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World systems and human ecodynamics in medieval Eyjafjorthur, north Iceland : Gasir and its hinterlands

Author: Ramona Harrison; City University of New York. Anthropology.
Publisher: 2013.
Dissertation: Ph. D. City University of New York 2013.
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : Manuscript   Archival Material : English
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
This dissertation examines the potential connections between the Eyjafjorthur region and the centrally located Gasir, home to a medieval trading site and a large church structure. Historical sources document the presence of Icelanders at Gasir and an interpretation of those sources suggests interactions between a seasonal trading community at the trading site made up of Icelanders and non-Icelandic (mainly
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Details

Material Type: Thesis/dissertation, Manuscript, Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Archival Material, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Ramona Harrison; City University of New York. Anthropology.
ISBN: 9781303535192 130353519X
OCLC Number: 871698143
Description: 486 leaves ; 29 cm
Responsibility: Ramona Harrison.

Abstract:

This dissertation examines the potential connections between the Eyjafjorthur region and the centrally located Gasir, home to a medieval trading site and a large church structure. Historical sources document the presence of Icelanders at Gasir and an interpretation of those sources suggests interactions between a seasonal trading community at the trading site made up of Icelanders and non-Icelandic (mainly Norwegian) merchants and sailors in the 13th-14th centuries.

Utilizing data gathered from archaeological and environmental analyses this doctoral research project examines the inter-relationship of the medieval seasonal trading center at Gasir and the surrounding Icelandic countryside. It will contrast a potential Minimalist Scenario (small and relatively un-influential Gasir with little or no actual hinterland effect) with a Maximalist Scenario (a large and powerful Gasir with an impact comparable to a small medieval town) and an Intermediate Scenario (with a real hinterland effect but one different from the post-medieval impacts). The doctoral thesis presents evidence for settlement and economy in the Eyjafjorthur-Horgardalur valley systems from Viking Age to Early Modern periods, with a focus upon the 13th-14th century. It is the result of a five year program of site survey and selective excavations, partially funded by an NSF doctoral improvement grant (OPP ARC 0809033, PI: Harrison). This dissertation makes use of a multi-site, landscape based approach aimed at better understanding the complex interactions of local and regional climate, Icelandic economic and social changes between Viking Age and high Middle Ages in the region, and the potential connections between local sites and economic processes to the wider North Atlantic economy of the 13th--14 th c. "proto-world system."

The author's specialty in Zooarchaeology enables utilization of excellent proxy data to provide insight into the issues discussed here. It further helps address broad questions of North Atlantic pathway divergence and the role of cross-regional, inter-scale connection in a context of rapid environmental and social change with reference to one particularly well researched portion of northern Iceland.

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