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Was it for walrus? Viking Age settlement and medieval walrus ivory trade in Iceland and Greenland

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  • Karin M. Frei, National Museum of Denmark, Danmark
  • Ashley N. Coutu, University of Cape Town, Sydafrika
  • Konrad Smiarowski, City University of New York, USA
  • Ramona Harrison, City University of New York, USA
  • Kristian K. Madsen, National Museum of Denmark, Danmark
  • Jette Arneborg, National Museum of Denmark, Danmark
  • Robert Frei, Københavns Universitet, Danmark
  • Gardar Gudmundsson, Archaeological Institute of Iceland, Island
  • Søren Michael Sindbæk
  • James Woollett, Université Laval, Canada
  • Steven Hartman, Mid Sweden University, Sverige
  • Megan Hicks, City University of New York, USA
  • Thomas H. McGovern, City University of New York, USA
Walrus-tusk ivory and walrus-hide rope were highly desired goods in Viking Age north-west Europe. New finds of walrus bone and ivory in early Viking Age contexts in Iceland are concentrated in the south-west, and suggest extensive exploitation of nearby walrus for meat, hide and ivory during the first century of settlement. In Greenland, archaeofauna suggest a very different specialized long-distance hunting of the much larger walrus populations in the Disko Bay area that brought mainly ivory to the settlement areas and eventually to European markets. New lead isotopic analysis of archaeological walrus ivory and bone from Greenland and Iceland offers a tool for identifying possible source regions of walrus ivory during the early Middle Ages. This opens possibilities for assessing the development and relative importance of hunting grounds from the point of view of exported products.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftWorld Archaeology
Vol/bind47
Nummer3
Sider (fra-til)439-466
Antal sider28
ISSN0043-8243
StatusUdgivet - 2015

Bibliografisk note

DOI: 10.1080/00438243.2015.1025912

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