The First settler Atlantic: George Hambrecht, ‘The First European Colonization of the North Atlantic’, Contributions To Global Historical Archaeology, 2015, pp. 203-225
Abstract: Many centuries before Columbus, the Norse peoples of Scandinavia colonized parts of Western Europe as well as the Northern Atlantic islands: the Shetlands, the Orkneys, the Faroes, Iceland, Greenland, and for at least a few years, Newfoundland. This was part of a larger process whose eastern half effected what today is Russia and was at least in part a response to wider Eurasian phenomenon. This chapter will concentrate on the North Atlantic portion of this story with an emphasis on how the archaeology of the settlement period (c. 800–1000 CE), the medieval period (c. 1000–1500 CE), and the postmedieval period (c. 1500–1800) has altered older narratives that sought to explain this early medieval colonial effort as well as created new narratives. A number of key sites in each of the North Atlantic will be discussed and put into a larger archaeological and historical context. In terms of the content of this volume, this chapter will present an earlier colonial phenomenon that was driven by many of the same variables that affected the post-Columbian Americas such as the commodification of natural resources and long-range trade, elite sponsored colonization, and the maintenance of power in the face of novel and unfamiliar conditions. In conclusion, the chapter will discuss the archaeology of the influence of the post-Columbian world on these medieval North Atlantic colonies.
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