SASS – UMass Boston – Fiske Center – Archaeology

Blog of the Skagafjordur Archaeological Settlement Survey

Grétar Magni Guðbergsson 1934 – 2013


We have lost a great friend.  Grétar Guðbergsson passed away last week at the age of 78. Grétar, who called himself an agricultural geologist, set the stage for our archaeological work in Skagafjörður by understanding the nature of the erosion and soil deposition.  His findings were published in three important works:

1975    Myndun móajarðvegs í Skagafirði. Íslenzkar Landnúnaðarrannsóknir 7(1-2):20-45.

1994    Myndun móajarðvegs í Skagafirði. Rit Landverndar 10:133-157.

1996    Í norðlenskri vist. Um gróður, jarðveg, búskaparlög og sögu. Búvísindi 10:31-89.


Grétar taught us to use a fishing knife rather than a Marshalltown trowel to investigate the tephra and the soil.  In the future, when I get out my knife, I will think of him.

I already miss his good nature, his quick wit, and his inquisitive mind.  Our thoughts are with his wife Guðný and his family.

Author: John Steinberg

Dr. John Steinberg has been a Research Scientist at the Fiske Center since 2006. He received his PhD in Anthropology from UCLA in 1997. Before coming to UMass Boston, John taught at UCLA and California State University Northridge. He is interested in the economic problems of colonization, both in New England and across the North Atlantic. He uses GIS and shallow geophysics to study settlement patterns to understand broad trends over the landscape. In addition to John's New England work, he has been studying the settlement patterns of Viking Age Iceland. John is the director of the Digital Archaeology Laboratory at the Fiske Center.

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