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Comparative Island Ecodynamics in the North Atlantic

General

Project start
01.01.2012
Project end
31.12.2015
Type of project
ARMAP/NSF
Project theme
Society, economy and culture
Project topic
Culture & history

Fieldwork / Study

Fieldwork country
Greenland (DK)
Fieldwork location

Geolocation is 0, 0

Fieldwork start
16.07.2013
Fieldwork end
30.07.2013

SAR information

Fieldwork / Study

Fieldwork country
Iceland
Fieldwork location

Geolocation is 0, 0

Fieldwork start
01.07.2013
Fieldwork end
15.07.2013

SAR information

Fieldwork / Study

Fieldwork country
Greenland (DK)
Fieldwork location

Geolocation is 0, 0

Fieldwork start
11.07.2014
Fieldwork end
30.07.2014

SAR information

Project details

02.12.2019
Science / project plan

.

Science / project summary
This grant seeks to improve scientific understanding of the complex interactions of human governance, climate change, human environmental impact, and world system effects on the diverging fates of two closely related Scandinavian communities in Greenland and Iceland. While the Icelanders survived centuries of adverse climate, volcanic eruptions, large-scale soil erosion, epidemic disease, and harsh world-system economic impacts to develop a modern society now ranking high in international assessments of quality of life, their relatives in Norse Greenland suffered complete extinction by the mid-15th century CE. Why did one northern community achieve sustainability on the millennial scale, while its near neighbor underwent genuine social-environmental system (SES) collapse despite centuries of successful adaptation and what we now recognize as comparatively resilient economic management? How can the lessons of these thousand year cases of long term human ecodynamics and their radically different outcomes be more effectively understood and interpreted for the wider effort to mobilize the past to serve modern efforts to secure a genuinely sustainable future? What lessons of survival and extinction can be learned and taught for both local northern community heritage and for global education for sustainability? These questions are not only relevant to Norse in the 14th -15th centuries but have the potential to inform research that can provide insights into social decisions that are key to the long-term sustainability of human and environmental systems on earth. The project combines the data and expertise of history, human bioarchaeology, zooarchaeology, archaeobotany, geoarchaeology, artifact distribution, stable isotopic analysis, geochronology, environmental modeling, and K-12 and college education professionals. It brings together teams of scientists, educators, and local residents from across the region and create genuinely transdisciplinary and genuinely transformative approaches to shared problems of human survival and sustainable adaptation in the north.
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