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Excavations at Hrísbrú

Land Usage

Land Usage has changed considerably, mostly as a result of as a result of overgrazing. Grassland, which represented some 40% of the land at the time of settlement, has dwindled to 22% and Brush and Forest has dropped from 25% to only 1%. Sterile wasteland, however, has risen from 18% to 58% of the land. (see table here…)

Erosion in Iceland as a result of overgrazing

Dating the settlement of Iceland

The reliance of driftwood for fuel means that there are potential problems using wood for C14 dating of settlement period sites. It is suggested that C14 dates from grain such as barley will give more reliable results. (see table here…)

The volcanic nature of Iceland means that tephrochronology – the use of layers of volcanic ash as a dating medium – can be helpful. In particular, importance the so-called Landnám Tephra – a layer of volcanic ash that precedes the earliest settlement – has proved very useful in dating early settlement.