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Article

Soils and palaeo-climate based evidence for irrigation requirements in Norse Greenland

Citation
Adderley WP & Simpson I (2006) Soils and palaeo-climate based evidence for irrigation requirements in Norse Greenland, Journal of Archaeological Science, 33 (12), pp. 1666-1679.

Abstract
Establishing and sustaining agricultural production was a key factor in the success of Norse settlements during the landnám colonisation across the North Atlantic. In light of the occurrence of channel features in several abandoned home-field areas of the Norse Eastern Settlement of Greenland, and the irrigation requirements of present-day Greenlandic sheep-farmers questions are raised: was irrigation used by the Norse settlers of Greenland on their home-field areas? and, if so, how frequently? Modelling of soil chemical, physical and soil-water hydraulic properties integrated with contemporary high-resolution climatic data demonstrate a frequent requirement for irrigation. Soil moisture deficits are related to the duration and intensity of winter temperature. Using the winter Dye 3 ice core δ18O record as a climatic proxy, the frequency of moisture deficits, based on comparing mean winter temperatures, indicates that there was a frequent irrigation requirement to maintain home-field productivity, increasing throughout the period of settlement until the 14th Century.

Keywords
Brattahlíð; Landnám; Home-field; Guelph Permeameter

Journal
Journal of Archaeological Science: Volume 33, Issue 12

StatusPublished
AuthorsAdderley, W Paul; Simpson, Ian
Publication date01/12/2006
Publication date online11/05/2006
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/624
PublisherElsevier
ISSN 0305-4403
LanguageEnglish
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