Welcome to NABO

NABO was founded over 20 years ago to attempt to cross-cut national and disciplinary boundaries and to help North Atlantic scholars make the most of the immense research potential of our damp and lovely research area. NABO has worked to aid in improving basic data comparability, in assisting practical fieldwork and interdisciplinary ventures, in promoting student training, and in better communicating our findings to other scholars, funding agencies, and the general public.

Heritage At Risk: SCAPE Trust--Scotland's Heritage At Risk Project

This video was shot by Regan Alsup and shows the impact of coastal erosion on the archaeology of Brora, Scotland. The SCAPE Trust (Scottish Coastal Archaeology and the Problem of Erosion) aims to conserve and promote the archaeology of Scotland's coast. The related SCHARP (Scotland’s Coastal Heritage at Risk Project) aims to provide opportunties for the public to take part in archaeological and historical exploration and discovery.

Understanding the Human Dimensions of Long-term Environmental Change: Transformations of Iceland from the Viking Era through the late Medieval Period (CE 850-1500)

A unique graduate course in integrated Environmental Humanities and Scoeial Sciences will take place at Bárðardalur, Northern Iceland between the 5-15th June 2015. The Svartarkot Culture-Nature intensive graduate summer course (7.5 ECTS) Understanding the Human Dimensions of Long-term Environmental Change is co-organized by The Reykjavik Academy, City University of New York and Mid Sweden University, in close cooperation with NABO (The North Atlantic Biocultural Organisation), NIES (The Nordic Network for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies), GHEA (The Global Human Ecodynamics Alliance) and the Circumpolar Networks case of IHOPE. The course is accredited by University of Akureyri.

The deadline for applications is March 15, 2015 and more details can be found on the NABO website and the course website.

Human Ecodynamics in the North Atlantic

Human Ecodynamics in the North Atlantic

A Collaborative Model of Humans and Nature through Space and Time

Ramona Harrison and Ruth A. Maher have compiled a series of separate research projects conducted across the North Atlantic region that each contribute greatly to anthropological archaeology. This book assembles a regional model through which the reader is presented with a vivid and detailed image of the climatic events and cultures which have occupied these seas and lands for roughly a 5000-year period. It provides a model of adaptability, resilience, and sustainability that can be applied globally.

Further details on this book are available on the Lexington Books website.

Greenland Isotope Project: Diet in Norse Greenland AD 1000-AD 1450

Greenland Isotope Project: Diet in Norse Greenland AD 1000-AD 1450

Journal of the North Atlantic Special Volume No. 3 presents one of the most comprehensive studies to date of the food consumption and dietary economy of a historical population based on stable isotope analysis. The Norse Greenlanders are in this respect particularly of interest because their settlements in Greenland were constrained chronologically (ca. 500 years) and physically (the pasture lands of Southwestern Greenland). Archaeological efforts in Greenland have very likely uncovered all the settlement areas, including churches and cemeteries; thus, we can be reasonably assured that while new finds of, e.g., farmsteads may appear in future, the overall picture of the Norse settlements is pretty much fixed.

Project Management

Google Map showing sites in NW Iceland

A lot of new data has been added to our Project Management System, including several new Scottish sites, more Icelandic project and the addition of sites further south in Antigua and Barbuda and Cuba.

We have created a Project Management System, where NABO projects can be entered by researchers, displayed on a map and content made available to others. Please check out this new feature here or use the projects link above.

If you wish to enter data into the system, you must first register but no registration is needed to search for projects and download data.

Hofstaðir Award

cover of monograph Gavin Lucas and Fornleifastofnun Íslands have received the DV Cultural Award for The Hofstaðir. Excavations of a Viking Age Feasting Hall in North-Eastern Iceland monograph. The jury's comments follow: "In 1992 started a large scale archaeological excavation at Hofstaðir near Mývatn, NE-Iceland. The work continued for over a decade. The results have now been presented in a very detailed and elegantly presented monograph. This works offers many new insights into the Viking period in Iceland, the nature of the Settlement and the interplay between man and nature in 9th-11th century Iceland".



Andy Henry as part of his MSc in GIS at the School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh has created an Internet-based GIS using Google Earth. Modern, historical and modelled data from Mývatnssveit (Iceland) are visualised and can be queried using our new VISQUE system. This is a proof of concept to show that Google Earth can used as an Internet GIS. Full details are available at our VISQUE site.

Surviving Sudden Environmental Change: Answers from Archaeology.

book cover Cooper, J and Sheets, P. (eds) (2012) Surviving Sudden Environmental Change: Answers from Archaeology . University Press of Colorado, Boulder p256.

The University Press of Colorado have just published a new book on how the archaeological record can help us to understand how we can cope with sudden environmental change. This book arose out of the October 2009 meeting in Maine, which lead to the creation of GHEA and this is the first major publication from our group.

The editors, Jago Cooper and Payson Sheets, have brought together authors from a wide variety of backgrounds to contribute to this publication. It is available to buy for only $19.99, but it can be downloaded for free as a PDF from The University Press of Colorado

This will hopefully be the first of many collaborative publications from the GHEA community. Feel free to join GHEA here.

Kids Archaeology School

Kids Archaeology Program Group Photograph

The Kids' Archaeology School (Fornleifaskóli barnanna) was formally established in the spring of 2007 and has since grown in scope and aim.

Icelandic television RUV news report [29/06/2011]

The Kids archaeology program is now a key part of the Historical Ecology: Islands of Change Initiative, funded in part by the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs in the USA. This collaboration allows Icelandic students to interact through organized activities with students in in New York, Greenland, Orkney, Faroes, Norway, Antigua/Barbuda, Curacao and Bonaire.

Details about the Kids' Archaeology School, Iceland can be found on the NABO website and the Fornleifaskóli barnanna site.

The latest report on The Kids Archaeology Program (Fornleifaskóli barnanna) by Sif Jóhannesdóttir and Unnsteinn Ingason is now available.

FSÁ Donation to NABO

Icelandic sites

At the 2009 Viking Congress held in Reykjavik and Reykholt The Institute of Archaeology (Fornleifastofnun Áslands) (FSÁ) made a major donation to the NABO website data project of over 20 years of research amounting to over 300 survey and excavation reports in downloadable pdf format. 70 sites/projects and 149 reports loaded into our system, they can be accessed here .


We would like to gratefully acknowledge this generous gift of hard won data by FSÁ to the Icelandic nation and to the international community and we look forward to working with them in the future to provide updates to this impressive body of information.

Online Publications

Skutustadir Midden excavation 2008

The NABO community is constantly producing material for publication and wider outreach. This ranges from material submitted to peer-reviewed academic journals, books chapters, monographs, excavation reports, laboratory reports, magazine articles and many others. These cover the North Atlantic region and also Barbuda in the Caribbean.

Excavation and laboratory reports appear on this website as soon as they are completed. To access these PDFs please go to the publications section or click one of the most recent additions to the right.

Norse Greenland: selected papers from the Hvalsey Conference 2008

Norse Greenland: selected papers from the Hvalsey Conference 2008

The Journal of the North Atlantic has recently published the book Norse Greenland - selected papers from the Hvalsey Conference 2008. Editors are Jette Arneborg, Georg Nyegaard and Orri Vésteinsson. The book is about 200 pages and includes 16 papers on various aspects of the Norse settlement in Greenland. For those interested in purchasing a copy of the book, contact kristborg@instarch.is.

GHEA website

GHEA logo

October 2010 saw the launch of our sister GHEA website. The Global Human Ecodynamics Alliance (GHEA) is an organization of social scientists, natural scientists, historians, educators, students, policy makers, and others interested in promoting cutting-edge research, education, and application of the socioecological dynamics of coupled human and natural systems across scales of space and time.

As of February 2015 there are now 195 members and to join this dynamic group visit http://www.gheahome.org.

International Polar Year

NABO members were very active during IPY on the national and international scale, and major funding was secured from Danish, Canadian, and US sources for an ambitious effort to continue and expand NABO collaboration with a special NABO IPY Project: Long Term Human Ecodynamics in the Norse North Atlantic: cases of sustainability, survival, and collapse. This project was funded at just over US$ 900,000 and had fieldwork seasons 2008-10 in the Shetlands, Faroes, Iceland, and SW Greenland.

More details of our involvement in International Polar Year can be found here.

Edinburgh IPY meeting 2007


Barbuda 2008

NABO is not all about the northern North Atlantic. We are also active in the Caribbean. Our work in Barbuda began in 2000 with CUNY archaeologists and an international team of environmental researchers, in collaboration with the Antigua & Barbuda scholars and agencies and by the invitation of Dr. Reg Murphy (head of archaeology for National Parks Antigua and Barbuda). Reports on our work in Barbuda are available here.

NABONE 9 th Edition

This recording manual is the 9th working version of the NABO Zooarchaeology Working Group Data Records Project, authorized by the January 1997 working group meeting in New York City. The basic structure follows James Rackham's database (Microsoft Access) with some changes and clarifications for North Atlantic applications

The NABONE system consists of this coding manual, a developed Microsoft Access database with useful queries and reports, and an Excel spreadsheet set providing analytic output similar to the old Hunter College QBONE system.

This recording manual is available here

Our multinational and multidisciplinary nature means that we publicise our activities as widely as possible. Please let us know if you have any queries about anything on this website and especially if you feel you can contribute.

The NABO webpages are hosted by the School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh.