Stable isotopic (δ13C and δ15N) characterization of key faunal resources 1 from Norse period 2 settlements in North Iceland

Ascough, P. L. , Church, M. J., Cook, G. T. , Einarsson, Á., McGovern, T. H., Dugmore, A. J. and Edwards, K. J. (2014) Stable isotopic (δ13C and δ15N) characterization of key faunal resources 1 from Norse period 2 settlements in North Iceland. Journal of the North Atlantic, 7(7), pp. 25-42. (doi:10.3721/037.002.sp703)

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Abstract

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 δ<sup>13</sup>C and δ<sup>15</sup>N) in archaeofaunal bones provide a powerful tool for the reconstruction of Norse economy and diet. Here we assess the δ<sup>13</sup>C and δ<sup>15</sup>N 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:Articles
Additional Information:Further reproduction or distribution in whole or in part, except for personal research purposes, is prohibited without the written permission of the journal’s publisher, the Eagle Hill Institute.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cook, Professor Gordon and Ascough, Dr Philippa
Authors: Ascough, P. L., Church, M. J., Cook, G. T., Einarsson, Á., McGovern, T. H., Dugmore, A. J., and Edwards, K. J.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Journal of the North Atlantic
Publisher:Eagle Hill Publications
ISSN:1935-1984
ISSN (Online):1935-1933
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2014 Eagle Hill Publications
First Published:First published in the Journal of the North Atlantic 7(7):25-42
Publisher Policy:Reproduced with the permission of the publisher.

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