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Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Local-scale adaptations: a modeled assessment of soil, landscape, microclimatic and management factors in Norse home-field productivities
Author(s): Adderley, W Paul
Simpson, Ian
Vésteinsson, Orri
Keywords: Micromorphology
North Atlantic
Archaeological geology
Land use Iceland Management
Soil formation Iceland
Land settlement patterns, Iceland
Vikings Iceland
Issue Date: Jul-2008
Date Deposited: 16-Apr-2008
Citation: Adderley WP, Simpson I & Vésteinsson O (2008) Local-scale adaptations: a modeled assessment of soil, landscape, microclimatic and management factors in Norse home-field productivities. Geoarchaeology, 23 (4), pp. 500-527.;
Abstract: Adaptation of farming practices to inherent site conditions was essential to the success of Norse colonization in pristine landscapes. A key factor in the initial success of colonization, or landnám, of Iceland was management of the area adjacent to the domestic dwelling, the home-field, to provide fodder for over-wintering livestock. In this paper we examine three settlement home-fields in the Mývatn and Laxá valley area of North-east Iceland. Contemporary evidence reveals a distinct climatic toposequence together with differences in the nature of the inherent soils between sites. By considering the influence of these differences, micro-scale adaptations in early land management practices in the production of hay are sought within a tightly defined chronological context. Using an integrated agroecosystem modeling approach the factors affecting long-term sustainability of hay production in the Norse home-field are examined. Results indicate that regional-level climate differences will have an impact on production, especially pronounced cold periods. It is also clear that small-scale climate factors, as well as inherent soil differences between sites influenced productivity for the Norse farmer. However, productivities overall are at subsistence level emphasizing the need for optimized land management to sustain home-field production. By examining different management scenarios it is apparent that the effect of an increased rate of manuring will be most apparent during the first century of settlement, thereafter the effect is relatively diminished.
DOI Link: 10.1002/gea.20228
Rights: This is the author’s final, refereed article. This is a preprint of an article published in Geoarcheaology: an international journal, 23 (4): 500-527. Copyright © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., A Wiley Company. The publisher version is available from the Wiley web site at:; The Publisher John Wiley & Sons does not allow systematic external distribution of this Work, however authors can distribute a free copy to a colleague for the advancement of scholarly or scientific research or study, or for corporate informational purposes. Therefore use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the STORRE record to request a copy directly from the author.
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