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Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1080/14614103.2018.1547510

Norse Management of Wooden Resources across the North Atlantic: Highlights from the Norse Greenlandic Settlements

04 Mar 2021-Environmental Archaeology (Informa UK Limited)-Vol. 26, Iss: 2, pp 209-221
Abstract: Trees and timber are of great importance in many cultures across the globe, whether used as a construction material, as a fuel source, or for making tools and items of everyday life. This was also ...

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Topics: Driftwood (50%)
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5 results found


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1111/ARCM.12708
Rob Sands1Institutions (1)
15 Aug 2021-Archaeometry
Topics: Reuse (52%)

2 Citations


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1111/1095-9270.12426
Wojciech Filipowiak1Institutions (1)
Abstract: The discovery of the Narsarsuaq disc (Uunartoq, Greenland) in 1948 sparked a long discussion on the identification of wooden discs as solar compasses used by the Vikings during sea voyages across t...

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2 Citations


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/J.JAS.2021.105407
Abstract: A growing number of studies strive to examine wooden archaeological remains recovered from Norse sites in the North Atlantic, contributing to a better understanding of patterns in both wood exploitation and woodland management. Despite the limited diversity and abundance of trees in the North Atlantic islands, the Medieval Norse kept using wood in most everyday activities including the construction and repair of buildings and boats, the production of artifacts and tools, and as a source of fuel. The proximity of the Greenland settlements with the northeastern American coast, puts them at the forefront in the exploration and exploitation of remote resource regions. While some species may have arrived both as driftwood or imported material, there is currently no method to conclusively identify archaeological wood remains as driftwood. Here, we use biogeochemical analysis of stable hydrogen (δ2H), stable oxygen (δ18O), and radiogenic strontium (87Sr/86Sr) isotopes in soil, water, and modern plant samples from various sites in Greenland and Canada to characterize expected local isotopic baselines. While 87Sr/86Sr isotope ratios do not provide a clear distinction between the regions of interest, δ2H and δ18O ratios appear to help discriminate not only between regions but also specific sites. In addition, we completed a pilot study of archaeological wood samples obtained in Greenland to test the effectiveness of the 87Sr/86Sr biogeochemical baseline. Results demonstrate that at least in some cases, diagenetic processes were not sufficient to mask a non-local 87Sr/86Sr signature.

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Topics: Driftwood (56%)

1 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1080/14614103.2020.1852759
Abstract: At the 23rd Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) in August to September 2017 in Maastricht, NL, two sessions explored how archaeobotanical analysis can be used to expl...

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1 Citations


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/J.JAS.2021.105469
Lísabet Guðmundsdóttir1Institutions (1)
Abstract: The Norse Greenlanders were dependent on wood for making houses, boats, utensils, tools and as fuel. Due to Greenland's northerly latitude and short, cool summers, the local woody taxa include relatively few species, most of which are low-growing shrubs. Consequently, it has been argued that import of timber was necessary to meet the wood requirements of the Norse Greenlanders. The taxa of archaeological wood assemblages from five Norse sites in Greenland, the episcopal manor Garðar/Igaliku (O47), Tatsip Ataa Killeq (O172), Tasilikulooq (O171), Narsaq (O17a) and Garden under Sandet (GUS) were analysed to determine whether the wood was native, import or driftwood. This paper demonstrates that farmers in Greenland used mainly driftwood and native wood, while high-status sites like Igaliku had access to sporadic timber imports from mainland Europe and North America. Furthermore, the proportions of driftwood taxa from the Norse settlements are more or less the same as of Inuit and pre-Inuit cultures in Greenland and the Smith Sound. These results suggest that the Norse Greenlanders were not reliant on imported wood but were in fact mostly self-sufficient in regard to their timber resources.

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Topics: Driftwood (61%), Sound (geography) (50%)
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29 results found


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1073/PNAS.211305498
Abstract: Between A.D. 900 and 1150, more than 200,000 conifer trees were used to build the prehistoric great houses of Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, in what is now a treeless landscape. More than one-fifth of these timbers were spruce (Picea) or fir (Abies) that were hand-carried from isolated mountaintops 75–100 km away. Because strontium from local dust, water, and underlying bedrock is incorporated by trees, specific logging sites can be identified by comparing 87Sr/86Sr ratios in construction beams from different ruins and building periods to ratios in living trees from the surrounding mountains. 87Sr/86Sr ratios show that the beams came from both the Chuska and San Mateo (Mount Taylor) mountains, but not from the San Pedro Mountains, which are equally close. Incorporation of logs from two sources in the same room, great house, and year suggest stockpiling and intercommunity collaboration at Chaco Canyon. The use of trees from both the Chuska and San Mateo mountains, but not from the San Pedro Mountains, as early as A.D. 974 suggests that selection of timber sources was driven more by regional socioeconomic ties than by a simple model of resource depletion with distance and time.

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Topics: Canyon (54%)

146 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1080/00438243.2015.1025912
20 Apr 2015-World Archaeology
Abstract: Walrus-tusk ivory and walrus-hide rope were highly desired goods in Viking Age north-west Europe. New finds of walrus bone and ivory in early Viking Age contexts in Iceland are concentrated in the south-west, and suggest extensive exploitation of nearby walrus for meat, hide and ivory during the first century of settlement. In Greenland, archaeofauna suggest a very different specialized long-distance hunting of the much larger walrus populations in the Disko Bay area that brought mainly ivory to the settlement areas and eventually to European markets. New lead isotopic analysis of archaeological walrus ivory and bone from Greenland and Iceland offers a tool for identifying possible source regions of walrus ivory during the early Middle Ages. This opens possibilities for assessing the development and relative importance of hunting grounds from the point of view of exported products.

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Topics: Ivory trade (64%), Viking Age (52%)

81 Citations


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/J.JAS.2005.01.016
Abstract: Previous analysis of 87 Sr/ 86 Sr ratios shows that 10th through 12th century Chaco Canyon was provisioned with plant materials that came from more than 75 km away. This includes (1) corn ( Zea mays ) grown on the eastern flanks of the Chuska Mountains and floodplain of the San Juan River to the west and north, and (2) spruce ( Picea sp.) and fir ( Abies sp.) beams from the crest of the Chuska and San Mateo Mountains to the west and south. Here, we extend 87 Sr/ 86 Sr analysis to ponderosa pine ( Pinus ponderosa ) prevalent in the architectural timber at three of the Chacoan great houses (Pueblo Bonito, Chetro Ketl, Pueblo del Arroyo). Like the architectural spruce and fir, much of the ponderosa matches the 87 Sr/ 86 Sr ratios of living trees in the Chuska Mountains. Many of the architectural ponderosa, however, have similar ratios to living trees in the La Plata and San Juan Mountains to the north and Lobo Mesa/Hosta Butte to the south. There are no systematic patterns in spruce/fir or ponderosa provenance by great house or time, suggesting the use of stockpiles from a few preferred sources. The multiple and distant sources for food and timber, now based on hundreds of isotopic values from modern and archeological samples, confirm conventional wisdom about the geographic scope of the larger Chacoan system. The complexity of this procurement warns against simple generalizations based on just one species, a single class of botanical artifact, or a few isotopic values.

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68 Citations


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/J.GLOPLACHA.2004.10.004
Claire Alix1Institutions (1)
Abstract: Driftwood that originates in the Siberian and North American boreal forest is the major source of wood to people in the treeless Arctic. It archives various kinds of data about climate, river flow, ocean and ice circulation, and other critical environmental and cultural characteristics in the north. Unlike wood in most other regions, it is often well preserved in arctic archaeological sites. The existence and renewal of driftwood are closely linked to specific climatic and ecological conditions that have changed through time (e.g., floods, river banks, storms, prevailing currents and winds, sea-ice circulation, etc.). These conditions differently affect the fall, circulation and delivery of driftwood to the coast, resulting in changes in abundance, distribution and intrinsic properties of the wood. Based on a review of existing literature supplemented by new data from Alaska, this paper details factors underlying the “dynamic of driftwood production” in terms of driftwood abundance and quality, and indigenous people's use of the resource. Oral history interviews in coastal and river communities of Alaska recorded knowledge on driftwood use and ecology. Driftwood samples were collected from accumulations along the northwest coast of Alaska and the south of the Chukotka Peninsula. Results show that the timing of treefall and river transport are crucial to the subsequent ocean circulation and may determine the size and quality of the wood. Ultimately, it conditions what coastal people could build or manufacture.

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Topics: Driftwood (70%), Arctic (54%)

55 Citations


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1006/QRES.2000.2141
Arthur S. Dyke1, James M. Savelle2Institutions (2)
Abstract: Holocene driftwood is found on postglacial raised beaches of Wollaston Peninsula, Victoria Island. The highest driftwood appears on the 12- to 13-m beach, which formed about 4000 yr B.P., and is common on beaches 12–6 m in elevation. The earliest Paleoeskimo dwelling features also occur on the 12- to 13-m beach. Wood increases on the 5- to 6-m beach, which formed about 2000 yr B.P., and is abundant below that level. Thus, zonation of wood suggests the following hypotheses: (1) that the coastal Mackenzie Current, the source of modern driftwood, did not operate before 4000 yr B.P. and lacked its present vigor or persistence until 2000 yr B.P.; and (2) that the apparent sudden influx of driftwood at 4000 yr B.P. may have provided a fuel resource and (or) may have been related to conditions that enabled first peopling. Radiocarbon ages indicate that (1) the first wood arrived about 4700 yr B.P.; (2) little wood arrived from 4700–2000 yr B.P.; and (3) influx of wood was episodic after 2000 yr B.P. Much of the wood that arrived after 1100 yr B.P. was redistributed by people and scattered on higher beaches. Explanation of the evident correlation between highest wood and highest dwelling features must await archaeological studies.

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Topics: Driftwood (62%)

51 Citations


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