract Id(s): 23665