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This paper presents the bulk of existing early modern Icelandic zooarchaeological data together for the first time. The early modern period in Iceland was generally a time of great stress and hardship. These zooarchaeological data present a view of the responses to these hard times and suggest, contrary to a number of historical interpretations, that the people of Iceland often adapted to harsher conditions in dynamic ways. Given the growing effort in archaeology for this period in Iceland as well as the rest of the North Atlantic, these data are presented in the hope that it will stimulate further work and facilitate larger Atlantic comparisons.
Only a small number of archaeological research projects have investigated the interaction between the Inuit and their use of plants as part of their economy. The research presented here provides a robust illustration of the potential that archaeobotanical analysis can bring to arctic archaeology. As part of a larger multidisciplinary archaeological investigation at Uivak 1 site (HjCl-11), northern Labrador, archaeobotanical samples were recovered from multiple of contexts within the site. Results suggest that a variety of plant taxa in significant quantities were recovered from all contexts of the site. Of note are the ubiquitous berry seeds recovered throughout site, suggesting that berries were an important aspect of 18th century Inuit life-ways
The site of the Moravian Mission community at Hebron (established in 1830–1831) on the north Labrador coast is arguably one of the premier historic properties in Atlantic Canada. Its standing architecture testifies to an impressive social experiment that inextricably linked the history of the Moravian Church with the indigenous Inuit of Labrador. Hebron's stunning landscape and prolific natural resources have provided spiritual and economic sustenance for Inuit, Paleoeskimo, and Indian peoples for millennia preceding the arrival of European mercantile and proselytizing interests. In this paper, we use the archaeological data from Inuit houses and middens collected during a 1990 reconnaissance at Hebron in conjunction with Moravian written sources to offer a more nuanced interpretation of Inuit-Moravian interaction. Historical archaeology has a powerful potential to affirm “traditional” and core community values and instill an awareness and pride in community identity. Conducted as part of a growing suite of archaeological projects in Labrador that seek to provide opportunities for community participation and involvement, the research at Hebron dramatically affirms an Inuit voice and perspective in deconstructing the narrative of the historical period which, too date, has primarily been shaped by the voluminous records and accounts of the Moravian missionaries.
The migratory fishery at Newfoundland was a key step in the expansion of the European world system and was, for centuries, one of the largest industrial enterprises in the New World. But large-scale predation of cod was only part of the impact Europeans had on the northwest Atlantic. The shore-based salt-cod fishery involved a complex interaction with local ecosystems, creating predatory pressure on animals used as bait. Cod fishers were large-scale predators of seabirds as well as cod. Use of the Great Auk from the Funk Islands off northern Newfoundland for provisions is well known. It is less often recognized that early fishers preferred seasonal stations close to seabird colonies, in order to use nesting birds as bait. By 1600, human predation in Newfoundland's coastal ecosystem was already a complex business, involving local seabirds and several of the largest marine mammals, as well as fish. Even if only a relatively minor factor in the marine ecology of the northwest Atlantic, industrial-scale harvesting of seabirds probably had a major impact on the maritime cultural landscape, between 1550 and 1750. The early European toponymy of the Petit Nord, a zone exploited primarily by Breton fishers, suggests the possibility that a major seabird colony, now extirpated, once existed on the Atlantic coast of northern Newfoundland.
Between 2002 and 2007, large-scale excavations at the episcopal manor and school of Skálholt in the southwest of Iceland unearthed a massive assemblage of material culture dating from the mid-17th to late 18th century. One of the key questions this paper will address is the position this settlement had within the wider religious, cultural, and economic changes that were taking place over this time period, both within Iceland and the North Atlantic. Special emphasis will be placed on understanding how ideology and the economic nexus were intertwined, and the contradictions that may have emerged over time between these different elements. Skálholt led the Reformation in Iceland, but it was also in the vanguard of the consumer revolution, being one of the most populous settlements in the country before the foundation of Reykjavik as a town in the late 18th century. This paper explores what an archaeology of modernity might look like for Iceland, and in particular, focuses on the relation between spatial organization and ideologies of community which were undergoing major change at this time.
This paper takes the discussion on the concept of Hanseatic material culture from the Baltic and moves it west towards the North Atlantic islands and Norway, focusing on the contact zones between Hanse traders and societies at the fringes of northern Europe. The peoples of this area conducted considerable exchange with the Germans during the 14th through the 17th centuries, a process which could have led to significant impacts on the native cultures. This study describes artifacts produced in northern Germany and imported to the north as a medium transporting culture, and points out the many complex problems in tracing artifact distribution in northern Europe that are caused by multilateral and illegal trade, piracy, and the involvement of third parties. With the help of archaeological methods, the second part of the paper attempts to address some of those issues by suggesting a classification of Hanseatic artifacts.
The arrival of Europeans along the northeastern seaboard of North America heralded the introduction of Old World flora and fauna to the region. The analysis of archaeologically recovered beetle remains suggests that many species may have journeyed across the Atlantic in ships' ballast, food stores, and other provisions. The creation of artificial habitats which occurred as a result of the fisheries and the construction of settlements provided an ecological corridor that facilitated the successful invasion of the European biota. Many of these adventive or accidentally introduced beetle species are associated with synanthropic and disturbed-land habitats which would have been mimicked in the coastal colonies. The arrival of this fauna ultimately contributed to the creation of Europeanized spaces upon the North American landscape.