Skagafjörður Church and Settlement Survey

SCASS Blog

May 16, 2019
by John Steinberg
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Lauren Welch O’Connor defends her thesis entitled “ENVIRONMENTS EXPLORED: AN IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS OF SOIL MOVEMENT IN NORTHERN ICELAND”

Lauren giving a public defense of her thesis

Lauren Welch O’Connor defends her Master’s thesis in Historical Archaeology at UMass Boston in March 2019,  It was an outstanding presentation.

Here is a draft of her Abstract

ENVIRONMENTS EXPLORED: AN IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS OF SOIL MOVEMENT IN NORTHERN ICELAND

The initial colonization of Iceland in the late 9th century had a profound impact on the fragile environment of the North Atlantic island. Settlement and the introduction of livestock resulted in widespread erosion and the replacement of woodlands with meadows and heaths. Changes in the environment are assumed to have played a role in determining settlement patterning and subsistence strategies. While marginal highland areas were most seriously affected, resulting in farmstead abandonment, the nature of changes in lowland areas and their impact on the productivity of individual farms is poorly understood. Local patterns of landscape change in Iceland could be highly varied as erosion in one area often resulted in soil accumulation in another. Focusing on the lowland region of Hegranes in northern Iceland, this thesis examines patterns of erosion and sediment accumulation in relation to fluctuations in farmstead size during three periods of occupation: pre-1104 A.D., 1104-1300 A.D., and post-1300 A.D. This study considers when and where soil erosion and accumulation occurred and its implications for farmstead activity and the long-term viability and productivity of individual farms and households.

July 18, 2018
by John Steinberg
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Hegranesþing: Geophysical Prospection, Coring and Excavation — Interim Report 2017

The 2017 Hegranesþing (Hegranesthing) Geophysical Prospection, Coring and Excavation Interim Report 2017 is now uploaded.  The report describes the new geophysical results with the CMD-Mini Explorer, the follow-up coring and two test pits.  Again, this work builds on previous work at Hegranesþing.  Together, the results hint that there may have been two distinct sequential farmsteads at Hegranesþing, and possibly a third.  These Viking Age farmsteads would be in addition to the sites function as an assembly place.  Follow up work on the third potential farmstead is currently taking place.

This report can be found at:
http://www.fiskecenter.umb.edu/Pdfs/Iceland_PDFs/2017/BSK-2018-204_Hegranesthing_Excavation_Report.pdf

and other SCASS reports can be found at http://www.fiskecenter.umb.edu/Projects/SCASS.html

 

June 30, 2018
by John Steinberg
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Lower Keflavík: Excavation, Geophysical Prospection, and Coring – Interim Report 2017

The Lower Keflavík report is now up on the web.  In this report, we describe a early longhouse about 150 east of the Keflavík main farm mound. This report builds on previous work.  While there are a few bumps in the flattened field, geophysics and coring reveal the a Viking age structure, midden area and associated outbuildings.  The 2017 test pit suggests and early occupation and an abandonment before the AD 1104 tephra fell.  The information in the report has been obtained without any excavation into the structure itself.

 

The report can be found at:
http://www.fiskecenter.umb.edu/Pdfs/Iceland_PDFs/2017/BSK-2018-197_Lower-Keflav%C3%ADk_Excavation_Report.pdf

and other SCASS reports can be found at http://www.fiskecenter.umb.edu/Projects/SCASS.html

June 29, 2018
by John Steinberg
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Keflavík on Hegranes: Cemetery Excavation Interim Report 2017

The Keflavík Cemetery Excavation Interim Report 2017 is now up on the web.  In this report Guðný Zoëga & Douglas Bolender describe the final year of excavations, including descriptions of a smithy and the “rock pit.”  The report also details much about the cemetery wall, inducing a drain and possible channels,  the entrance, and the scalloped radial depressions that trace the interior of the wall.  There are also descriptions of remains of the church itself including the choir and postholes. Finally, the report detales the excavation and contents of the last 8 graves.

 

The report can be found at http://www.fiskecenter.umb.edu/Pdfs/Iceland_PDFs/2017/BSK%202017-191_Keflav%C3%ADk_Cemetery_Excavation_Report.pdf  and other SCASS reports can be found at http://www.fiskecenter.umb.edu/Projects/SCASS.html

April 27, 2018
by John Steinberg
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Fornbýli Landscape and Archaeological Survey on Hegranes (FLASH) Interim Report 2017

The first of several reports from the 2017 work is now ready for distribution.  Entitled “Fornbýli Landscape and Archaeological Survey on Hegranes (FLASH): Interim Report 2017,”  This report contains some of the data and results of Kathryn Catlin’s PhD dissertation on the small sites.  This report covers several Hegranes farms including:  Ás (Minni-Ás, Næfurstaðir, Gunnlaugsgerði, Túnfótur, and a possible Hegrastaðir);  Svanavatn (including another possible Hegrastaðir); Keflavík (Kriki, Þrælagerði, Grænakot/Vík); Utanverðunes (Naustavík); Hamar(Hendilkot); Helluland (Kotið, Grænagerði); Keldudalur (Stekkjarborg, Gerði); and Egg (Minni-Egg).

The report can be found at http://www.fiskecenter.umb.edu/Pdfs/Iceland_PDFs/2017/BSK-2018-196_Fornbyli_Report.pdf  and other SCASS reports can be found at http://www.fiskecenter.umb.edu/Projects/SCASS.html

July 25, 2017
by John Steinberg
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Fornleifarannsóknir í Skagafirði Opið Hús – Verknámshús FNV, Sauðárkróki Laugardagur 29. júlí 12-16: 30

Starfsmenn og nemar Skagfirsku kirkju- og byggðasögurannsóknarinnar bjóða öllum sem áhuga hafa að koma og kynna sér fornleifarannsóknirnar sem við höfum staðið að sl. þrjú ár í Hegranesi

• Hver erum við
• Hvað erum við að gera
• Hvaða aðferðir og tæki eru notuð
• Hvað höfum við fundið
• Spurningar og svör
• Léttar kaffiveitingar
• Og margt fleira!

Kl. 14:00 verður leiðsögn á Hegranesþingstað í landi Garðs í Hegranesi. Minjar á svæðinu verða skoðaðar og nýjustu rannsóknarniðurstöður kynntar.

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July 25, 2017
by John Steinberg
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Skagafjörður Church and Settlement Survey Archaeology Open House – Saturday 29 July 2017 Noon to 4:30 PM in Sauðárkrókur

Archaeologists from the Skagafjörður Church and Settlement Survey invite all who are interested to come and learn about the archaeological research that they have been carrying out for the last three years on Hegranes.

• Who they are
• What they have been doing
• What techniques and technology are used
• What has been found
• Q&A
• Light refreshments
• And much more!!

At 2:00 PM, there will be a guided tour of Hegranesþing. The tour will discuss new research while exploring the ruins.  The rest of the event will take place at Verknámshús FNV in Sauðárkrókur.

All are welcome!!

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