Fuel resource utilisation in landscapes of settlement


Simpson I, Vésteinsson O, Adderley WP & McGovern TH (2003) Fuel resource utilisation in landscapes of settlement. Journal of Archaeological Science, 30 (11), pp. 1401-1420.;

One little understood aspect of the settlement and colonisation of Iceland is fuel resource use. In this paper we identify fuel ash residues from temporally constrained middens at two contrasting settlement age sites in Mývatnssveit, northern Iceland, one high status, the other low status and ultimately abandoned. Fuel residues derived from experimental combustion of historically defined fuel resources are used to provide control for thin section micromorphology and complementary image analyses of fuel residue materials found in the midden deposits. The results suggest that fuel resources utilised at the time of settlement were for both low temperature and high temperature use, and included a mix of birch and willow wood, peat, mineral-based turf and cow dung. There are, however, marked variations in the mix of fuel resources utilised at the two sites. This is considered to reflect social regulation of fuel resources and socially driven changes to local and regional environments that may have contributed to the success or failure of early settlement sites in Iceland.

Traditional fuel use; Settlement landscapes; Thin section micromorphology; Image analyses; Historical ecology; Iceland; North Atlantic region; Excavations (Archaeology) Iceland; Iceland Colonization History Sources; Soil micromorphology

Journal of Archaeological Science: Volume 30, Issue 11

Publication date30/11/2003
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