Toftanes: The paleoecology of a Faroese landnam farm

K Vickers, J Bending, P C Buckland, Kevin John Edwards, S S Hansen, G Cook

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20 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)685-710
Number of pages26
JournalHuman Ecology
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • Norse
  • Faroe Islands
  • North Atlantic
  • paleoecology
  • agriculture


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