Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.600073
Title: The use and control of wood resources in Viking Age and medieval Iceland
Author: Mooney, Dawn Elise
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2013
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Abstract:
This project investigates the use of wood in Iceland during the Viking and Early Medieval Periods, and discusses the control and management of wood resources and their variation over space and time. Previous palaeoenvironmental studies and historical sources had suggested that after the colonisation of Iceland around AD 870, the Norse settlers cleared the native Icelandic birch woodland to make way for hay fields, and used the timber for fuel and construction, rapidly reducing the woodland cover from its original 18-40% to the 1% present today. This investigation, which compares archaeological evidence to information about wood resources given in historical sources, reassesses these traditional models and interprets the decline of Icelandic woodland in relation to the utilisation and control of wood resources on the island, to understand the relationships between sites in terms of wood procurement, control and sharing. Wood anatomical analysis is used to assign taxonomic identifications to wooden artefacts and charred and mineralised wood remains from ten study sites across Iceland, allowing the origin of these assemblages to be identified as native wood, driftwood or imported wood. Understanding the distribution of non-native woods is essential to the understanding of how wood resources were shared and controlled on the island. The results show that despite the decline of the native woodlands, wood continued to be used as fuel and in artefact production and the construction of buildings and boats throughout the Medieval Period, and that the control of access to these resources was key to their continued availability. This project integrates for the first time archaeological, environmental and historical evidence, resulting in a holistic view of wood use during Viking Age and Medieval Iceland, and provides an important contribution to the understanding of natural resource use and human-environment interactions in the North Atlantic region.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Aberdeen ; College of Physical Sciences
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.600073  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Wood
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