Sveinbjarnardottir G, Simpson I & Thomson AM (2008) Land in Landscapes circum Landnám: an Integrated Study of Settlements in Reykholtsdalur, Iceland. Journal of the North Atlantic, 1 (1), pp. 1-15. http://www.bioone.org/perlserv/?request=get-archive&issn=1935-1933; https://doi.org/10.3721/070420
The initial settlement of Iceland in the ninth and tenth centuries AD was based on animal husbandry, with an emphasis on dairy cattle and sheep. For this activity, land resources that offered a range of grazing and fodder production opportunities were required to sustain farmsteads. In this paper the nature of land within the boundaries of settlements in an area of Western Iceland centred on Reykholt, which became the estate of the writer and chieftain Snorri Sturluson in the thirteenth century, is analysed with a Geographical Information Systems (GIS) approach. The results, combining historical, archaeological and environmental data with the GIS-based topographic analysis suggests that although inherent land qualities seem to have played a part in shaping the initial hierarchy of settlement in the area, it was the acquisition of additional property and of access to resources outside the valley that ultimately pushed Reykholt to the forefront in the hierarchal order.
Journal of the North Atlantic: Volume 1, Issue 1