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Doctoral Dissertation Research: Centennial Scale Human Ecodynamics at Skutustadir Iceland

General

Project start
01.01.2012
Project end
31.12.2014
Type of project
ARMAP/NSF
Project theme
Society, economy and culture
Project topic
Culture & history

Fieldwork / Study

Fieldwork country
Iceland
Fieldwork region
Iceland
Fieldwork location

Geolocation is 65.56585, -17.03362

Fieldwork start
25.06.2012
Fieldwork end
25.07.2012

SAR information

Fieldwork / Study

Fieldwork country
Iceland
Fieldwork region
Iceland
Fieldwork location

Geolocation is 64.15, -21.95

Fieldwork start
21.01.2013
Fieldwork end
25.01.2013

SAR information

Project details

01.07.2019
Science / project plan

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Science / project summary
This project will support the PhD research of doctoral student Megan Hicks under the supervision of Dr. Thomas McGovern. The project Centennial Scale Human Ecodynamics at Skútustaðir will contribute to the understanding of long-term economic and ecological practices in N. Iceland by examining the archaeological record of a district-center farm, Skútustaðir, first settled during Iceland's initial settlement period (871-950 CE) and occupied through to the present. During this farm's long history, inhabitants experienced economic consolidation, colonialism, changes in land tenure and land use in addition to fluctuations in their natural environment including climactic change and soil depletion. These factors interacted directly with subsistence practices (McGovern et al. 2007, McGovern et al. 2006). Long term sites such as Skútustaðir would have been the social and economic backbone of their regions. Their study is crucial to generating the long term picture of settlement history, ecological history and social history in this region though time. Theoretical foundations of this research include Historical Ecology in archaeology as laid out by Carole Crumley (1994) with its concern for historical context and emphasis on long term investigations of landscapes changing through time while dialectically influenced by human activity. The project's main method is zooarchaeology which is particularly relevant in Iceland as the vast majority of dietary subsistence and economic transactions were based on animal products. The field research includes the excavation of additional zooarchaeological material (animal bones) as evidence of subsistence practices from the middle ages to complete the chronology of this long term site. Included will be the analysis of dated samples of eggshell already excavated- evidence of a sustainable long term tradition of egg harvesting at Skútustaðir a tradition with social and ecological dimensions in the most diverse waterfowl habitat on earth (Lake Mývatn). Archival work will provide a rich social context for archaeological remains.
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