Abandoned Farms, Volcanic Impacts, and Woodland Management: Revisiting pjórsárdalur, the "Pompeii of Iceland"

Dugmore, Andrew J.; Church, Mike J.; Mairs, Kerry-Anne; McGovern, Thomas H.; Perdikaris, Sophia; Vésteinsson, Orri
January 2007
Arctic Anthropology;2007, Vol. 44 Issue 1, p1
Academic Journal
Geomorphological maps and nine soil profiles containing 92 tephra layers have been examined to explore the nature of medieval environmental change in Þjórsárdalur, Iceland, where farms, are thought to have been abandoned after the massive tephra fall from the eruption of Hekla in 1104 A.D. This paper presents evidence for continued human activity in the area in the two centuries following the 1104 A.D. eruption, indicating that continued utilization of the region changed after another major episode of volcanic fallout in 1300 A.D. The paper proposes that measures were taken in the fourteenth century to conserve woodland in Þjórsárdalur resulting in localized landscape stabilization that continued throughout the following Little Ice Age episodes of climate deterioration.


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