The Operation of International Trade in Iceland and Shetland c. 1400-1700

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Parent Project Details
Parent Project Title:OITIS
Sub Projects: Survey of archaeological remains at Svínanes, Iceland
Survey of medieval harbours at Shetland

Project Details

Title:The Operation of International Trade in Iceland and Shetland c. 1400-1700
Abstract:The project will examine the development, operation and impact of European trade in two areas in the north Atlantic - Iceland and Shetland. In the early 15th century both were part of the Danish kingdom but, with the pledging of Shetland in 1469, it passed to the kingdom of Scotland, and led to the opening of trade to Hanse merchants. The lifting of Danish restrictions on Icelandic trade in 1490 had a similar effect. The period of trade extended in Shetland until ca. 1700, while in Iceland the restriction of trade to licensed Danish vessels in 1602 marks a similar endpoint. By far the largest item of trade from both islands was stockfish which was purchased from local fishermen who operated in small vessels inshore. English fishing vessels worked the offshore waters.

Our aim is to examine selected places of trade between merchants from the south and the sub-Arctic populations to elucidate the method of operation of commerce. The objective will be to survey and classify trading sites in Iceland and Shetland during the period ca. 1400-1700. Sites will be identified using historical sources and place-names, and located in the field using the normal archaeological techniques of aerial photography and field inspection of earthworks. The survey will be undertaken using differential GPS to map the sites in relationship to the local topography with the further objective of identifying sites for future investigation by excavation.

Keywords:Hanseatic League,trade,fish,Middle Ages,post-medieval
Sponsors/Funders: Roman Germanic Commission of the German Archaeological Institute
Queen´s University Belfast
German Research Foundation
Project Start Year:2006

Account Owner

Contact: Natascha Mehler
Institution: Deutsches Schiffahrtsmuseum
Postal Address: Leibniz-Institut für deutsche Schifffahrtsgeschichte

Hans-Scharoun-Platz 1

27568 Bremerhaven


Project Collaborators

Name: Adolf Fridriksson
Institution: FSI The Institute of Archaeology Iceland
Address: Barugarta 3, Reykjavik
Postcode: 101
Country: Iceland
Name: Brian Smith
Institution: Shetland Archive

Project Content

icon Report on the survey at Papa Stour, Shetland

icon german website describing the project

Project extent

North East Coordinates: 67.60922°N, .58203°E
South West Coordinates: 59.53432°N, 26.2793°W