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Human Ecodynamics in the North Atlantic

A Collaborative Model of Humans and Nature through Space and Time

Edited by Ramona Harrison and Ruth A. Maher - Contributions by Colin Amundsen; Julie M. Bond; Stephen J. Dockrill; Andrew J. Dugmore; Julie Gibson; Ramona Harrison; Megan Hicks; Aaron Kendall; Ruth A. Maher; Thomas H. McGovern; Konrad Smiarowski and Richard Streeter

In Human Ecodynamics in the North Atlantic: A Collaborative Model of Humans and Nature through Space and Time, Ramona Harrison and Ruth A. Maher have compiled a series of separate research projects conducted across the North Atlantic region that each contribute greatly to anthropological archaeology. This book assembles a regional model through which the reader is presented with a vivid and detailed image of the climatic events and cultures which have occupied these seas and lands for roughly a 5000-year period. It provides a model of adaptability, resilience, and sustainability that can be applied globally.

First, visiting the Northern Isles of Scotland in the Orkney Islands, the reader is taken through the archaeology from the Neolithic Period through World War II in the face of sea-level rise and rapidly eroding coastlines. The Shetland Islands then reveal a deep-time study of one large-scale Iron Age excavation. On to the northern coasts of Norway, where information about late medieval maritime peoples is explained. Iceland explores human–environment interaction and implications of climate change presented from the Viking Age through the Early Modern Era. Rounding out the North Atlantic Region is Greenland, which sheds light on the Norse in the late Viking Age and the Middle Ages.
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Lexington Books
Pages: 238Size: 6 x 9
978-0-7391-8547-6 • Hardback • October 2014 • $90.00 • (£60.00)
978-0-7391-8548-3 • eBook • October 2014 • $89.99 • (£60.00)
Ramona Harrisonis associate professor at the University of Bergen, Norway and research associate at Hunter College, CUNY.

Ruth A. Maher is HSS research coordinator and adjunct professor of archaeology at William Paterson University.

Table of Contents
List of Figures and Tables
1.Humans: A Force of Nature
Ruth A. Maher and Ramona Harrison
2.Shaped by the Sea: the Archaeology of Orkney’s
Maritime Communities

Julie Gibson
3.The Prehistoric Village Old Scatness: A Research Study in
Longevity, Ecodynamics and Interactions

Stephen J. Dockrill and Julie M. Bond
4.Coupled Human and Natural Systems: a New Perspective
on Early Fishing and Fishing Cultures of Northern Norway

Colin Amundsen
5.Land of the Dead: Human Ecodynamics of Ritual and
Belief in Viking Period Iceland

Ruth A. Maher
6.Material Culture and North Atlantic Trade in Iceland
and Greenland

Aaron Kendall
7.Connecting the Land to the Sea at Gásir: International Exchange
and Long-Term Eyjafjörður Ecodynamics in Medieval Iceland

Ramona Harrison
8.Losing Sleep Counting Sheep: Early Modern Dynamics of
Hazardous Husbandry in Mývatn, Iceland

Megan Hicks
9.Sorting Sheep & Goats in Medieval Iceland and Greenland:
Local Subsistence, Climate Change or World System Impacts?

Thomas H. McGovern, Ramona Harrison, Konrad Smiarowski
10.Climate-Related Farm-to-Shieling Transition at E74 Qorlortorsuaq
in Norse Greenland

Konrad Smiarowski
11.Landscape legacies of Landnám in Iceland: What has happened
to the environment as a result of settlement, why did it happen
and what have been some of the consequences

Andrew J. Dugmore, Thomas H. McGovern and Richard Streeter
12.North Atlantic Human Ecodynamics Research: Looking forwards
from the past

Thomas H. McGovern
About the Authors
A human force of nature. Spanning the North Atlantic from the Viking Iron Age to the nineteenth century, the authors navigate a two-way street of interaction between humans and their environment that highlights both the successes and missteps along the way.
Christyann Darwent, editor of Arctic Anthropology

A remarkable demonstration of the value of close collaboration in interdisciplinary thinking. The human ecodynamics approach of the authors brings together archaeologists, environmental historians, and paleoecologists to provide new theoretical insights and solid scientific evidence to make real-world decisions. As the evidence of the potential threat of climate change continues to accumulate, the authors of this volume take a comprehensive approach to understanding past societies in the North Atlantic region and their relationship to the landscapes and seascapes surrounding them. They ask the question, what can we learn from the past? Being at the climatic extreme of human settlement and a region hyper-sensitive to variations in climate, the experiences and responses of these people may prove to be the ‘canary in the coal mine’ for all of us interested in how to best face climate change in the future.
Charles Redman, Arizona State University