Val successfully defended her thesis in 2011.
Since the late 1980s, the history of the North Atlantic World has been a focus of interdisciplinary studies as one of the few places where the settlement of pristine landscapes and the emergence of new societies can be studied. Within these studies, however, evidence for domestic economies and external trade relationships in early medieval Icelandic and Faeroese history has received little scholarly analysis. This neglect is particularly apparent with regard to the historical evidence for the role of fish in the economy of Iceland and Faeroes. In fact, recent paleo-environmental and archaeological studies have suggested that both Iceland and Faeroes were involved in overseas trade prior to the 13th century, complementing emerging archaeological investigation that has begun to suggest the significance of fish in early medieval trade (both local and international) and in shaping changes from local chieftain based societies to polities based on a centralised authority.
My research addressed the connection between Iceland’s marine resources and its varying economic power and also investigated the role of marine resources in politico-economic developments of the Faeroes from c. 800 -1400. This produced a thorough account on the socio-economic developments of those countries within a medieval European context.
My other research interests lie in the economic transformation, trade and exchange from the Iron Age to early medieval Europe and the relationships between those changes and changes in social organisation.