Environmental challenges for the medieval North Atlantic world

James Schofield* (Corresponding Author), Kevin Edwards, Egill Erlendsson, Timothy Mighall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

3 Downloads (Pure)


The high-latitude North Atlantic periphery and its islands witnessed major political, social, economic and environmental changes during the Medieval Period ( c. AD 500-1500). Among the many characteristic developments were: the transformation of northern European tribal societies into kingdoms (e.g. Jones 1984; Noble 2016); the westward diaspora of Norse peoples from their Scandinavian homelands, leading to the settlement of both occupied lands – such as the Northern Isles of Scotland – and the colonisation of unoccupied and ‘pristine’ landscapes in the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland (Dugmore et al. 2005); the expansion and increasing commercialisation of northern trading networks for goods such as dried fish, furs and walrus ivory (e.g. Barrett et al. 2011; Frei et al. 2015); and issues of resilience, or in extreme cases the abandonment of certain western European colonies and outposts (e.g. Greenland and Newfoundland) located at the interface between the Old and the New Worlds (Dugmore, Keller, and McGovern 2007, 2012). These events occurred against a backdrop of significant environmental change including two major climatic perturbations – the so-called ‘Medieval Warm Period’ and the ‘Little Ice Age’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-126
Number of pages4
JournalEnvironmental Archaeology
Issue number2
Early online date21 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Open access via T&F agreement


Dive into the research topics of 'Environmental challenges for the medieval North Atlantic world'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this