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Article

Local-scale adaptations: a modeled assessment of soil, landscape, microclimatic and management factors in Norse home-field productivities

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. http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/119877513/abstract; https://doi.org/10.1002/gea.20228

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.

Keywords
Micromorphology; Geoarchaeology; Modelling; North Atlantic; Climate; Norse; Farming; Archaeological geology; Land use Iceland Management; Soil formation Iceland; Land settlement patterns, Iceland; Vikings Iceland

Journal
Geoarchaeology: Volume 23, Issue 4

StatusPublished
Author(s)Adderley, W Paul; Simpson, Ian; Vésteinsson, Orri
Publication date31/07/2008
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/339
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons
Publisher URLhttp://www3.interscience.wiley.com/…9877513/abstract
ISSN0883-6353
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