Europeanization of sub-Arctic environments: perspectives from Norse Greenland’s outer fjords



Golding KA, Simpson I, Wilson C, Lowe EC, Schofield JE & Edwards KJ (2015) Europeanization of sub-Arctic environments: perspectives from Norse Greenland’s outer fjords. Human Ecology, 43 (1), pp. 61-77.

Europeanization of sub-Arctic environments by Norse communities in Greenland, from the early 11th to mid 15th centuries AD, varied spatially and temporally, with pastoral agriculture and associated homefield management at the heart of this transformation. This process is poorly understood for the outer fjord areas of Norse Greenland and from this locality we contribute a homefield soils and sediments-based analysis. Our findings identify a recipe effect - the partitioning of turf, domestic animal manure and domestic waste resources used to manage soil fertility, field irrigation channels and the effects of eroded material deposition in the homefield. These management practices increased soil macro-nutrient status relative to pre-settlement concentration in some areas of the homefield whilst macro-nutrient concentrations in other areas of the homefield were allowed to decline. We suggest that where resources were limited, sustainable intensification could only be achieved in some areas of the homefield with other areas managed unsustainably.

Europeanization; Sub-Arctic; Norse Greenland; Anthrosols; Sustainable intensification

Human Ecology: Volume 43, Issue 1

FundersThe Leverhulme Trust
Publication date28/02/2015
Publication date online18/12/2014

People (2)


Professor Ian Simpson

Professor Ian Simpson

Professor, Biological and Environmental Sciences

Dr Clare Wilson

Dr Clare Wilson

Senior Lecturer, Biological and Environmental Sciences

Projects (1)