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Environmental and climatic changes during the late Holocene in Hjaltadalur, Skagafjörður, northern Iceland, interpreted from peat core analyses and pollen identification
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences.
2016 (English)In: Theme B - Landscape Historical Ecology and Climate Change: B1 Land-use and Anthropogenic Land-cover Change over the Holocene - Information of Value for Climate and Environmental Research, 2016Conference paper, Poster (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

A landscape analysis based on a combination of several proxies including pollen analysis, loss on ignition, radiocarbon dating, sediment analysis and tephra analysis was undertaken on samples from Hjaltadalur, northern Iceland. The central settlement in the valley, Hólar, is an important site that was once the religious and cultural centre of northern Iceland. Sampling was done in wetlands and one mire (Viðvik) was chosen as the main study site for sampling and analyses. The results provide useful information and insights into temperature fluctuations and climatic development during the late Holocene. In the pollen record there is a transition from a warm and dry forest-like landscape to a cooler, more humid, open landscape during the last 5000 years, with a marked shift from a warm and dry to a cool and humid climate around 2500 years ago. Human activities are reflected by a distinct peak in the Compositae-pollen curve in the uppermost sequence of the sediment core that is indicative of the settlement period during the years AD 870-930. The climatic transition, which contributed to a reduction of the birch population, started before human settlement and the Landnám period (AD 870-930) and thus implies that humans were not solely responsible for the birch decline and the transition of the landscape from forest-like conditions to a more open environment, although the subsequent Viking Age and later settlements continued the afforestation trend.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Landscape analysis, Iceland, Hjaltadalur, Hólar
National Category
Geosciences, Multidisciplinary Physical Geography
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-299745OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-299745DiVA: diva2:949985
4th International Landscape Archaeology Conference (LAC) 22nd-25th August 2016, Uppsala University
Holar projekt (Hólaransoknin)
Available from: 2016-07-26 Created: 2016-07-26 Last updated: 2016-08-12Bibliographically approved

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Hellqvist, Magnus
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