Landnám Íslands

07 Landnám Pernille og Magda.002

 

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Pernille Hermann

The Landnám — Narratives of New Beginnings, Myths and the Weather

Fimmtudaginn 8. janúar 2015 kl. 16.30
Odda 101

Pernille Hermann
Pernille Hermann

In this paper I will focus on a foundational discourse pertinent to sagas that are preoccupied with the coming into being of new social spaces, that is, narratives of new beginnings. I will focus on descriptions of the weather, in the sense of stormy weather, and argue that weather descriptions along with other features provide the sagas with a mythic status. This argument will be supported by the studies by, e.g. Lucien Boia (The Weather in the Imagination. London: Reaktion Books, 2005), showing that in a comparative perspective weather phenomena are frequently integral to myths of origin.

Pernille Hermann is an associate professor of Scandinavian Languages and Literature at Aarhus University. Her research focusses on Old Norse-Icelandic literature and she is currently working on the impact of memory on medieval Norse literature.

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Magdalena Schmid

Did the colonization of Iceland happen between 870 and 930 AD?

Fimmtudaginn 8. janúar 2015 kl. 16.30
Odda 101

Magdalena Maria E Scmid
Magdalena Schmid

This paper aims to enhance the dating of archaeological and environmental data from the earliest sites of human occupation in Iceland in order to understand better the timing, scale and rate of the colonization of Iceland. This is important, because both the quantity of early sites — approximately 650 in total — as well as the quality of excavation methods have improved in the last 20 years. Furthermore, new statistical approaches, primarily Bayesian statistics, enable precise chronological frameworks that combine stratigraphy, tephrochronology, typology, historical dates, palaeoecological records and radiocarbon calibrations allowing both the maximum information to be produced from scarce archaeological resources and more detailed archaeological questions to be addressed. First: When did large-scale colonization begin? Second: What is the speed of colonization? Was it a rapid or a long and drawn-out process? This study focuses on the re-assessment of the archaeological and environmental data; it both discusses how reliable it is and how it can be used to test colonization models. A key motivation for this research is the idea that Iceland is located in the deep ocean, where in the ninth century neither indigenous people nor mammals lived, and agriculture had not yet been practised making this volcanic island the most extreme case study to test colonization models.

Magdalena M.E. Schmid is an archaeologist and PhD candidate at the University of Iceland. Her research focuses on the colonization of Iceland; she is exploring archaeological and environmental data from the earliest sites and tries to refine the chronology of Viking-Age Iceland.