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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Palaeoenvironmental excursions in the Norse North Atlantic Seminar

6 March 2013
Shackleton Building 44, Lecture Theatre B

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Dr Julian Leyland at .

Event details

Semester 2 seminar

The last decade has seen comprehensive investigations of Viking Age and later impacts on the formerly pristine landscapes of the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland. These multi- and interdisciplinary projects have featured a variety of approaches including those involving pollen, insects, bone, soils, erosion, isotopes, DNA and historiography with evidence obtained from archaeological sites, the wider landscape and historical documents.
This seminar presents some of the findings arising from this research and addresses such questions as:
In the Faroe Islands, do the finds of early cereal-type pollen and the existence of 'ancient' fields indicate a pre-Norse settlement by Irish monks or early Viking visitors?
For Iceland, did the first Norse settlers really see woodland 'from the mountain tops to the sea'; what was the nature of land management; and were the Norse responsible for devastating soil erosion?
In Greenland, what do new environmental studies reveal about the major settlement foci for the Norse; was fire really a major land-use agent; how important was irrigation; what about the enigmatic ‘Middle Settlement’; and was there really a Jared Diamond-type ‘Collapse’ of the Norse colony?

Speaker information

Kevin J. Edwards, University of Aberdeen. Departments of Geography & Environment and Archaeology

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