Human Ecology

, 33:685 | Cite as

Toftanes: The Paleoecology of a Faroese Landnám Farm

  • Kim Vickers
  • Joanna Bending
  • Paul C. Buckland
  • Kevin J. Edwards
  • Steffen Stummann Hansen
  • Gordon Cook


For the first time in the Faroe Islands, the paleoecological content of an early Norse farm has been sampled comprehensively in an effort to understand how it functioned and its relationship to the landscape in which it was located. Organic deposits indicate an increase in species diversity at the time of settlement, including the introduction of several new species. Plant resources from various areas of the treeless landscape were exploited and farm buildings contained suites of synanthropic insects dominated by those associated with accumulations of decaying plant debris. Potential fuels included wood, peat, dung, and seaweed. Insect faunas lacked both ectoparasites and a significant foul beetle component. This may be a reflection of animal husbandry, with stock not being stalled over winter in the farm buildings examined, or an absence of wool-processing in the buildings. Results compare well with other sites in the North Atlantic and argue for the consistent nature of the Norse farming economy across the region.

Key Words

Norse Faroe Islands North Atlantic paleoecology agriculture 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kim Vickers
    • 1
  • Joanna Bending
    • 1
  • Paul C. Buckland
    • 2
  • Kevin J. Edwards
    • 3
  • Steffen Stummann Hansen
    • 4
  • Gordon Cook
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of ArcheologyUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.School of Conservation SciencesBournemouth UniversityDorsetUnited Kingdom
  3. 3.Department of Geography and Environment and Northern Studies CentreUniversity of AberdeenAberdeenUnited Kingdom
  4. 4.Føroya FornminnissavnTórshavn
  5. 5.SUERC Radiocarbon Dating LaboratoryScottish Universities Environmental Research CentreEast KilbrideUnited Kingdom

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