Human Impacts on Ancient Marine Ecosystems: A Global Perspective

By Torben C. Rick; Jon M. Erlandson | Go to book overview

9
Codfish and Kings, Seals and Subsistence
NORSE MARINE RESOURCE USE IN THE NORTH ATLANTIC

Sophia Perdikaris and Thomas H. McGovern

IN THE PAST TWO DECADES, the archaeology and paleoecology of the North Atlantic have been transformed by a series of major international, interdisciplinary projects (Barrett et al. 2000; Church et al. 2005; Dockrill et al. 2005; Edwards et al. 2004; McGovern 2001; McGovern et al. 2007; Parker-Pearson and Sharples 1999; Sharples 1998, 2005; Simpson et al. 2001). Most have been inspired by the theoretical framework of historical ecology (Crumley 1994) in their investigation of the complex interactions of climate, landscape change, and human culture in the region, and all have made geoarchaeology, archaeobotany, zooarchaeology, and human osteology part of their fundamental research design. Since 1990, the North Atlantic Biocultural Organization (NABO) has aided these collective efforts by holding coordinating meetings and workshops (New York 1992, Glasgow 1994, St. John’s 1997, Glasgow 2001, Akureyri 2002, Copenhagen 2003, Quebec 2006), providing identification manuals and data management tools to aid comparability (Krivogorskaya et al. 2005; McGovern 2004), and by publishing monographs, working group reports, and conference volumes (Bigelow 1991; Arneborg et al. 2006; Housely and Coles 2004; Morris and Rackham 1994; Ogilvie and Jónsson 2001). NABO has sponsored long-running international field schools in Iceland and Shetland, which have drawn students from 26 nations since 1996 (McGovern 2004). Major regional research foci include culture contact, the impact of climatic fluctuations of the Medieval and early modern period, and the varied environmental impacts of imported European agricultural systems upon island ecosystems. The interaction between marine and terrestrial economies is a cross-cutting theme that unites virtually all investigations in the region. This chapter presents some of the results of this long-term international collaboration and makes use of newly available data sets and regional syntheses to provide a broad overview of Norse use of marine resources for subsistence and for exchange in the North Atlantic (Figure 9.1).


VIKING AGE EXPANSION

The dramatic expansion of Scandinavian culture and settlement during the Viking Age

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