The North Atlantic Biocultural Organization (NABO) was formally founded in 1992 (after a key meeting in 1988 hosted by the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum at Bowdoin College in Maine) in an effort to improve communication and collaboration among the growing number of scholars interested in the North Atlantic region who shared common interests but lacked a common forum for regular meetings and exchange of ideas. Initially focused upon the archaeology and paleoecology of Viking Age colonization from Scandinavia and the British Isles, the NABO cooperative has progressively expanded in temporal and geographic extent (ranging from Prehistory through the Early Modern period and with participating projects spread from Labrador to Finnmark). NABO is strongly interdisciplinary as well as international and has aided scholars from a broad range of disciplines to set up wide ranging collaborative investigations of the interactions of humans, landscape, seascape, and climate change in the region. NABO participants have been recognized for contribution of a long term perspective to contemporary roblems of global change, and the cooperative has been notably successful in attracting substantial funding to the region from sources on both sides of the Atlantic.
Regular NABO meetings and workshops since 1992 have stimulated international connections and provided venues for cross-fertilization across the whole N Atlantic basin. Since 1996, NABO has run an international field school in Iceland; now directed by Dr. Karen Milek (U Aberdeen) in close cooperation with the Archaeological Institute Iceland, CUNY, and U Oslo. NABO works to aid northern logistics, reduce costs, and pool funding for common projects. NABO has sponsored joint purchases of vehicles and other expensive field gear and has provided radiocarbon dates and specialist assistance for multiple field projects. Working groups have produced common data management systems and field staff exchange programs have provided opportunities for spreading best practice and improving the comparability of field and laboratory work across the region. NABO works with local institutions and communities to improve outreach and education at all levels. Monographs, edited conference volumes, special issues of journals, and many individual articles in peer reviewed journals have all resulted from NABO collaborative efforts over the past years.
NABO successes have been the direct product of the hard work and exceptionally strong personal commitment of its members for nearly two decades, and it is gratifying to see equal enthusiasm and still greater energy exhibited by the many younger scholars now involved in North Atlantic collaborative research.