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Stable isotopic (δ13C and δ15N) characterization of key faunal resources from Norse period settlements in North Iceland.

Ascough, P. L. and Church, M. J. and Cook, G. T. and Einarsson, Á. and McGovern, T. H. and Dugmore, A. J. and Edwards, K. J. (2014) 'Stable isotopic (δ13C and δ15N) characterization of key faunal resources from Norse period settlements in North Iceland.', Journal of the North Atlantic., Special Volume 7 . pp. 25-42.


During the Viking Age, Norse peoples established settlements across the North Atlantic, colonizing the pristine and near-pristine landscapes of the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, and the short-lived Vinland settlement in Newfoundland. Current North Atlantic archaeological research themes include efforts to understand human adaptation and impact in these environments. For example, early Icelandic settlements persisted despite substantial environmental impacts and climatic change, while the Greenlandic settlements were abandoned ca. AD 1450 in the face of similar environmental degradation. The Norse settlers utilized both imported domestic livestock and natural fauna, including wild birds and aquatic resources. The stable isotope ratios of carbon and nitrogen (expressed as δ13C and δ15N) in archaeofaunal bones provide a powerful tool for the reconstruction of Norse economy and diet. Here we assess the δ13C and δ15N values of faunal and floral samples from sites in North Iceland within the context of Norse economic strategies. These strategies had a dramatic effect upon the ecology and environment of the North Atlantic islands, with impacts enduring to the present day.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Special Volume: Viking Settlers of the North Atlantic: An Isotopic Approach.
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Publisher statement:Any further replication or distribution of the article, either in whole or in part, except for personal research purposes, is not allowed except with the written permission of the publisher, the Eagle Hill Institute.
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:05 November 2014
Date of first online publication:November 2014
Date first made open access:No date available

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