High resolution paleoenvironmental and chronological investigations of Norse landnám at Tasiusaq, Eastern Settlement, Greenland

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High-resolution paleoenvironmental data from a peat profile with a small pollen source area are used to reconstruct the impacts of landnam on vegetation and soils at a Norse farm complex (circle divide 2 at Tasiusaq) comprising two farms in the Eastern Settlement of Greenland. Analyses include the AMS C-14 dating of plant macrofossil samples and the use of Bayesian radiocarbon calibration to construct improved age-depth models for Norse cultural horizons. The onset of a regional landnam may be indicated by the clearance of Betula pubescens woodland immediately prior to local settlement. The latter is dated to AD 950-1020 (2 sigma) and is characterised by possible burning of Betula glandulosa scrub to provide grassland pasture for domestic stock. Clearance and grazing resulted in accelerated levels of soil erosion at a westerly farm. This was followed by an easterly migration of settlement and agriculture. Site constraints prevent an assessment of the demise of the easterly farm, but pressures of overgrazing and land degradation may have been the major factors responsible for the abandonment of the earlier farm. (C) 2007 University of Washington. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalQuaternary Research
Issue number1
Early online date21 Dec 2007
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008


  • Greenland
  • Norse
  • Eastern Settlement
  • landnam
  • palynology
  • radiocarbon dating
  • Bayesian statistics
  • soil erosion
  • North-Atlantic Islands
  • landscape change
  • pollen
  • calibration
  • charcoal
  • program
  • climate
  • records

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