Gilsbakki in Hvítársí›a, Western Iceland Preliminary Report of Investigations, 2008

Kevin P. Smith

Research Reports of the Circumpolar Laboratory, No.1 Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology Brown University

Table
of
Contents

INTRODUCTION ......................................................................................................................................4
 HISTORY
OF
OCCUPATION ..................................................................................................................4
 PREVIOUS
INVESTIGATIONS............................................................................................................ 15
 INVESTIGATIONS
IN
2008 ................................................................................................................ 16
 SITE
SETTING,
DATUM,
AND
GRID................................................................................................. 18
 CORING
SURVEY................................................................................................................................... 18
 SURVEY
DESIGN ........................................................................................................................................................18
 DESCRIPTION
OF
THE
CORES..................................................................................................................................20
 RESULTS
OF
THE
CORING
SURVEY .........................................................................................................................27
 GEOPHYSICAL
SURVEY














THOMAS
URBAN
(BROWN
UNIVERSITY) ............................ 28
 PRINCIPLE
OF
ELECTROMAGNETIC
METHOD ......................................................................................................28
 SURVEY
DESIGN .......................................................................................................................................................29
 DATA
PROCESSING...................................................................................................................................................29
 RESULTS ....................................................................................................................................................................31
 DISCUSSION ..............................................................................................................................................................33
 EXCAVATION......................................................................................................................................... 34
 TRENCH
1............................................................................................................................................... 34
 CONTEXT
001 .........................................................................................................................................................36
 CONTEXT
002/003...............................................................................................................................................38
 CONTEXT
004 .........................................................................................................................................................43
 CONTEXT
005 .........................................................................................................................................................46
 CONTEXT
006 .........................................................................................................................................................48
 CONTEXT
007 .........................................................................................................................................................51
 CONTEXT
008 .........................................................................................................................................................53
 CONTEXT
009 .........................................................................................................................................................55
 CONTEXT
010 .........................................................................................................................................................56
 CONTEXT
011 .........................................................................................................................................................57
 BASAL
DEPOSITS .....................................................................................................................................................58
 TRENCH
2............................................................................................................................................... 59
 CONTEXT
001 .........................................................................................................................................................61
 CONTEXT
001B .......................................................................................................................................................65
 CONTEXT
002 .........................................................................................................................................................66
 CONTEXT
003 .........................................................................................................................................................67
 CONTEXT
004 .........................................................................................................................................................68
 CONTEXT
005 .........................................................................................................................................................70
 CONTEXT
006 .........................................................................................................................................................72
 CONTEXT
007 .........................................................................................................................................................73
 CONTEXT
008 .........................................................................................................................................................75
 CONTEXTS
009,
009A,
AND
010 .......................................................................................................................75


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CONTEXT
011 .........................................................................................................................................................78
 CONTEXT
012 .........................................................................................................................................................78
 BASAL
DEPOSITS .....................................................................................................................................................79
 FINDS ....................................................................................................................................................... 80
 CONCLUSIONS ....................................................................................................................................... 80
 REFERENCES ......................................................................................................................................... 87
 APPENDIX
1:
FINDS
CATALOGUE
–
GILSBAKKI
2008 .............................................................. 90
 APPENDIX
2:

CONVERSION
TABLE
FOR
BAG
LABELS
AND
THE
GILSBAKKI
 COORDINATE
SYSTEM .................................................................................................................... 114


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Introduction
The first season of excavation at Gilsbakki in Hvítársí›a, Borgarbygg›, western Iceland, was undertaken from July 10th through July 17th, 2008. Electromagnetic and coring surveys were used to characterize the extent, depth, and integrity of cultural deposits within the central area of the current farmstead, while two exploratory trenches were excavated to test the results of these surveys and to assess the complexity and content of these deposits. Kevin P. Smith (Brown University) directed the project with assistance from Dr. Michèle Hayeur Smith (University of Rhode Island; archaeologist and finds coordinator), Kevin Martin (Irish National Roads Authority; archaeologist), and Thomas Urban (Brown University; archaeologist, geophysical prospection). The excavation was undertaken through the generous permission of the landowners, Ólafur Magnússon and Magnús Sigur›sson, under Permit 2008-07006 from Fornleifavernd Íslands, with advice and support from Gu›mundur Ólafsson (National Museum of Iceland) and funding from the Archaeology Division of the United States National Science Foundation (Grant BCS-0834849) and the Haffenreffer Family Fund. Tephrochronological analyses were undertaken by Magnús Sigurgeirsson (ÍSOR, Reykjavík). Thanks are also due to Eimskip and Eimskip USA, for providing discounted shipping for the project van to and from Iceland, to Snorrastofa, Reykholt, for providing exquisite housing for the project’s members, and specifically to
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Reverend Geir Waage, Dagn‡ Emílsdóttir, and Bergur fiorsteinsson for constant and continued support.

History of occupation
Gilsbakki is a large farm sitting high above the upper reaches of the valley of the Hvítá river in the commune of Hvítársí›a, Borgarbygg›, in western Iceland. The farm has a long and distinguished history, with references to its properties and its occupants occurring in a wide range of medieval sagas and fláttr (short tales), annals, and church charters, as well as in post-medieval archives, census records, and parish registers. It is beyond the scope of this brief excavation report to review these records in detail, although their collection and accumulation have been an integral part of the post-excavation process and will be reported upon in other contexts. Gilsbakki first enters the protohistoric record through references in sagas and in Landnámabók that identify it as the home farm (a›alból) of the Gilsbekkingar chiefly dynasty, holders of the Gilsbekkingago›or› chieftaincy. These sources imply that the farm was this family’s chief residence from at least the late 10th century, if not earlier, but the accepted date of its foundation is nowhere given with any clarity. Landnámabók traces the history of the Gilsbekkingar back to Hrosskel fiorsteinsson, a settler of noble birth, and his wife, Jorei› Mottulsdóttir (daughter of a Lappish king), who took possession of Hvítársí›a from the Kjarrá river to the river Fljót and who settled at the farm Hallkelssta›ir, one kilometer northeast of Gilsbakki.

Hrosskel’s son, Hallkel, is said to have continued to live at Hallkelssta›ir after his father’s death, with his highborn wife fiuri›r Sowthistle Gunnlaugsdóttir. Although Landnámabók does not mention Gilsbakki by name, it does list Hallkel and fiuri›’s children, including one, Illugi the Black, who other sagas and fláttr agree lived at Gilsbakki. This medieval chronology suggests that Gilsbakki was founded as a daughter settlement from the settler’s estate at Hallkelssta›ir, and was first occupied by members of the Gilsbekkingar family during the third generation following Iceland’s discovery. Taken at face value, this would imply a mid- to late-10th century foundation date for Gilsbakki, or a mid- to late-10th century date for its transformation from small farm to a seat of chieftains. Lú›vík Ingvarsson (1987) suggests that prior to this time the chieftaincy held by the Gilsbekkingar had been called the Jöklamannago›or› and may have been controlled by another family, based at Kalmanstunga. From Illugi the Black’s time until ca. 1200, however, the Gilsbekkinga-go›or› chieftaincy appears to have been administered from Gilsbakki. Gilsbakki is identified as Illugi the Black’s seat of power around AD 1000 in Gunnlaugs saga Ormstungu, and also as the farm of Illugi’s son, Hermundur Illugason, in Hei›arvíga saga, Bandamanna saga, Bar›ar saga Snæfellsáss and Kristni saga, among other sources. Ormr Ko›ránsson (ca. 1105-1179) was listed as one of Iceland’s highest born priestchieftains, ca. 1143, by Ári the Wise (Diplomatarium Islandicum I). Ingvarsson (1987: 27) suggests that
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Ormr owned the farm at Gilsbakki (Ingvarsson 1987: 27), perhaps sharing the go›or› with his brother, Hreinn. Around 1183, according to Bishop fiorlák’s Saga, Illugi the Black’s greatgreat-grandson, Hermundur Ko›ránsson (ca. 1110-1197) was living at Gilsbakki, but also maintained an estate at Kalmanstunga (Diplomatarium Islandicum I: 189) and at times used that as the seat of his go›or›. Hermundur appears in Grænlendinga fláttr as a rich trader sailing between Norway, Iceland and Greenland in the 1130s. In Sturlunga saga, Hermundur is identified, around 1160, as go›or›sma›ur of Kalmanstunga, supporting Einar fiorgilsson of Sta›arhól against HvammSturla. Around 1179, he appears again, supporting Páll Sölvasson of Reykholt against Hvamm-Sturla in their dispute over the estate of Deildartunga in Reykholtsdalur (Sturlunga saga: 410). Sturlunga also calls Hermundur and his sons, Ketill and Ko›rán, the noblest men of their district. Ko›rán’s son, Ketill (d. 1220) held the farm at Gilsbakki, and perhaps also Kalmanstunga, until ca. 1206-1208, when he ceded it to Snorri Sturluson as the latter consolidated his hold over the Borgarfjör›ur region. From this time on, Gilsbakki ceased to be a chieftain’s estate. References to Gilsbakki and its occupants in the Family Sagas suggest that Icelandic saga authors and their audiences of the late 12th-13th centuries believed that the Gilsbekkingar chieftains played significant roles in both regional politics and international trade during the early 11th century, while both Kristni saga and Ári the Wise’s reference to Ormr Ko›ránsson’s priesthood associate

the farm and its family with leadership in the early stages of Icelandic Christianity. The records of the Gilsbekkingar family and of Gilsbakki stand on somewhat firmer ground from the time of Hermundur Ko›ránsson onwards, based on references within the so-called Contemporary Sagas, Sturlunga and the Bishops’ Sagas. These sources, written within a generation or so of the events they describe, suggest that the Gilsbekkingar were involved in international trade and super-regional politics and that they were perhaps the dominant elite political power within Borgarfjör›ur, able to project their power across the entire district with relative impunity and supporting lesser chieftains both within the district and beyond.

Significantly, they appear to have been allied against the Sturlung chieftains of Brei›afjör›ur from the 1160s onward. It was probably no accident that their authority and chieftaincy was one of the first to attract the attention of Snorri Sturluson when he established Borgarfjör›ur as his regional power base in the first years of the 13th century. Gilsbakki ceased to be a seat for secular chieftains after it was taken over by Snorri, and appears to have been demoted to the role of a local center within his expanding paramount chiefdom, or ríki (Smith 1995, 2004). If Gilsbakki’s role as a seat of secular power was eclipsed after 1208, it remained nevertheless a wealthy ecclesiastic center for centuries afterward

Snorri Sturluson (d. 1241) Ormr Ko›ránsson (d. 1253) >><<>><<>><<>><<>><<>><<>><<>><<>><<>><<>><<>><<>><<>><<>><<>>< Ketill Hermundsson (d. 1220) [Ko›rán, Hermundsson or Ormsson] | Hermundur (d. 1197) Ormr Ko›ránsson (ca. 1143, d. 1179) Hreinn Styrmisson \ / / Ko›rán Ormsson Styrmir Hreinsson (ca. 1121) | | Ormr Hermundsson Hreinn Hermundsson (ca. 1083) \ / Hermund Illugason Gunnlaug Illugason (d. 1018) \ / Illugi hinn svarti Hallkelsson (d.ca. 1020) | Hallkel Hrosskelson | Hrosskel fiorsteinsson

Table 1: Simplified genealogy of the Gilsbekkingar. Italicized individuals are known or suspected to have had their main residence at Gilsbakki. Bold face names identify chieftains who held the Gilsbekkinga/Jöklammanago›or› (Ingvarsson 1987).

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due to the wealth and authority of its church. No records clearly identify the date at which a church was first built at Gilsbakki. It is likely that the church at Gilsbakki, like those at two other early western Icelandic elite sites – Mosfell and Reykholt – will be found to have been established soon after, or even slightly before, the official conversion of Iceland to Christianity in AD 1000. There must have been a church at Gilsbakki by 1143, when Ormr Ko›ránsson was identified as one of the most important ordained chieftains in Iceland. By 1202/03, when Bishop Páll of Skálholt (1195-1211) listed the churches within his diocese, Gilsbakki’s two priests and deacon served two churches and two chapels (Júlíusdóttir 2006). At this time, Gilsbakki was one of

the sixteen largest church centers in Iceland (Júlíusdóttir 2006: 32-35). By the early 13th century, and perhaps earlier, Gilsbakki was also a sta›ir – a private estate whose properties had been deeded entirely to its church by the farm’s owners. Sta›ir paid no tithes and were theoretically economically selfsupporting, but their owners were entitled to collect up to three-quarters of the tithes from the farms in their congregation and typically hired the priests or raised them up from within their families. Sta›ir were, therefore, valuable properties as well as ecclesiastical centers. Gilsbakki’s church was the center of a tithing district that included 11 farms Hvítársí›a (Figure 1). It oversaw the beneficum at Sí›u-Múli and its tithing district of ten farms, as well. Before

Gilsbakki
Ecclesiastic estate, sta!ir/beneficium Smaller church-farm Small farm

Figure 1: Gilsbakki’s parish (red) and those of linked churches, Sí›u-Múli (purple) and Stóri-Ás (before 1258, green). Reykholt, another church center, in black. Base map modified from Sveinbjarnardóttir et al. (2008).

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1258, Gilsbakki also served eight farms south of the river Hvítá, in the commune of Hálsasveit. However, in 1258, a church at one of these farms, Stóri-Ás, was consecrated and given its own tithing district of seven farms. Although this event restricted Gilsbakki’s parish to the northern bank of the Hvítá, its priests continued to provide services for StóriÁs and its associated farms and Gilsbakki remained the burial place for the members of Stóri-Ás’s congregation until the early 1600s. In exchange, a portion of the tithes from the farms in Stóri-Ás’s district – their candle-tax – continued to be sent to Gilsbakki after 1258. With oversight of a composite tithing district of at least 29 farms, housing perhaps 300 people, Gilsbakki’s church was able to support not only three clerics but to acquire considerable property and wealth. Throughout the medieval period, Gilsbakki’s owners dedicated properties and rights to economic resources on their church and exploited them, tithe-free, as the properties of their sta›ir. The earliest charter (máldagi) for Gilsbakki’s church of God and Mary the Queen, Archangel Michael and Archbishop Nicholas, written around 1300 AD, lists extensive tracts of woodland, grazing land, upland lakes, riverine fishing rights, swan hunting rights and rights to driftwood and whales on distant beaches that must have come to the church before the earliest extant version of the charter was written down (Diplomatarium Islandicum II: 358-359). Gilsbakki’s church maintained its rights to these properties and their resources and to the revenue it obtained by charging others for access to them

throughout the medieval and postmedieval periods. After Iceland became a dependency of the Norwegian state in the late 13th century, the administration of churches and their properties became a subject of bitter dispute between the Icelandic bishops and the owners of the estates on which those churches stood. In 1297, this dispute (sta›amál) was resolved in favor of the central church. Sta›ir such as Gilsbakki that were owned entirely by the church that stood on the farm came under the control of the bishops and were retitled beneficia. The term beneficium relates both to the position of the cleric assigned to the estate and to the estate itself. Essentially a beneficium was a clerical position supported by its own income, generated from the estate for the priests’ support. In Iceland, the beneficium was the office of the priest attached to a church that entirely owned the estate on which it was located, and the income that the estate generated for the support of its clerical establishment. After 1297, the estate of Gilsbakki was owned by the Church, managed by priests appointed by the Bishop, and worked by farmers and laborers hired by its priests. Although few of Gilsbakki’s occupants and resident priests are known by name from the 13th and early 14th centuries, a virtually unbroken record of the names of the priests who lived at Gilsbakki and oversaw its church animates the record from 1379 until 1907 (Table 1). Since 1907 the farm has been in private hands, the church serviced by priests from Reykholt.

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Ólafur Magnússon (current owner) | Magnús Sigur›sson (d. 2009) | Sigur›ur Magnússon >><<><<><<><<><<><<><<><<><<><<><<><<><<><<><<><<><< Gilsbakki’s parish was incorporated into Reykholtsprestakall in 1907 >><<><<><<><<><<><<><<><<><<><<><<><<><<><<><<><<><< Sér Magnús Andrésson (b. 1845; took post 1881; left post 1918; d. 1922) | Sér Jón Hjörtsson (returned as priest 1860; left post 1881; d. 1881) | Sér Gísli Gíslason (b. 1786; took parish 1858; d. 1860) | Sér Magnús Sigur›sson (b. 1807; took parish 1844; d. 1858) | Sér Halldór Björnsson (took parish 1843; never confirmed in office) | Sér Jón Hjörtsson (b. 1815; a›stöduprestur ca. 1844) | Sér Hjörtur Jónsson (b. 1776; took parish 1806; left parish 1843) | Sér Eggert Gu›mundsson (took parish 1796; left parish 1806?) | Sér Jón Jónsson the younger (b. 1737; took parish 1771; left parish 1796) | Sér Kolbeinn fiorsteinsson (1759, a›stöduprestur) | Sér Jón Jónsson the elder (b. 1695; took parish 1718; left parish 1771) | Sér Jón Eyjólfsson the elder (b. 1648[?]; took parish 1700; left parish 1718) | Sér Páll Gunnarsson the elder (b. 1637; took parish 1661; left 1700) | Sér Gunnar Pálsson (took parish 1623; left parish 1661) | Sér Torfi fiorsteinsson (took parish 1588; left parish 1622) | Sér Gu›mundur Einarsson (took parish 1580; gave up parish 1587) | Sér Eirikur Grímsson (took parish 1578; gave up parish 1580) | Sér Eirikur Jónsson (took parish 1536) | Sér fiór›ur Stallason (took parish before 1504) | Sér fiór›ur Jónsson (took parish 1494) | Sér Oddur Bergsson (took parish before 1491) | Sér fiorbjörn Ámundason (took parish 1463; d. before 1491) | Sér Gu›mundur Narfason (took parish before 1462; d. 1463) Sér Jón Kárason (took parish before 1435) Sér Páll Grímsson (took parish, 1393; died after 1397) Sér Pétur Martinsson (d. 1379) Sér fiorkell í Sí›umúla (took parish before 1250, died after 1253)

Table 2: Recorded owners of Gilsbakki, A.D. 1250 to the present.
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Figure 2: Fifteenth century runic-inscribed tombstone of Gísli Jónsson, in the cemetery at Gilsbakki. Inscription reads: her × huiler × gils × ions × son × gils × sonar (English: "Here rests Gísl, son of Jón Gísl's son.” Photograph by Michele Hayeur Smith.

To this list might be added Gísli Jónsson, whose runic-inscribed tombstone is found in the churchyard at Gilsbakki (Figure 3). A similar runic tombstone at Kalmanstunga is dedicated to his father Jón Finnsson, who died in 1429. Given how rare such tombstones are rare in Iceland, it is likely that both Jón and Gísli were wealthy land-holders and quite likely owners of their respective farms (Snædal 2003). Little is known about the other occupants of Gilsbakki – wives, children,

assistant priests, deacons, workers and servants – before the 18th and 19th centuries, when census records and visitors’ accounts provide more detail on the size, composition, structure, and character of the households who occupied the farm. In 1703, Gilsbakki was home to 14 people – the priest Jón Eyjólfsson, his wife and five children, six paid workers, and one pauper
(http://www.skjalasafn.is/manntol/index.php ?d=1&c=1&cmd=search&manntolnafn=&m anntolfodurnafn=&manntolstett=&manntolb aer=Gilsbakki&manntolsokn=all&manntols
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ysla=all&manntolkyn=all&flokka=personua udkenni&lan=en).

In 1816, eleven people lived on the farm – Hjörtur Jónsson, his wife and one child, seven paid workers, and a pauper
(http://halfdan.is/mt1816/mt1816.pdf).

Hjörtur Jónsson and his wife still lived at Gilsbakki at the time of the 1835 census, with two unmarried foster-children and seven workers
(http://www.skjalasafn.is/manntol/index.php ?c=1&cmd=search&manntolnafn=&mannto lfodurnafn=&manntolstett=&manntolbaer= &manntolsokn=Gilsbakkas%F3kn%2CM% FDras%FDsla&manntolsysla=all&manntolk yn=all&flokka=personuaudkenni&lan=is).

His son, Jón Hjörtsson and one of his children lived at Gilsbakki in 1870 with an unmarried housekeeper, eight paid workers and one pauper
(http://www.skjalasafn.is/manntol/index.php ?c=1&cmd=skoda&offset=50&lan=is).

From Jón Hjörtsson’s time onwards, Gilsbakki enters the reports of foreign travelers, mainly British, who stopped at the farm during their travels into the Icelandic interior and while following the trail of the medieval sagas. Although these reports are subject to all the potentials for misinterpretation and subjectivity that make all such accounts by foreign observers problematic, they nonetheless provide interesting snapshots that capture some sense of the spirit of the place during the late 19th century. In 1871, William Morris, the English illustrator, designer, and translator visited Gilsbakki, seeking to gain inspiration and understanding for his translation of Gunnlaugs saga. Arriving on August 22nd, 1871, he wrote in his journal (Morris 1969): “We rode up the course of the White-water [from Stafholt], though not very near it, through that
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same ledged country, till after crossing Thwart-water (fiverá) the ledges grow bigger and run into long low hills, and on our left side make Thverá-lithe, the chief scene of Hen Thorir’s saga, which is a narrow [valley] shut in between low hills: another range, bigger and higher and going right up to the Jokuls, is the north-west bank of White-water, whose south-east is the continuation of the mountains opposite Borg fallen into downs by now: a long way up the northwest bank (which is called White-waterside) is Gilsbank whither we are bound: some ten miles east of it at the very head of the valley lies Kalmanstunga, where we stayed some three weeks before though it now seems such a long time ago. We turn up into the valley presently and then the Stafholt folk leave us, and we jog on soberly by ourselves: the valley soon narrows so much as to bring our road within sight of White-water, and we are fairly riding along Whitewater-side. A monotonous and dreary valley it seemed to me that day, with its endless slopes of thin grass, dotted about however with steads here and there, and the lower part of all filled with banks of stones brought down by the rage of the river, and with the great white dome of Geitland’s Jokul filling the valley at the further end. The wind blows strong and cold from the ice to-day too, and no winding of the valley seems to stop it: but the sun shines, and we were not unmerry when we stopped to eat our bait under a bank as much out of the wind as might be, which was not much. The valley bettered as we drew toward its closed end: the rubbish of stones ended, and we rode through

green flat ground for a while near the river side, till before us rise the spikes and cliffs of an old lava all grown about with birch and deep rich grass, which birch turns out presently, as we ride along a clear stream that skirts the lava, to be the best wood we have seen yet. The hill side on our left is near us too, a great bold down here, which presently we see cleft by a deep ravine, through which runs the stream aforesaid; this ravine is the “Gil” from which the stead of Gilsbank, once the house of Illugi the Black, father of Gunnlaug the Wormtongue is named. We turn aside to it, and ride up a bare bleak hill to a poorish house built high up the hillside, with the evening clear, but cold and even frosty. So cold that we found it hard work keeping warm even in the priest’s little parlour. It was not a very cheerful evening, for Magnússon had heard bad news again about the fever at Reykjavík and was naturally anxious, and I am afraid his long face infected me also. The old priest was at all events most kind and hospitable to us, and so at last to bed we went, Magnússon in the bed, C.J.F. and I on the floor in our blankets. For the next morning, August 23rd, he wrote: “Up on a windy cold morning with drizzle and gleams of sun succeeding one another, and as we are getting ready for going, one of those flat segmental rainbows comes out over the Jokuls on the north. The priest takes us to the edge of the ragged gill and shows us the traditional place of burial of Hermund the brother of Gunnlaug, in which he himself doesn’t believe, because Hermund was a Christian and would have been buried in a church.
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The whole side and part of the gable and roof of the house here was covered with ox-eye daisies in full blossom. The view down into the valley is but gloomy: the birch-grown lava indeed looks gray-green, and not unhopeful, but it only lasts a little way toward the Jokuls, and then comes a second wave of lava upon it, new comparatively, and naked, a great leaden sea that stretches up through the narrowing valley between its low boundary hills till the higher land at the end with the Jokuls above it ends all.” Morris’ description of the farm and its people is, ultimately, as flat and uncompromisingly pretentious as his translations of the sagas were, leaving little to inspire or inform later readers, other than his poetic visions of the surrounding landscape. Elizabeth Jane Oswald, a young aristocratic English woman, visited Gilsbakki twice, first in 1875 and again in 1878. Her descriptions provide a somewhat different perspective on the place, focusing more on its people than its setting. In her account of her first journey she wrote, “Glad were we when we had succeeded in scrambling over to the priest’s house at Gilsbakki, where we were introduced into a clean timber room, and presented in form to a humorous-looking old parson. Presently entered a pretty but very little woman, who gave us coffee and then retired into the corner of the room. I took her for the youngest daughter; but the old priest, nodding towards her, said, “Kona mín” (my wife). She was a very retiring third wife, and we tried in vain to bring her into the lively conversation. The priest was making game of the ecclesiastical

intentions of our guide, who indeed has since been ordained. “A first-rate lad for riding; but for preaching – save us!” While Oddur explained that his view of parochial work was not so much standing in a pulpit preaching as going about the parish, knowing every one, and being ready to help when wanted. ‘Running about! that you will do,’ said the old parson, who further cordially pressed us to stay the night, but we were anxious to get on” (Oswald, 1881: 75). Miss Oswald returned in the summer of 1878, and wrote in her travel memoir, “Gilsbakki parsonage, where we stopped, is finely situated on the edge of the great valley of lava, which here stretches westward by the course of the Hvitá from the central mountain-system. It is black and contorted but so old that low willow and birch and blaeberries grow luxuriantly in the crevices. Erick’s Jökull rises near, and a fine range of icy

mountains trends away to the north-east; and the wind blows fresh from the desert land, on the verge of which stand the little turf-chapel and the adjacent farmbuildings. On each side is a deep ravine, where foaming torrents, almost unseen in the clefts, rush down to the Hvítá. The old priest here, who is a great character, and his third wife – undistinguishable from his pretty daughters – bade us welcome. He is a dexterous carver, and presented me with a very prettily ornamented wooden box of his own workmanship. [She describes a journey by foot over the lava from Gilsbakki to Barnafoss and Hraunfossar, and on the return] The stars were burning brilliantly when we returned, and the Northern Lights flashed across the window of the little room where I passed the night. “A lovely morning,” said the pretty girl who brought in my coffee. All smiled upon our start, but

Figure 3: The last turf house at Gilsbakki, photographed by Sigfús Eymundsson, ca. 1881, with Sér Andréas Magnússon and family on the hla› in front of the bedrooms/ba›stofa (right), entry hall (middle gable), and living room/stofa (left). Glass windows illuminated lofts in the left and central gables and a cellar below the bedchambers at right. From fiór Magnússon (1978: 98-99).

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this proved to be a rough day’s travel. In the first place, our hostess prepared such an extensive breakfast that we did not get off till eleven o’clock. It was very welcome, for one small souptin and a few mouthfuls of bread and ham were all the provisions we had left, and the gun or ammunition had gone wrong; but it detained us too long…” (Oswald, 1881: 200-201). Both Oswald’s visit and Morris’s travels took place during Jón Hjörtsson’s residence at Gilsbakki. Sér Jón was born at Gilsbakki in 1815 and grew up there while his father Sér Hjörtur Jónsson was in charge of the farm (1806-1843). Jón returned to Gilsbakki with his family in 1860, and remained Gilsbakki’s priest until his death in 1881. Oswald’s descriptions, in particular, portray a man full of life despite his age, living with his young, third wife, carving ornamented boxes, as interested in living well as in traveling constantly through his parish, but knowledgeable about his farm and its history and prepared to present his

opinions on historians’ interpretations of its earliest inhabitants. His household, too, was clearly used to foreign visitors and knew how to extend the most modern courtesies, whether a sumptuous breakfast or coffee in the wooden-walled parlor and perhaps the kitchen of his turfwalled house, covered with flowers. In 1900, W. Bisiker visited Gilsbakki and left a laconic description from the time of Sér Jón’s successor, Sér Andréas Magnússon. Sér Andréas, Gilsbakki’s last priest, arrived at the farm in 1881, left the priesthood in 1918 and died at Gilsbakki, where he was buried, in 1922. His grandson (Magnús Sigur›sson), great-grandson (Ólafur Magnússon), and great great grand-daughter (Steinunn Ólafsdóttir), with their family members, were living at Gilsbakki in 2008. – In contrast to Morris and Oswald’s descriptions of Gilsbakki under the stewardship of Sér Jón Hjörtsson, Bisiker (1902: 152) describes a farm bustling with activity and purpose directed entirely toward the pragmatic

Figure 4: Women raking hay on the tún south of the turf house and church at Gilsbakki during the time of Sér Andrés Sigurðsson’s residence, before 1908, when the church was rebuilt. Differences in the placement of windows and the color of the eastern gable (farthest right) document slight changes that postdate Sigfús Eymundsson’s image (Figure 3). Photographer unknown, photograph courtesy of Sigurður Magnússon. 14

concerns of making the most of the agricultural season rather than living off its rewards: “Arrived at Gilsbakki, I took up my quarters in the church, for the house was then rather full: besides the minister and his wife, and family of five sons and three daughters, the haymakers had to be accommodated, the total number sleeping there being twenty-six. In looking at the outside of the house, it was difficult to believe that so many persons could be stowed away there. Haymaking was in full swing on the farm, and the haymakers worked far into the night – I could hear them laughing and talking at intervals through the open door of the church, for they were in the fields all around. As there was bad weather impending, and the next day would be Sunday, they probably worked till the whole of the hay had been raked into small stacks in readiness for the rain, which fell, as expected, during most of the following day. It is noteworthy that we escaped much of the discomfort of traveling in bad weather by our Sunday rests, for it rained continuously nearly every Sunday we were in Iceland.” The house that Morris, Oswald, and Bisiker visited was the last traditional turf house built at Gilsbakki. According to the memories of Sér Andreas’ daughter-inlaw, recorded by her daughter, the house had three front rooms with wooden gables facing southward toward the valley of the Hvítá, and three parallel rooms behind the front range. Two or more of these rooms had lofts or cellars above or beneath the main rooms, while the rooms facing southward were furnished with glass windows. In
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addition to its household, the farmstead at Gilsbakki was said to have at least one ghost, a woman who had been a servant at the farm, perhaps during Jón Hjörtsson’s time, and who appeared to visitors, unthreateningly, near a stairway leading to the rear loft (Geir Waage, 2008, personal communication). The old turf farmhouse was torn down in 1917 and a new, two-floor poured concrete house –a monumental structure for its time – was built just behind, and up the slope from, the ruins of the old turf house. During the 1950s, a second farmhouse with a deep cellar was built south and east of the first concrete house. Both the 1917 and 1950s house are still occupied, and a third house was built during the 1990s roughly 100 meters farther to the east.

Previous investigations
The stubs of the turf walls from the farmhouse torn down in 1917 are still visible in the lawn between the church and the house built in the 1950s. These have been maintained by the family for more than 90 years as visible remnants of family history. When the newer house was built in the 1950s deep cultural deposits were encountered. These included an ash-filled feature that extended more than 10 meters across the entire width of the house’s cellar foundation. Magnús Sigur›sson, who was a young man when the cellar-pit was dug, recalled that on each side of the cellar this ash-filled feature looked like a large smile at least a meter across at the top and up to half a meter deep. Wellpreserved bones were recovered from these deposits and others near them,

along with a large, sub-rectangular basalt bowl or trough. Kristján Eldjárn, then director of fijó›minjasafn Íslands (the Icelandic National Museum) visited the site at the time of these discoveries, observed that the majority of the ash-filled feature had been destroyed by construction, and noted to the family that the stone trough might once have stood outside the doors of an ancient farmhouse at the site but could not be attributed to any specific period in Iceland’s archaeological record. The bowl, in fragments, is still at Gilsbakki. No archaeological investigations followed the initial reports of the accidental discovery of buried deposits at Gilsbakki and local theories developed over the past century have attributed both the ash-filled feature and the stone bowl to the Viking Age home of Illugi the Black. In 1996, while conducting fieldwork at the site of Háls in Hálsasveit, 5 kilometers across the river Hvítá to the southwest of Gilsbakki, Kevin Smith and Geir Waage, the parish priest from Reykholt, discussed the possibility of undertaking excavations at Gilsbakki, as part of a contemplated regional project, with Magnús Sigur›sson, the farm’s owner. This idea met with immediate enthusiasm, not least because members of the family at Gilsbakki had been concerned since the 1950s that their activities on the farm – in particular, the construction of the 1950s house – might have destroyed critical archaeological deposits on a farmstead that they knew to have been important for more than a millennium.

Investigations in 2008
An opportunity for initiating fieldwork at Gilsbakki appeared in July 2008, when Brown University’s investigations at Skógarnes-1, a large, 17th-18th century peat-cutting quarry near Stafholt, were completed ahead of schedule. With a week and a half of field time remaining, plans were initiated to undertake limited fieldwork at Gilsbakki. The goals of the 2008 season were very basic: (1) to determine whether intact cultural deposits of any age remained beneath the current ground surface in the zone bracketed by the remains of the 19th century turf house, the church, and the mid-20th century houses, to gain a better understanding of the extent and stratigraphic complexity of any deposits that still remained at the site, to assess the preservation conditions – for stratigraphic deposits and features, as well as artifacts – within remaining cultural deposits, and to develop a preliminary stratigraphic and chronological model for those deposits.

(2)

(3)

(4)

Magnús Sigur›sson and his son, Ólafur Magnússon, the farm’s owners, graciously gave permission for Brown University to undertake geophysical and manual (coring) surveys of the site and to excavate two exploratory trenches on the slope between the church, the 1950s house and the house built in 1917. This area, located to the west of the area in
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Figure 5: Gilsbakki in 2008. The flagpole to the left of the church served as the 2008 datum point. To the right of the church stands the 1917 farmhouse and immediately to its right, the 1950s farmhouse, each surrounded by its garden. The 2008 investigations took place (center, left) in the field between the 1950s house and the church, to east and west, and between the 1917 house, to the north, and the green hay bales to the south. Photograph by Kevin Martin.

which deep cultural deposits had been encountered in the 1950s and immediately down-slope from the last turf house, seemed a likely area in which to find sheet midden deposits from earlier houses that were presumed to have been located at the top of the slope and beneath the last turf house. A permit for coring, excavation, and electromagnetic surveying was issued by Fornleifavernd Íslands (Permit 200807006) on July 10th, 2008. Investigations began immediately with simultaneous coring and geophysical prospection, followed by the excavation of two trenches. These were begun on July 10th

and were completed on July 17, 2008, with both refilled and returfed that day. Finds from the 2008 field season were initially processed, cleaned, and bagged in the field, then shipped to the United States for conservation, analysis, and cataloguing under permits issued by Safnará› (Permit 0808292Smith-ENG), in collaboration with fijó›minjasafn Íslands and Náttúrufræ›istofnun Íslands (Permit 2008090005/43-0). Ceramics, glass, iron, non-ferrous metals, and stone objects were analyzed by Kevin P. Smith. Dr. Michèle Hayeur Smith (University of Rhode Island, Department of Anthropology) conducted an initial analysis of textiles and dress
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items from the site, with assistance from Nancy Ayton. Additional analyses of the textiles were undertaken by Michèle Hayeur Smith and Professor Margaret Ordoñez (University of Rhode Island, Department of Textile Conservation, Fashion and Marketing) and will be described in a separate report. Faunal remains from the site were analyzed by Dr. Lisa Anderson (Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology in the Ancient World). AMS radiocarbon dating was done through the University of Arizona’s AMS laboratory.

fence, on the western margin of the zone to be investigated in 2008, with the X122 parallel to the fence around the western side of the garden surrounding the 1950s house. The northern margin of the zone investigated in 2008 was set, again arbitrarily, as Y135, with the Y100 line running at the base of the slope below the farm. The X0/Y0 point is located near the brink of Gilsbakkagil, southwest of the area under investigation.

Coring Survey Site setting, datum, and grid
Gilsbakki is located on a hillside on the northern bank of the Norðlingafjlót river valley in the commune of Hvítársíða, Borgarbyggð, western Iceland (64°43’ 00”N/20°53’60” W). The United States Army’s 1:50,000 scale topographic sheet for the area (“Strutur”, Sheet 5621 III, AMS Series C762 [1951]) records a horizontal mapping point at, or near, the church, which lies just above the 160 m contour on that sheet. Although no marked mapping point could be identified in the field during the summer of 2008, the cement pad for the flagpole, located just southwest of the church, within the cemetery enclosure, is thought to have been the mapping point used in preparing that map. GPS readings indicate its height at 163.90 m AMSL (above mean sea level). This pad and elevation were used as the central datum for the site. An X/Y coordinate grid was then laid out with the Y axis increasing toward true north and the X axis increasing to the east. The X100 line was set, arbitrarily, just to the east of the eastern cemetery
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Survey design An initial sense of subsurface stratigraphy at Gilsbakki was obtained through a limited coring survey undertaken within the area bounded by the X100 and X122 lines, on the west and east, respectively, and by the Y100 and Y135 lines, on the south and north, respectively. Cores were taken, as in previous surveys at Háls, Borgarfjar›arsýsla, using an Oakfield 501 peat coring tube (Smith 1991). The Oakfield 501 tube is a non-auguring coring tube that retrieves core segments 30 cm in length and 2.5 cm in diameter, retaining all deposits sampled in correct stratigraphic order. The tube is pushed into the ground, until full or until it meets resistance, then is retrieved and split with a knife, allowing the contents, thickness and texture of the core´s strata to be documented. The tube is then inserted into the hole and pushed with constant pressure applied to retrieve additional 30 cm samples. By using extensions to the coring shaft, cores up to 1.5 meters in length can be retrieved from most sites, although cores deeper than 1.0 meters tend to become

practically difficult to retrieve due to binding of the coring tube in the core hole. Core segments are recovered in this way until the base of cultural deposits are reached or until the coring tube is stopped by rocks or sediments too compacted for penetration. The width of the Oakfield 501 coring tube, which was designed for recovering soft sediments like peat without compression, is particularly well-suited for use in Icelandic loessic soils, architectural debris from the construction and collapse of turf walls, and uncompacted midden deposits.

Nevertheless, the retrieval process is not without complications. Cultural deposits that have been compacted through human activity can be more difficult to penetrate (especially at greater depths due to bending and torque on the coring tool’s shaft) and/or may compact in the process of retrieval, reducing the total length of the retrieved core, relative to the actual depth of the sampled deposits. These factors provide recognized potentials for underestimating the depths of specific deposits. To compensate for compaction, the actual depth of the coring hole is measured after each push

Figure 6: Oakfield 501 coring tube in use at Gilsbakki; Core 10, uppermost portion, showing base of rooted turf with light gray ashy midden matrix at top (left), overlying an orange-brown turf matrix with occasional charcoal and ash blebs, overlying a second layer of ashy gray midden matrix, containing ash, burned bone fragments, charcoal, and a fragment of early 19th century undecorated pearlware.

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of the coring tube and recorded along with the measured sediments recovered by the core, providing a measure of the amount of compaction present in each core segment. In addition, sediment from the edges of the coring hole inevitably accumulates on top of core segments below the first, while the coring tool is being pushed down into intact deposits, and can provide what may appear to be a false top layer of cultural deposit in each new core segment. To counteract this recognized problem, a small wad of grass is thrown into the core hole before each push of the core to provide a physical cap for the undisturbed core segment and all loose or compacted sediment above that cap is discarded when measuring retrieved core segments. Despite these problems, comparisons between the records gained by coring and the excavation of adjacent deposits have repeatedly shown that the overall structure of sub-surface deposits delineated by coring provides an accurate record of the overall sequence of deposits present below the surface, if not all their subtle details. Further, sequences of cores taken at systematic intervals across large site provide rapid, minimally destructive profiles of the gross stratigraphic relationships present that are useful for delineating the extent and location of middens, buried structures, feature complexes and marker horizons, such as tephra layers. Finally, the 2.5 cm diameter of the Oakfield 501 core segments provides enough undisturbed sediment within the coring tube for samples of tephra, charcoal, and other cultural inclusions to be recovered from unmixed, stratigraphically intact contexts, allowing coring to serve as a rapid means for recovering sediment and

samples useful for phosphate profiling, tephrochronological analyses, and AMS dating. Description of the Cores Four transects were cored on July th 10 and 11th. The first coring transect established at Gilsbakki ran eastward along the Y135 line, just south of the current fence-line surrounding the garden around the 1917 cement house, from X100 to X122. Transect 2 ran south from the eastern end of Transect 1, from X122/Y135 to X122/Y105, along the eastern margin of the area to be investigated. Transect 3 ran eastward from the southern end of Transect 2, along the Y105 line, just south of the garden fence surrounding the 1950s house. Transect 4 ran down the X110, midway between the garden of the 1950s house and the churchyard. Transect 1 was investigated on July th 10 , 2008. At its eastern end, this line ran just in front of, and cut slightly into the area identified by Magnús Sigur›sson as the site of the late 19th century turf house. At its western end it crossed an open area remembered as the site of a late 19th century hestarétt (horse corral) located between the turf house and the current fence for the churchyard and cemetery (see Figure 4). By placing Coring Line 1 in this location, we hoped to be able to determine the depth and nature of cultural deposits at the top of the hillside, to gain some sense of whether deposits from the 19th century occupation remained intact and whether earlier deposits were present beneath them, and to gain a sense of whether cultural deposits were likely to

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extend farther to the north and into the garden surrounding the 1917 house. Two cores were successfully recovered on Coring Line 1. These were located at X122/Y135 (Core 1) and X115/Y135 (Core 2). Coring was attempted at X105/Y135 and at X110/Y135, but both cores ended on rocks less than 25 cm beneath the surface, just beneath the modern humic/root zone, suggesting the presence of buried architectural features (walls, paved floors, or wall collapse zones) or repositioned demolition debris of relatively recent age in these locations. Cores 1 and 2 were located just to the south of the visible wall stubs of the late 19th century house. Core 1 was located just beyond what the reported southeast corner of the turf house while Core 2 was located near front door of the house. This core (C2) had 15 cm of light brown sandy silt with scattered charcoal flecks beneath the surface root plug, overlying a 13 cm layer of turf bits, extending from 27-40 cm below the ground surface. Beneath this blanket of turf was a 13 cm thick layer of dark black-brown silt mixed with charcoal and burned bone fragments, overlying stones large enough to block the coring tube. These stones, lying 53 cm below the surface, and the overlying compact cultural layer (which began 40 cm below the surface) may represent the floor layer and paving of the last turf house, with the overlying turf layers representing wall and roof turf blocks and bits thrown over the floor layers when it was demolished in 1917. Core 1 was slightly different. Beneath a 6 cm rooted sod layer was a 21 cm thick layer of brown silt with pebbles grading into a zone of dispersed
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fragments of turf. This upper zone overlay a 30 cm thick layer of larger and more coherent-appearing turf bits with one thin lens of brown silt midway through. Beneath this thick turf blanket was a 12 cm thick (57-69 cm below surface) compact cultural deposit, dark black-brown in color with increasing amounts of charcoal at greater depths and scattered, fine burned bone fragments throughout. As at Core 2, this cultural deposit overlay stones large enough to stop the core. Taking into account that the surface at Core 1 was 12 cm higher than at Core 2, the stones that ended coring at both stations, as well as the overlying cultural deposits and turf layers, were at essentially the same elevations in both cores and most likely represent floors or extramural surfaces capped by demolition debris from the turf house that was occupied until 1917. Coring along the Y135 transect suggested that the floors of the last turf house at Gilsbakki were still present ca. 40 cm below the current ground surface at the eastern end of Coring transect 1, blanketed beneath a thick layer of turf blocks and fragments from the house’s demolition. The presence of stones at shallow depths beneath the surface at the western end of the transect may represent other types of near-surficial structural remains or debris from the 19th century house spread out across the former hestarétt to level the ground surface after the turf house’s demolition. Coring Transect 2, ran southward along the X122 grid line from X122/Y135 to X122/Y110 and was positioned to gain a sense of the depth and structure of cultural deposits running

down the hill-slope on the eastern edge of the area to be investigated and to gain insights into whether cultural deposits continued into areas to the east, within the garden that surrounds the house built by the current owners in the mid-1950s. In contrast to the results of coring on Transect 1, which suggested just one cycle of cultural deposits at Gilsbakki, Transect 2 suggested a far more complex archaeological record with multiple cycles of building, deposition, and demolition. Core 3, five meters south of Core 1 at X123.5/Y130, had the record most similar to those from Transect 1. Twenty centimeters of silt overlay a thick bed of turf (20-42.5 cm below surface), within which was a single lens of compact brown sandy silt. Beneath the turf was a 5.5 cm compact deposit of blackish brown silty loam with small pebbles, fire cracked rock fragments, and charcoal overlying stones, at 48 cm below the ground’s surface that stopped the core. South of Core 3, however, the coring record deepened and became increasingly more complex. Cores 4 (X123.5/Y125) and 5 (X122/Y120) each had ashy midden layers beneath thin sub-sod silt deposits. These midden layers overlay thicker layers of nearly sterile silt with turf bits, which overlay, in turn, deeper layers of midden-like material with charcoal and scattered burned bone fragments in a dark black-brown (Core 4) to dark black (Core 5) greasy silt matrix. In Core 4, this sequence was observed to 60 cm below the surface, before the core ended on a rock, while in Core 5 the double sequence ended on a rock at just 31 cm below the surface, with only the upper part of the second cultural layer represented before the core’s termination.
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Cores 6 (X122/Y115) and 7 (X122/Y110) each penetrated deep, complexly stratified deposits, reaching 88 cm and 103 cm below the ground surface, respectively. The upper 51 cm of Core 6 were consistent with the patterning observed in Cores 3 and 4: a thin sub-surface layer of silt (0-14 cm below surface) capped a mottled gray to medium brown middenlike layer rich in charcoal, gray ash, and burned bone (14-28 cm bs), overlying turf (28-39 cm bs) and a second cultural layer (39-51 cm bs). This second layer was also midden-like with a medium-gray sandy silt matrix rich in burned bone fragments, charcoal, and small firecracked rock fragments. Unlike Core 3, however, this second midden layer was followed by a second layer of turf bits (51-66 cm bs) in the top portion of which were scattered charcoal flecks, and below this was a thick dark gray-brown clayey silt layer with charcoal flecks throughout (66-88 cm bs). Although clearly a cultural deposit, this stratum was neither as ashy as the midden-like layers above nor filled with burned bone flecks. Core 6 terminated on a rock at 88 cm bs. Core 7 (X122/Y110) came down immediately beneath the surface sod onto two superimposed, thick layers of turf and turf bits (0-30 cm bs and 30-42 cm bs), the lower-most of which had intermixed fragments and flecks of charcoal throughout. The gray-brown ashy midden layer that had been present immediately beneath the surface silt layer in Cores 4-6 suggests that it lenses out between Cores 6 and 7, and that the thick turf layers in the top of Core 7 represent the uppermost turf layer found beneath the upper gray midden in Cores 4-6. If

so, the compact, dark brown, charcoalrich cultural layer found immediately beneath these turf blankets (42-55 cm bs) may equate with the second midden layers found in Cores 4-6. Beneath this midden-like deposit was a thin layer of relatively sterile gray-brown silt (55-58 cm bs), which overlay a second cultural layer (58-79 cm bs), dark black in color and filled with charcoal, burned bone fragments and fire-cracked rock shards. This midden-like deposit was separated by another thin layer of gray-brown silt (79-83 cm bs) from a third cultural deposit (83-92 cm bs) that was banded, dark brown and compact with scattered small fragments of charcoal, pockets of ash, and a small green tephra or sand lens. Another thin silt lens (92-95 cm bs) separated this layer from a threecentimeter thick black layer of charcoal and silt, suggesting either a burning horizon or a charcoal/fuel dump (95-98 cm bs), which overlay a layer of burned or oxidized soil from 98-103 cm bs. This deposit was sufficiently compacted that the corer could penetrate no farther than 103 cm below surface. Core 8 (X122/Y105) ended on a rock just 20 cm below the surface but, like Core 7, hit turf deposits just beneath the silty rooted sod layer. In contrast to the results of coring on Transect 1, investigations on Transect 2 showed that the entire slope extending southward from the ruins of the 19th century house is covered by deep and complex, stratified cultural deposits marked, at least in their upper levels, by alternating strata representing ashy middens and turfy layers, presumably representing the demolition of buildings and the distribution of turf from their
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walls and roofs down the slope. At least four, and perhaps more than five, superimposed cultural layers – separated by layers of turf or silt – are present within these deposits, only the uppermost one of which seemed to be clearly associated, stratigraphically, with the sequence of deposits representing the last turf house occupied at Gilsbakki. No artifacts or tephra were recovered by coring along Transect 2, making it impossible to estimate the age of these deposits. Nonetheless, their depth and complexity suggested the possibility of considerable age, and in none of the cores was a clearly sterile basal layer reached, suggesting that cultural deposits on the slope at Gilsbakki reached at least 1 meter in depth and perhaps considerably more. A third coring transect was extended to the east of Core 8, along the Y105 line from X127 to X137, ca. 3 meters south of the fence surrounding the southern side of the garden surrounding the mid1950s house. This transect provided additional data on the thickness and extent of cultural deposits extending southeast of the main area investigated in 2008. Core 9 (X125/Y105) produced a core sequence 120 cm long, penetrating through 84 cm of cultural deposits and into pre-occupation sterile deposits below. Medium brown silt with occasional charcoal flecks, similar to the uppermost deposits in Cores 4-6 was encountered immediately beneath the sod (0-24 cm bs), beneath which was an oxidized orange-brown silt layer (24-32 cm bs) with scattered charcoal flecks, perhaps degraded turf. This, in turn, overlay an orange-brown oxidized silt layer. Below this was a compact layer of turfy silt with numerous charcoal

inclusions (32-37 cm bs), perhaps a working surface developed on top of a thick layer of less compacted turf with similar charcoal inclusions that extended from 37-62 cm bs. This turf mantle capped a dark brown mottled cultural fill layer streaked with charcoal (62-73 cm bs), beneath which (73-78 cm bs) was a compact turf layer overlying a sandy yellow-gray tephra or sand horizon (7879 cm bs). Below this tephra layer were sterile silt deposits extending to a basement of gray-green gravel mixed with silt, 120 cm below the current ground surface. Core 10, 5 meters farther east (X130/Y105), penetrated through a dry gray-brown silty layer with burned bone fragments (0-13 cm bs), a layer of mottled turf with ash lenses and burnt bone fragments (13-25 cm bs), and an ashy gray compact cultural layer (25-29 cm bs) with ash lenses and a sherd of pearlware, before terminating on a stone. Pearlware was produced in England from circa 1770-1840, but was still in circulation at Gilsbakki, according to excavation data, until the late 19th century. Core 11, located at X135/Y105, produced another long core, extending 100 cm below the current ground surface and, like Core 9, went through complex stratified cultural deposits to the underlying sterile pre-Landnám silts. Immediately beneath the surface was a layer of light gray-brown dry silt with occasional flecks of charcoal (0-14 cm bs) overlying a gray ash midden-like matrix mixed with brown silt and inclusions of burned bone and charcoal, similar in texture, color, and components to the pearlware-bearing stratum in Core 10. Beneath this was a compact dry turf
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horizon with scattered bits of charcoal and ash (27-31 cm bs), overlying a thick layer (31-70 cm bs) of medium brown silt grading to orange brown silt with depth, streaked with infrequent burnt sooty lenses and scattered, small charcoal flecks. This thick layer with relatively minimal evidence of cultural admixture or activity overlay, non-conformably, a 4 cm thick, dark brown, organic silt layer with occasional charcoal flecks, provisionally interpreted as a cultural layer based on the amount of charcoal present in the core and the greasy texture of the sediment. As in Core 9, this brown layer overlay a 1 cm thick, light yellow tephra or sand layer (74-75 cm bs), beneath which were mottled brown and orange-brown silts without any charcoal, burned bone, ash or cultural inclusions. Coring on Transect 3 demonstrated that well-stratified cultural deposits continue well to the east and the south of the site of the late 19th century houses. These deposits were 75-80 cm deep in the two cores that reached sterile subsoil along Transect 3. Together with the results of coring on Transect 2, this information suggests that significant cultural deposits must exist, or must once have existed, within the garden area around the 1950s house, and that the core area of occupational debris at Gilsbakki covers an area of at least 30 meters, north to south, and at least 35 meters, from the eastern margin of the cemetery on the west to a still-unknown point east of Core 11. Both the thickness of the cultural deposits encountered on Transect 3 and the intensity of the cultural admixtures within these strata seem to diminish in an eastward direction. This seems especially

apparent in the lower strata along Transect 3, which incorporated less midden-like material and turf than in cores from Transect 2 and may suggest that the central areas of occupation and deposition during the earlier phases of occupation at Gilsbakki may lay to the west and north of Transect 3. On the other hand, the basal cultural deposits in Cores 9 and 11 appear to have been deposited almost directly on top of a yellow to yellow-gray tephra layer. This was sufficiently similar in appearance, thickness, and texture to the lighter couplet of the Landnám tephra layer, as seen elsewhere in Borgarfjör›ur – for example at Háls and Reykholt, to suggest that occupation at Gilsbakki may have begun somewhat earlier than the medieval texts imply and relatively soon after the eruption of the “Landnám sequence”, circa 871-875 AD (Grönvold et al., 1995). Verifying this possibility remains a significant priority for future fieldwork at the site. A fourth coring transect was run southward along the X112 line, midway across the slope between Transect 2 and the churchyard, to help guide excavations at Trench 2 and to elucidate patterns observed through electromagnetic (EM) surveys across the area that suggested the possibility of both structural and midden deposits in this area. Four cores (12-15) were pulled on Transect 4 at two-meter intervals, with three penetrating more than 75 cm through complex, stratified deposits. Core 12 (X112/Y121) passed through a thin layer of dry, brown silt with pebbles immediately beneath the sodded root plug (0-14 cm) before intersecting a compact, laminated deposit
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(14-21 cm bs) with fine, alternating layers of ash, charcoal, and turfy silt. One small piece of green glass was recovered from this layer. Beneath it was a layer of sterile orange-brown silt, overlying a stone that stopped the core. Core 13 (X112/Y119) passed, similarly, through a deposit of medium brown silt immediately beneath the sod (0-14 cm) and then a thick layer (14-29 cm bs) of loose, light gray ash with abundant charcoal fragments, overlying a thin layer (29-32 cm bs) of turf bits. Beneath this turf cap was a layer (32-47 cm bs) of black to dark brown silt with abundant small fragments of charcoal and finely comminuted fragments of calcined bone. This deposit lay unconformably over a layer of brown silt with scattered bits of charcoal and burned bone (47-58 cm bs). Below this brown silt layer was a thick (58-83 cm bs) stratum of turf, overlying a dense dark brown to black cultural layer (83-95 cm bs) with decayed bone, charcoal, turf ash lenses, and a small jasper fragment. This layer, either a floor layer or compact working surface, lay over a stone that stopped the core at 95 cm below the surface. As in Cores 12 and 13, Core 14 (X112/Y117) passed through a layer of brown silt (0-12 cm bs) immediately below the rooted sod plug and then into an extremely compressed gray ash layer (12-22 cm bs) rich in charcoal and burned bone fragments. Beneath this ashy midden layer was an extremely dense layer of alternating laminated silts and ash deposits (22-24 cm bs), overlying a thick deposit of turf (24-43 cm bs) with increasing charcoal content towards its base. Beneath this was another compressed cultural deposit full of turf

ash, charcoal, and decayed bone. This layer (43-55 cm bs) was extremely similar in content, color, and texture to the lowest cultural layer reached in Core 13 and, like that stratum, lay beneath a thick mantle of turf. Beneath this compressed cultural deposit was another thick layer of turf, extending from 55 cm below the surface to a rock at 77 cm bs that ended the core. The final core on Transect 4, Core 15 (X112/Y115) passed through the sod layer (0-11 cm bs) without encountering the gray-brown silt found in Cores 12-14 and immediately intersected a gray ashy midden deposit (11-19 cm bs), internally stratified with lenses of ash, charcoal, and turfy silt. Beneath this, as in Core 14, was a compact gray ash layer with crossbedded microstrata of ash, charcoal, and turfy silt (19-24 cm bs). Again as in Core 14, this compact ash deposit overlay a layer of turf – thinner than in Core 14 and with scattered burned bone and charcoal fragments (24-31 cm bs). This lay over a third layer of gray ash with charcoal and burned bone (31-36.5 cm bs) that sat above a thick (36.5-49 cm bs) deposit of turf fragments – perhaps less coherent in the upper half of the deposit than in the lower – with scattered flecks of charcoal and ash throughout. Underneath the turf was a thin (49-52 cm bs), internally stratified layer with fine pink and red ash deposits, each 1-2 mm thick, overlying orange, oxidized silt. Beneath this was another ashy midden-like layer (52-63 cm bs), this time pinkish-gray, with burned bone, charcoal and silt. This turf ash deposit overlay a thick layer (63-83 cm bs) of nearly sterile, medium brown silt with scattered and infrequent charcoal flecks.
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Beneath this brown silt layer, though, was a compact layer of darker brown, organically greasy silt with abundant, large charcoal fragments (83-88 cm bs) that graded into an underlying, thick layer (88-106 cm bs) of turf bits with scattered charcoal fragments. The gradual transition between these two layers suggests that the upper brown layer developed on top of the thick turf-demolition horizon over a considerable period of time and perhaps as a working area subject to compaction and charcoal incorporation. Under the turf horizon was a dense, compressed, blackish-brown and graybrown, horizontally bedded cultural layer (106-111 cm bs), perhaps a floor or compacted work area, containing charcoal and ash but little, if any, identifiable bone or burned bone. This deposit was sufficiently compact, at this depth, to stop the coring probe at 111 cm bs. Transect 4 demonstrated that complex, stratified deposits at least as deep as those encountered in Transect 2, were present in the central portion of the field bracketed by the churchyard and the fences surrounding the two occupied houses in Gilsbakki’s core. None of the cores on Transect 4 reached sterile deposits and as many as 11 separate cultural layers were encountered in these cores, at times separating into cyclic couplets of compact, dark cultural layers capped by thick layers of turf that suggest activity surfaces capped by debris from the intentional demolition of a nearby turf structure. Other layers, of thick brown silt with relatively few admixtures of cultural debris such as charcoal or burned bone may suggest changes in the types of debris dumped from the farm over this part of the hillside (stable sweepings

rather than domestic/cooking waste and hearth sweepings?) or the movement of activities to other parts of the site and the slow development of thickened soil horizons here, before the initiation of renewed deposition. No artifacts or tephra layers were encountered during coring on Transect 4 to provide good age estimates for the basal deposits encountered, yet the thickness and complexity of the overlying sequences suggest the possibility of great antiquity for these lower strata. Results of the Coring Survey The four coring transects completed at Gilsbakki in 2008 established that the core area of the site is a classic farm mound of quite massive proportions. Throughout the 30x35 m area investigated, cores consistently penetrated at least 75 cm of complex, stratified deposits and as much as 111 cm of cultural deposits without hitting sterile subsoil or were hit by stones, most likely from architectural features, just below the surface The deposits recorded at Gilsbakki contain debris representing middens, occupation layers (floors or compressed activity surfaces), demolition horizons marked by massive movements of turf across the site’s core, and other deposits that are less obvious in their origins but may represent local still-stands in deposition, developed soil horizons, or dumps of farmyard debris from stalls and dung heaps rather than kitchens, smithies, and other work areas. Charcoal, ash, and burned bone testify to domestic activities, while smithing slag spherules (recovered from an upper stratum along Transect 2)

indicate that industrial activities took place nearby on the site, as well. These deposits and their activity signatures intersect in complex stratigraphic sequences that suggest the movement of activity centers, and almost certainly structures, around the core area of the site through time. Although some strata could be followed from core to core along each transect, the sum total of significant macrostrata (contexts or analytical units) at the site is certain to be more than the sum of the individual strata recorded by coring along each transect. The least that can be said from coring is that Gilsbakki is a very large, very complex, and very well-preserved site, at least in the core area investigated in 2008. Coring did not provide unambiguous evidence for dating the strata recorded, in large part due to the relatively depauperate tephra record for this part of western Iceland. Magnús Sigurgeirsson (1999) noted only four tephra layers known from his own work and Haukur Jóhannesson’s (1989) to be present in the interior portions of Reykholtsdalur, Hálsasveit and Hvítársí›a: the Landnám sequence (LNL), dated to 871±2 AD (Grönvold et al. 1995), the Medieval Layer (ML) dated to 1226-27 (Sigurgeirsson 1995), Hekla1693, and Katla-1721. Of these three, the Landnám layer is the most commonly observed, having been identified in the lowlands of western Borgarfjör›ur, the western reaches of Reykholtsdalur (at Reykholt and Hur›arbakki), in Hálsasveit, at Háls, and into the interior beneath the Hallmundarhraun lava field (Jóhannesson 1989). Both its dark upper layer and its yellow-gray lower layer have been recorded throughout this layer, although
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at Háls the yellow couplet was far more evident and the darker upper layer was frequently hard to observe, whether in undisturbed contexts or transported turf blocks. The “Medieval Layer”, typically dark brown to blackish-brown in color, has only been identified with certainty in the western lowlands of Borgarfjör›ur, while H1693 and K1721 (both typically dark gray to black in color) have been observed sporadically in the interior and lowland parts of the district, but always as thin and irregularly preserved layers. Coring located only one probable tephra layer, a yellow-gray moderately fine-grained layer 3-5 mm thick at the base of Cores 9 and 11. Based on its color and stratigraphic placement, it is likely that this layer is the Landnám tephra, although verification of this hypothesis must await the collection of further samples and their analysis. At the other end of the temporal spectrum, several cores produced small sherdlets of pearlware and/or whiteware, both refined white earthenware’s dated to the late 18th and 19th centuries, and one produced a fragment of green bottle glass, which, although notoriously difficult to date, is unlikely to be older than the 18th century in Iceland. Provisionally, then, coring suggested that the core area at Gilsbakki may contain a continuous archaeological record spanning nearly 1150 years from the late 9th or early 10th century to the present day. Coring further suggests that intact deposits almost certainly extend farther to the west, east, and north of the areas investigated in 2008, thinning to the south and east but of unknown depth and complexity to the north and southwest,
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beyond the margins of the cemetery. Coring also suggests that complex stratigraphic deposits were present, as recalled by the family, on the location of the 1950s house and its garden. Whether any of the deeper portions of those deposits still remain beneath the house’s cellar floors or below the surface of its gardens remains to be determined.

Geophysical Survey
Thomas Urban (Brown University)

Principle of Electromagnetic Method Electromagnetic induction served as the sole geophysical method employed at Gilsbakki. The electromagnetic method relies on fundamental laws of electromagnetic theory. Ampere's Law states that changing an electrical current generates an associated magnetic field (Shadowitz, 1988). Faraday's Law states that a changing magnetic field results in the flow of electrical current in nearby conductors (Shadowitz, 1988). In a twocoil EM system, therefore, by applying an alternating electrical current to the primary, transmitting coil, an associated magnetic field is generated. This field causes currents to flow in nearby conducting targets setting up a secondary magnetic field that, in turn, is sensed by the secondary, receiving coil (Figure 1). The induced current shifts in time relative to the transmitted signal depending on the dimensions and conductivity of the target, as well as the position of the instrument. Separating these time shifts, or phases, as a fraction of the original signal provides information on electrical and magnetic properties, and dimensions of the target.

Figure 7: Electromagnetic (EM) instruments produce a magnetic field that causes electrical currents to flow through nearby targets. This current flow, in turn, produces secondary magnetic fields that are detected by the instrument.

Stronger conductors are frequently elicit a response very close to the original signal, or "in phase", while poor conductors frequently exhibit a lagging response that is "out of phase" with the original signal. Survey Design Electromagnetic surveying was conducted at Gilsbakki with the GEM 2 by Geophex---a broad band frequency domain unit that can operate up to ten frequencies in a single waveform (Won et al, 1996). Five frequencies were employed, ranging from 450 Hz to 20010 Hz. Surveying was conducted at a 1 meter transect interval, with the instrument carried at grade level (i.e. shin

level), in an east to west strike (Figure 7). Another survey, perpendicular to the original (north to south strike), was also collected as a quality control measure and for additional statistical analysis. Data Processing Electromagnetic survey results with the GEM 2 can exhibit random noise levels (Figure 8) as high as 20% in the vicinity of man made structures (Huang and Won, 2003). To mitigate this phenomenon, an over-sampling and stacking strategy was employed at Gilsbakki.

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GEM 2 stationary base station 3930 Hz (in phase)
600 400 ppm response 200 0 -200 -400 -600 -800 -1000 5 minute time series
raw data stacked data

Figure 8. Stationary EM data collected over a five-minute period clearly exhibits random noise. Stacking the data, however, reducing the noise to more reasonable levels.
In phase 3930 Hz ( Line 1)
1400 1200 1000 ppm resonse 800 600 400 200 0 -200 35 -400 -600 postion along line (m) 32 28 25 21 18 14 11 8 4 1
raw data stacked data

Figure 9. This EM profile collected at Gilsbakki demonstrates the utility of stacking and filtering data. The lower frequency trend (of archaeological interest) is obscured by higher frequency noise. 8

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With the EM survey at Gilsbakki, data was over sampled by slowing the walking speed of the operator during data acquisition. A running average was then applied to the raw data, suppressing higher frequency random noise in order to enhance lower frequency trends of archaeological interest (Figure 9). Results The buried stubs of known walls from the last traditional turf house at the site, razed in 1917, manifested in-phase responses similar in amplitude and spatial structure to unknown features revealed by EM (Figure 10). EM survey results at south of the 19th century structures exhibited patterning consistent with the

geometry and dimensions of overlapping turf structural remains as well as midden deposits (Figure 11). A distributed anomalous area of high amplitude in-phase response, initially thought to be an area of intense human activity, proved through excavation and coring to incorporate well-stratified 17th19th century midden deposits with evidence of metal-working. Additional features, also appearing in the in-phase component, appear to fit the known geometry of traditional Icelandic turf architectural remains. Excavation data and comparisons with the location and EM signals of several known turf walls within the survey area both support this assertion. Excavation revealed turf and stone wall stubs with the same strike and

Figure 10: Comparison of the surface-visible stubs of four turf walls from the last turf house at Gilsbakki (topographic mapping, 2008, above left) with a late 19th century photograph of the same farmhouse (right) and electromagnetic survey signatures across the same area (center left).

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Figure 11: Contiguous areas of high amplitude in-phase response, red/orange through purple in these images, proved through excavation in Trenches 1 and 2 and through coring to mirror well-stratified 17th-19th century midden deposits with evidence of metal-working. Green and dark green linear distributions of the in-phase component are consistent with the geometries of traditional Icelandic turf architectural remains and the signatures of known 19th century turf wall stubs, seen at the upper margin of the upper right image and in Figure 10. One of these in-phase turf wall signatures, crossing Trench 2, matched the location of a buried turf and stone wall foundation, AMS dated to the 14th century, sealed beneath post-medieval middens.

dimensions as the associated EM anomalies, buried beneath the 17th-19th century (Figure 11, upper left). An AMS date run on a fragmentary ovicaprid long bone fragment from midden layers
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directly associated with these foundations suggests that they date to the 14th century. The out of phase component revealed additional features related to the middens

and the structural remains, including the stone wall mentioned above. Discussion At Gilsbakki, electromagnetic survey data in multiple frequencies from both parallel and perpendicular transects, collected through a conscious oversampled field strategy, were heuristically and iteratively reviewed in the field house on a nightly basis, then smoothed with a stacking routine in the post-excavation analyses to suppress noise and draw out both major and subordinate patterning. EM survey appears, at Gilsbakki, to be a very powerful tool for delineating not only middens but also, potentially, buried turf structural remains. EM successfully discriminated the subsurface signatures of known turf and stone walls from a late 19th century house and identified similar signatures with anomalously rectilinear patterning along and across the strike of the hillslope, well away from the 19th century ruins. Excavation across one of these areas identified a buried feature without any surface manifestations, where predicted by EM, that appears to be the foundation of a 13th-14th century turf and stone wall. Ongoing review of the in-phase and out-of-phase data collected in 2008, across multiple frequency ranges, suggests that the network of rectilinear anomalies distributed across the central portion of the area investigated in 2008 may represent one or more turf structures of currently unknown ages. Testing this hypothesis should be a priority for future excavation seasons. Electromagnetic survey was also extremely successful in delineating the

extent of more recent midden deposits across the southern half of the surveyed area, as suggested by coring and confirmed by excavation data. EM survey provided a very fast and efficient method for establishing the horizontal extent of these deposits, providing distributional data that would have been unavailable without extensive coring strategies or open area excavation. The EM survey strategy did not, however, yield data on the depth, thickness, or composition of these deposits, which targeted coring and excavation did provide, reinforcing the value of combining geophysical and traditional approaches as complementary ways of characterizing deposits at complex sites. Finally, modern infrastructure was easily located at the site with the out-ofphase component of the EM survey. The locations of two buried transmission lines were delineated largely through the recognition of linear-sequenced dipoles, located in separate surveys with transects oriented perpendicular to the respective strikes of the features. The identification of these recent transmission lines and no other linear features with strong magnetic signatures allowed us to operate Finally, modern infrastructure was easily located at the site with the out-ofphase component of the EM survey. The locations of two buried transmission lines, manifested as low-magnitude linear features, and through the appearance of linear-sequenced dipoles oriented in-line with the EM unit, and likely representing interference from the lines. The identification of these recent transmission lines and no other modern features with strong electromagnetic signatures allowed us to operate non-intrusively within an
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occupied farmstead and supports the land-owners’ understanding that the core area of the old farmstead at Gilsbakki was not heavily disturbed by 20th century improvements.

Excavation
Two areas were selected for exploratory test trenches at Gilsbakki on the basis of the results from the coring and electromagnetic surveys. Trench 1, located on the eastern margin of the area investigated in 2008, extending from X120-121/Y115 to X120-121/Y110. Trench 2 was located in the center of the field extending from X111-112/Y120.5 to X111-112/Y115.5.1

Trench 1
Trench 1 was placed to intersect the deepest cultural deposits identified by coring on Transect 2, parallel to the western fence line surrounding the garden of the 1950s house. One of the goals of the 2008 field season was to ascertain whether intact cultural deposits remained in proximity to those disturbed when the 1950s house was built and to determine, to the extent possible, whether those deposits could have been medieval (as the family suspected) or were more recent. Accordingly, Trench 1 was positioned as near as possible to the area of the reported cultural deposits for excavation to
1

It should be noted that Trenches 1 and 2 were both set up before the X/Y coordinate grid was established. On artifact bags and in field notes, Trench 1 is consequently identified as running from “20-25 meters south” from the northern baseline (later set as Y135), while Trench 2 is recorded as extending from “14.5-19.5 meters” south of that baseline. See Appendix 2. 34

proceed without disturbing the house’s occupants. Trench 1 was a 5 meter long, 1-meter wide trial trench with its southwest and northwest corners at X120/Y110 and X120/Y115, respectively; its southeast and northeast corners at X121/Y110 and X121/Y110. The surface turf was removed on 10 July 2008 and excavations ended at Trench 1 on the 15th of July. Once the turf was stripped from this location, the exposed surface was trowelscraped to a smooth surface parallel to the modern ground surface. Visibly different contexts observed on this cleaned surface were identified and mapped. All loose sediment from the surface was collected by context and sifted through 6 mm mesh screen. Four clearly differentiable contexts were visible immediately beneath the sod at Trench 1. Following their provisional definition, the upper 5 cm of each context was trowel-scraped to establish its proper stratigraphic relationships to adjacent contexts and to obtain an unmixed sample of artifacts and other cultural materials for dating and characterization the deposit. This initial review suggested that two of the contexts immediately beneath the sod (Context 001) were superimposed 19th century midden layers (Contexts 002 and 003) paralleling the slope of the hill, while the third was a turf deposit (Context 004). Context 001 was a gray-brown silty midden layer at the base of the rooted sod and may represent a mixed surface horizon more than a coherently unique and discrete stratigraphic layer. Contexts 002 and 003 were located in the northern two-thirds of the trench, and were initially

Figure 12: North wall profile of Trench 1, Gilsbakki, at end of excavations, 15 July 2008. Photograph by Kevin Martin.

thought to be separate strata. However, closer examination showed that they were just intergrading lenses within a single midden deposit, which was relabeled Context 002/003 and excavated as a single unit. An orange-brown turfy layer was exposed immediately beneath the surface sod at the southern end of Trench 1. It appeared to underlie Context 002/003, which pinched out
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approximately midway down the trench and had been somewhat mixed into the surface sod at the southern end of the trench. From the initial review it was clear that the best view of the sequencing of the uppermost strata would be gained by focusing on the northern portions of Trench 1. In addition, given the depth of the deposits indicated by coring and the

number of finds recovered from the uppermost layers, it was clear that reducing the area excavated would be the only strategy for reaching the deeper strata within the week available for excavations. Therefore, although Context 001 was excavated over the entire 5-meter length of Trench 1, Context 002/003 was excavated over only the northern three meters of the trench (Y112-115). Beginning with Context 004 and continuing through Context 008, the excavation was stepped down further, with only the northernmost meter (X120121/Y114-115) excavated. The final stepdown resulted in just the northernmost 60 cm (X120-121/Y114.4-115) of Contexts 009-011 excavated. Context 001 Context 001 was the designation given to the thin sod/topsoil layer, 12-14 cm thick, which was formed of mediumgray, friable, heavily rooted silt, intermixed with limited amounts of ash, charcoal, and cultural materials, especially in its lower 5 cm. Most of this layer was removed within the turf blocks cut by shovel at the excavation’s start. Intact portions of its matrix were excavated beneath the cut sods in Y111-115 and samples of Context 001’s matrix were sampled from the bases of the sod blocks removed across the full length of the trench. From Y111-Y115, Context 001 lifted cleanly off underlying ashy midden matrixes, the northernmost of which – grayer, looser, and ashier in composition were originally designated Context 002 and the southern most of which – darker,

more charcoal-rich and heavily mottled with turf ash lenses – was initially designated Context 003. In Y110-111, Context 001 was present only within the sod blocks, the lowermost portions of which – and the sediment beneath which – represented a distinctly different turfy layer with very little incorporated ash or cultural materials (Context 004). It can be concluded from the field observations that the near absence of incorporated cultural materials within the upper 8-10 cm of Context 001 documents the cessation of midden deposition over this part of the Gilsbakki site and, further, that Context 001 overlay Contexts 002, 003, and 004, which each extended over just a part of the surface beneath Context 001. Each of these underlying contexts appeared, in sequence farther south in the trench. Contexts 001, 002, and 003 represent sequential strata of ashy midden, and Context 004 an underlying layer of turf. Although it is possible that these four contexts each lensed out naturally at this point on the hill slope, it seems more likely that all were all truncated and sequentially exposed at some point in the relatively recent past. This latter possibility seems most likely, especially given that Context 002 and 003 deposits appear to have been truncated both southward and westward (see below). The most likely causes of these truncations are 20th century efforts to flatten the surface of the hillside tún (homefield), removing þúfur (frost hummocks) with tractors and plows to facilitate mechanical hay harvesting, using tractors and balers rather than hand-held scythes and rakes to cut and turn the hay.

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Context 001, therefore, represents a significant transformation in the use and management of the site’s core, attendant upon the acquisition of mechanized vehicles and their use in changing both the appearance of the domestic landscape and the degree to which hay production could be intensified after the first and second world wars. A total of 227 artifacts and faunal remains were recovered from Context 001 in Y111-115. The 154 objects included 32 fragments of brown, green, and clear glass, 7 of which were from window and the rest were from either bottles or drinking glasses. There were, in addition, 108 ceramic sherds, including 1 fragment of yellow ware (ca. 1830-1850), 7 late transfer-printed whiteware sherds (1850-1880), 45 undecorated whiteware fragments, 1 hand-painted polychrome sherd (1830-1850), 2 hand-painted polychrome pearlware fragments (18301850), 5 fragments of late purple or blue transfer-printed pearlware (ca. 18201840), 1 early blue transfer-printed pearlware sherd (ca. 1820-1840), 4 latepaste undecorated pearlware sherds (ca. 1820-1840), 29 undecorated pearlware sherds (1780-1840), 5 burned and undifferentiable sherds of refined earthenware (either pearlware or whiteware), and one undated fragment of painted redware. In addition to these, Context 001 produced one iron sickle blade fragment, two unidentifiable iron fragments, one sire nail produced after 1870, fourteen machine cut iron nails, two hand-wrought iron nails, two iron attachment strips and plates, three pieces of light, frothy smithing slag, one copper alloy button, one copper alloy loop handle with
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decorative ridges, one piece of milk glass, and one fragment of a painted bisque doll’s head (2008-34-168), dating to the period 1860-1910. Analysis of the ceramic assemblage from Context 001, using South’s (1971, 1977) mean ceramic date formula with median ceramic dates for the ceramic types of English origin based on South (1977), Bartovics (1981) and Affleck (1991), produces mean age estimates of 1866 for sherds recovered from Y114115, 1861 for the assemblage from Y113-114, and 1873 for Y112-113 for a mean ceramic date of 1867. However, the presence of both cut nails and a bisque doll’s head post-dating 1870 suggest that the dates produced by the mean ceramic dating formula are older than the actual deposit date due to the presence of a considerable number of sherds from vessels that were already quite old at the time they were broken (the “curation effect”). Pearlware, for example, although not produced after 1840, was quite common in this deposit, alongside fragments of vessels representing types that were not produced until 1850 or later. Given the presence of artifact types post-dating 1870 within Context 001, the median age of underlying deposits in Context 002/003, and historical evidence suggesting a major change in site layout after 1917, when the last turf house was torn down, Context 001 is provisionally dated to the period 1880-1920. Faunal remains from Context 001 included 15 unburned and 53 burned bone fragments, as well as 5 teeth. Three of the unburned bones were attributable to cattle, the rest were either ovicaprid or medium mammal bones, most likely also

ovicaprid. No fish or bird bones were recovered from Context 001. Context 002/003 Context 002 was the designation initially given to a light gray ashy midden layer recognized beneath the sod at the northern end of Trench 1, while Context 003 was a darker, medium brown midden layer with patches of pink to brownishpink turf ash intermixed throughout. Initially thought to be differentiable, it quickly became apparent that Context 002 was just one of many individual dumping episodes within a larger midden that included both “Context 002” and “Context 003”, as well as other interleaving microstrata. As this became clear, the entire midden layer capped by the gray-brown silt of Context 001 and overlying a dense orange-brown layer of turf fragments (Context 004), was renamed Context 002/003 to indicate its compound nature. Context 002/003 varied in thickness from a barely perceptible veneer at the northwestern corner of the trench to a 2530 cm thick deposit in X120-121/Y113114 and lensed out, or had been scraped away during field flattening, below Y112. The midden layer clearly consisted of material cast down the hillside, which sloped downward towards the south and the east at the time deposition began. It seems clear that the origin of the midden deposits was the turf house located up the hill to the north and north- northwest of Trench 1. It is impossible to determine whether Context 002/003 was originally of a uniform thick deposit across the length and width of Trench 1, because the 20th

century field-flattening efforts evidenced in Context 001 clearly removed the upper portions of Context 002/003 at its upper (northwester) end. Micro-strata, laminations and discrete lenses of garbage with the deposit, however, appear to follow the same general strike through out the deposit, suggesting that the deposit may originally have been relatively consistent in thickness through this area of the hillside. Small finds and faunal remains were scattered broadly throughout the deposit’s ashy silt matrix and lenses of charcoal, soot, turf ash, and turf bits. The amount of ash and burned debris within Context 002/003 suggests that it accumulated, in large part, from hearth sweepings and clean-outs within the domestic context. However, the incorporation of hardware, slag, and other items not easily attributable to the kitchen strongly suggests that this was a general refuse deposit into which all kinds of garbage were thrown, rather than a dumping area restricted to kitchen debris. The presence of multiple refits among the ceramics and glass, as well as visible suggestions of garbage lenses within the midden, suggests that the it accumulated through many repeated, discrete dumping episodes that each contributed a relatively small amount of garbage to the scatter. Each of these cleaning deposits seems to have become relatively rapidly buried, so that refitting fragments of individual vessels remained in relatively close proximity rather than being scattered through human activity, animals’ trampling, or erosion by water or wind. Approximately 0.48 m3 of sediment from Context 002/003 were excavated from Trench 1 (Y112-115), from which
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527 burned and unburned faunal remains and 452 non-faunal objects were recovered. Of the 308 unburned bones recovered from Context 002/003, only 8 could be reliably attributed to Bos, the rest were either ovicaprid, medium mammal, or fragments too small to identify. Nine ovicaprid jaws were complete enough to estimate age based on tooth wear and tooth eruption. Two of these were Payne’s Stage B (2-6 months, lambs of the year), one was an indeterminate Stage B/C (2-12 months), one was a Stage C sub-adult (6-12 months), 2 were Stage D (1-2 year old sheep), and one each represented Stages F (3-4 years), G (4-6 years), and H (6-8 years). The age profile represented by these specimens, though a small sample, suggests a herding strategy aimed towards meat and wool production, or a generalized dairy/meat/wool off-take, rather than a focus on milk production. Although the fish remain to be identified to taxon, the presence of both cranial and post-cranial elements suggests that whole, fresh fish rather than dried, processed skreið (dried cod) were consumed on the site. Given Gilsbakki’s historically documented ownership of extensive interior lacustrine and riverine fishing rights, it may be that fish from these sources, though infrequently recovered without wet-screening, were relatively frequently consumed at the site. Context 002/003 produced 380 ceramic and 123 fragments of glass. The glass assemblage from Context 002/003 was dominated by fragments from bottles of diverse sizes, shapes and colors – including quite a few wine bottle fragments and several “medicine” or

perfume bottle fragments, a smaller number of identifiable drinking vessel fragments, and a number of decorative or ornate-utilitarian objects, including fragments of a milk glass lamp, a fragmentary stopper from a crystal decanter (Þjms 2008-34-235), two fragments from a pressed or molded decorative vessel (Þjms 2008-34-174 and -234). Temporally diagnostic items of glass included one green glass neck from a mold decorated bottle or flask with a selfformed, non-applied, annealed lip (Þjms 2008-34-174), more typical before 1860 (ca. 1820-1870) than afterwards, one green glass wine bottle base with a basal scar from an “improved” or “sand” pontil, more recent than 1860 and most likely dating to the period 1870-1900 (Þjms 2008-34-227), and one or more brown bottle fragments, possibly from the same vessel, with a shoulder seam from a three-piece snap-case mold, again dating to the period 1860-1900 (Þjms 2008-34230). The ceramics from Context 002/003 were both abundant and diverse in age and origin. The majority were members of the whiteware (n = 208) and pearlware (n = 147) families, with a ratio of two (1.41 : 1.00) indicating a generally later 19th century age for the assemblage, but suggesting that a significant number of the ceramics deposited in Context 002/003 had been in use for a considerable amount of time prior to deposition. This is confirmed by a more detailed review of the ceramic assemblage. The most recent ceramics in the assemblage include yellow ware (n = 1, 1830-1940), ironstone (n = 1, 18101940), polychrome transfer-printed

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whiteware (n =2, ca. 1850-1880), and flow-blue transfer-printed whiteware (ca. 1840-1860). Slightly earlier and considerably more numerous are mid19th century blue, red, green, brown, and black transfer-printed whiteware sherds (n = 22, ca. 1830-1860), annular banded whiteware (n = 1, 1830-1860), handpainted polychrome whiteware (n = 3, ca. 1830-1840), blue underglaze slipped whiteware (n = 2, ca. 1820-1840), and plain, undecorated whiteware (n = 177, ca. 1820-1970). Late 18th and early 19th century ceramics in this context include handpainted polychrome floral pearlware (n = 4, ca. 1830-1840), early transfer-printed pearlware (n = 28, ca. 1820-1840), hardpaste undecorated pearlware (n = 17, ca. 1810-1840), annular banded pearlware (n = 2, ca. 1790-1820), early underglaze blue painted pearlware (n = 1780-1820), and early, soft-paste undecorated pearlware (ca. 1780-1810). All of these appear to be English products based on designs and fragmentary maker’s marks. In addition to these identifiable fragments, a small number of burned sherds (n = 11) could be either undecorated pearlware or whiteware but had no identifiable features. Two anomalously early white earthenware sherds were also present in the assemblage: a single piece of English white salt-glazed stoneware (ca. 17201805) and a sherd of apparently tinglazed, soft-paste earthenware of unknown origin (ca. 1640-1800). Glazed redware (n = 1), blackburnished redware (n = 6, including a spout and tripod leg from a pipkin), and brown salt-glazed stoneware, perhaps English (n = 2) round out the ceramic assemblage but are not as easily dated. South’s (1977) mean ceramic date formula, when applied to the English

ceramics from each 1x1 meter excavated quadrant of Context 002/003, suggests median ceramic assemblage dates of 1873, 1868, and 1863 for Y114-115, Y113-114, and Y112-113, respectively, and an averaged mean ceramic date of 1868 for the entire excavated portion of Context 002/003. This average, and the individual units’ estimated mean dates, are essentially identical to the calculated mean dates for overlying assemblages from Context 001 in these same three 1x1 meter units, further indicating that Context 001’s content is derived overwhelmingly from the disturbance of underlying deposits from Context 002/003, rather than representing a discrete midden deposition layer. In addition to faunal remains, glass, and ceramics, Context 002/003 produced a similarly diverse assemblage of metal, stone, and textile artifacts. Identifiable iron objects ranged from one half of an ox shoe (Þjms 2008-34-196), two rivets or rove plates, fragments of a probable large latch or lock mechanism, small iron links or linking mechanisms from a compound object, one turned iron screw, 13 machine-cut and 11 hand-wrought nails, and 28 iron strips, plate fragments, hardware fragments, and shaft fragments of relatively undifferentiated form. Non-ferrous metal objects from Context 002/003 included two pieces of copper alloy scrap, one copper alloy square-headed rivet of a type also recovered from 13th and 18th century deposits at Háls in Hálsasveit, and a copper alloy thimble (Þjms 2008-34-273) manufactured from brass sheet metal by a punch-and-die (deep-drawing) process. This process was developed in England, circa 1780, and spread to Germany by the early 1800s (Holmes 1985: 139-144). The manufacturing method, coupled with
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the narrow rolled rim at the base of this thimble, point to it being a 19th century object, consistent with the age suggested by the ceramics and glass. Dress-related items from Context 002/003 include a large iron button with a thin outer covering of copper alloy sheeting (Þjms 2008-34-271), a small copper cuff button (Þjms 2008-34-203), a tin four-hole button (Þjms 2008-34-267), a bone four-hole button (Þjms 2008-34031), a two-piece stemmed orange-yellow Victorian celluloid button (Þjms 2008-34272), half of a single-sided, ridge-backed black Vulcanite comb fragment with incised motifs (Þjms 2008-34-274), and eleven woolen textile fragments that include portions of machine-knitted socks or gloves and machine-woven black woolen cloth fragments similar in appearance to elements of 19th century Icelandic dress (Þjms 2008-34-206, Þjms 2008-34-270). The celluloid button and vulcanite comb fragment from Context 002/003 are significant both for dating and for the evidence they provide of connections that linked the members of Gilsbakki’s household to fashions spreading throughout Europe and America at the end of the 19th century. Vulcanite, or hard rubber, is an early plastic formed through the admixture of sulfur and natural rubber under high pressure, patented by Thomas Hancock in the United Kingdom and Charles Goodyear in the United States in 1843 and 1844, respectively. Combs made from vulcanite appear frequently after 1850 and black vulcanite decorative hair combs became increasingly popular in Victorian England and North America after the death of Queen Victoria’s consort, Albert, in 1861 and her
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subsequent adoption of black mourning dress as the emblem of her sovereignty and devotion to the state as a royal widow. Celluloid, another early plastic, was invented in the 1850s and first patented for the production of billiard balls and decorative items in 1870. Its decorative qualities, colors, and forms were rapidly adopted, and the process of its manufacture spread, throughout Europe and North America, but celluloid began to be replaced by other plastics (Bakelite, etc.) after 1910 due to the dangers posed by celluloid’s highly flammable nature. The vulcanite comb and celluloid button from Context 002/003, therefore, imply that deposition in this midden layer continued into the 1870s and potentially later, while their incorporation into the deposit suggests that the people of Gilsbakki during the late 19th century, although wearing black woolen cloth known to have been adapted to Icelandic styles, were also aware of, in possession of, and presumably wearing fashionable decorative dress elements that would have been equally in style in New York or London. Given that Gilsbakki was on the circuit for Victorian adventure tourists and saga enthusiasts like Bisiker (1902), Elizabeth Jane Oswald (1881), and William Morris (1969) from the 1870s onwards, it is tempting to consider the possibility that these exotic items of Victorian dress came as presents from foreign visitors to the farm, but it is equally possible that they were obtained through trade with Icelandic merchants tied into the globalizing economy of the late 19th century. Two other items obtained through foreign trade and recovered from Context

002/003 were two fragments of Victorian bisque doll heads (Þjms 2008-34-024 and Þjms 2008-34-276, ca. 1860-1910) and two fragments of anthracite coal (Þjms 2008-34-205). The former must have warmed the hearts of young girls at Gilsbakki in the late 19th century, whether given as presents by foreign visitors or loving parents, while the latter clearly warmed the hearths or forges at Gilsbakki and seem less likely to have arrived as gifts or in the kits of travelers than as elements of fuel imported from coastal stores. From a chronological perspective, bisque (unglazed porcelain) augmented glazed porcelain as a medium for producing hollow dolls’ heads after ca. 1860 but became popular – due to its matte finish and ability to accurately represent skin and hair tones – after 1870. Items such as the bisque dolls’ heads, the cellulite button, the Vulcanite comb, and the glass bottles produced in threepiece snap-case molds or with improved/glass pontils indicate that Context 002/003 was accumulating after 1870. On the other hand, the most recent ceramics present in this context’s assemblage are late, polychrome underglaze transfer-printed whitewares, dating to the period 1850-1880. Overglaze decal-decorated whiteware sherds and polychrome designs typical from the 1880s onwards are entirely missing from this assemblage, although highly evident in ethnographic museum collections and the middens of late 19th and early 20th century Icelandic turf houses around the Borgarfjörður region (personal observations at Hólakot, StóriÁs, Síðu-Múli, and elsewhere). Similarly, the relative infrequency of earlier rim finishes and pontil forms in

Context 002/003s glass assemblage suggests that the midden layers in question were formed earlier than circa 1860. Considering all of these factors, a deposition date of 1860-1880 seems entirely warranted for this layer. This raises significant questions about the nature of the ceramic assemblage and the significant portions of it that date to the earlier half of the 19th century and even the 18th century, long before the inferred period of Context 002/003’s deposition. What does it mean that so many items deposited here were half-a-century old or older at the time of their disposal? Was this a time of hardship in which existing but antique table furnishings were used until they were broken and unusable? Or had imported tableware become so cheap and easily accessible by the third quarter of the 19th century that households like Gilsbakki could afford to discard old and unfashionable dishes, plates, and cups and to replace them with trendier items that were still in use when deposition stopped in Context 002/003? Or might the explanation be far more personal? Could this ensemble of old pearlware and early forms of whiteware, discarded over the 1860s and 1870s, reflect the return of Sér Jón Hjörtsson to his natal farm of Gilsbakki in 1860 or the arrival at Gilsbakki of one of his three sequential wives and decisions they made – whether to clean house or to prepare the estate to entertain guests in style by ridding it of earlier housekeepers’ possessions? After all, both William Morris and Elizabeth Oswald, writing in the 1870s, reflected independently on the hospitality of Sér Jón’s household, his penchant for bringing guests into his well-furnished parlor for discussion, and his wives’

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efforts to serve their guests with a unexpected style and level of abundance calculated to leave an impression other than poverty or want. Or might it reflect new opportunities linked to the emergence of Reykjavík as not just a trading center but also a center of emerging national culture and education. According to the census of 1870, three of Sér Jón’s sons, Þorvaldur Jónsson (age 22), Árni Jónsson (19), and Grímur Jónas Jónsson (15) were enrolled as students at schools in Reykjavík (http://www.skjalasafn.is/manntol/index. php?c=1&cmd=skoda&offset=50&lan=is), suggesting that Sér Jón and his family may have had far more exposure to the “civilized” life of the emerging city and more opportunities to bring new fashions and new ideas back to Gilsbakki. In the same regard, the cessation of midden deposition on the homefield after Context 002/003 accumulated raises its own questions, given that middens had accumulated on this same location for nearly 1000 years before the 1880s. Is it possible that Sér Jón’s successor at the site, Sér Andréas Magnússon, brought with him new concepts of hygiene and visual cleanliness to match the earnestness with which his household was marked by Bisiker and within which a hillside strewn with household waste, just outside the doors of his house, might have seemed incongruous? Sigfús Eymundsson’s photograph (Figure 3) of Gilsbakki, circa 1881, certainly suggests that the area immediately in front of the parsonage was kept neat and clean during Sér Andréas’ tenure, but, if so, where was Gilsbakki’s trash dumped after 1880? And what were the ideological underpinnings of this change in attitude, if such it was, and was it idiosyncratically linked to one household

or part of a change in Icelandic society in the late 19th century? As with the implications of field flattening in Context 001, the patterns of consumption evident in Context 002/003 and the changes in deposition patterns that mark its end suggest significant transformations in the relationships between the people of Gilsbakki and their immediate built and managed environments. Masked within the archaeological record of relatively mundane-seeming artifact distributions and disposal patterns, these shifts suggest important transformations in the patterns and processes of daily life that are worthy of both additional on-site investigations and comparative analyses. Context 004 Context 004 was the designation given to a fairly thin, compact, and relatively sterile layer of orange brown turf bits and turf fragments that was found immediately beneath Context 002/003 in the northern end of Trench 1 (X120-121/Y114-115). A similar matrix, with a nearly identical incorporated assemblage, was encountered almost immediately beneath the rooted sod in X120-121/Y111-112 and directly beneath the sod in X120-121/Y110-112 at the southern end of the trench. Because the intervening units (X120-121/Y112-114) were not excavated fully to the base of Context 002/003 it cannot be stated with complete confidence that the turf layers seen in the northern and southern ends of the trench represent the same stratum, yet their comparable elevations, composition, and specific assemblage contents strongly argue that they are and, for now, these deposits at both ends are considered to be Context 004. Approximately 0.10 m3 of

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sediment from this context was excavated in X120-121/Y114-115, with another 0.10 m3 excavated in X120-121/Y110112. Context 004 appears to represent a demolition horizon, formed by the demolition of one or more turf buildings or walls, presumably uphill, and relocation of the turf debris onto the slope below the construction/demolition site. As a demolition horizon, it is likely that this layer was deposited in its current location within the space of hours or days, rather than having accumulated over the space of years, or decades, as would be expected for the overlying and underlying midden layers. In theory ceramics, glass, and other objects incorporated within the demolition horizon could represent either relocated garbage from the floors and features of the demolished building or garbage thrown into and onto the relocated turf layer. Most likely, the assemblage associated with this, and other, demolition horizons represents a mixture of material transported from the site of the demolished building – and therefore referencing its period of occupation – and garbage thrown onto or ground into the surface of the relocated turf – representing the period of demolition. The most recent materials found within the assemblage might therefore be expected to help date the demolition and construction episode represented by the turf horizon, while earlier materials within the turf provide some sense of the span of time during which the demolished structure had been in use. As might be expected from a horizon representing demolition and the relocation of wall and roof turf rather than a midden
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or occupation surface, the assemblage from Context 004 was small in both size and diversity. The faunal assemblage from Context 004, in contrast to that from overlying deposits, was dominated by unburned ovicaprid or medium mammal bones most likely from ovicaprids (n = 19) with one Bos maxilla fragment and three fish bones. There were, in contrast, just nine burned bone fragments, too small to assign to taxon. Only one unburned sheep’s mandible was available for age estimation: at Payne’s stage G, it represented an old animal, 4-6 years of age. The ceramic and glass assemblages from Context 004 were similarly limited in extent and diversity. Twenty fragments of glass, primarily from green and brown beverage bottles, were recovered from the two ends of Trench 1, along with five fragments of light green, light bluishgreen, and clear window glass, and two fragments of a blue ribbed mold-blown vessel, perhaps a flask or vase. One of these latter two pieces was recovered from the southern end of the trench and the other came from the northernmost portion, reinforcing the conclusion that the turf deposits at each end of the trench represent the same context. None of these glass fragments had any temporally or functionally diagnostic manufacturing or stylistic traits. The twenty-one ceramic sherds from Context 004 were nearly evenly balanced between members of the whiteware (n = 9) and pearlware (n = 11) families, with a small majority of the earlier pearlware types. Represented within this assemblage were one sherd of blueslipped whiteware (1820-1840) and eight

sherds of undecorated whiteware (ca. 1820-1920), one piece of annular banded pearlware (ca. 1800-1830), five pieces of later transfer-printed pearlware (red/green/black, ca. 1820-1840), and five pieces of plain undecorated pearlware (ca. 1780-1840). In addition to these, one fragment of ironstone (ca. 1810-1920) was also recovered.2 The mean ceramic date calculated for this assemblage is 1842, while the bracketed period of maximum overlap for the production dates of the ceramic types in the context is 1810-1840. The estimated initiation date for deposition of Context 002/003, circa 1860 and the compacted condition of Context 004 suggest that this layer of turf may have weathered in place for some years before midden deposition began again at this location. Given the early-tomid-19th century implications of its whiteware-to-pearlware ratio, it seems likely that the demolition event represented by Context 004 took place sometime after 1840, perhaps circa 18501860. The sherds incorporated within Context 004 most likely represent a combination of post-demolition deposition onto this turfy surface and debris transported with the turf from the demolished house. In contrast to Context 002/003, where the mean ceramic date (1868) fell far outside the bracketed period of maximum overlap (1830-1850) for the ceramics in
2

Although several of the ceramic types present in this and other assemblages were produced well into the 20th century, I have ended their availability span, when calculating mean ceramic dates, at 1920, at which point deposition in this part of Gilsbakki seems to have ended. 45

its assemblage, the mean ceramic date for Context 004 (1842) is relatively tightly linked to its bracketed period of maximum overlap. This suggests that the assemblage from Context 004 incorporates relatively few sherds that had been in use for an exceptionally long time and were effectively antiques or heirlooms when they were broken and discarded. The most parsimonious explanation for this patterning may be that ceramics were relatively scarce at Gilsbakki during the second quarter of the 19th century and were being used and broken at rates nearly equal to their replacement costs. This might suggest that the household had little incentive to discard older or unfashionable ceramics and relatively few resources to replace them in bulk quantities. Alternative explanations are, of course, possible. Older ceramics might have been considered more valuable and have been used with greater care, leading to lower breakage and discard rates than newer, cheaper plates and vessels that were considered more disposable and entered the discard stream more frequently. Perhaps if we knew more about the priest Magnús Sigurðsson and his household, who occupied the farm from 1844-1858, when this episode of demolition and rebuilding took place, we would also find answers in his approach to running the estate. The remainder of the assemblage from Context 004 is equally small: two machine cut and one hand-wrought nails reflect the use of both imported and homemade nails in construction and carpentry projects, while a broken hone of imported Eidsborg (Norwegian) schist (Þjms 2008-34-028) and a fragment of a kaolin pipe stem reflect the use of

imported goods for both traditional and introduced personal needs. It is worth noting, in fact, that imported goods dominate this assemblage, accounting for just 1 out of 47 objects (2%) recovered from this context, clearly contradicting early travelers’ conviction that Icelandic farms and farmers were distanced from the globalizing world beyond their shores. Context 005 Context 005 was a thin, compact, ashy midden layer, 8-11 cm thick, exposed only in X120-121/Y114-115, where it was clear that it had been deposited on a surface sloping rather steeply toward the southeast. At base, Context 005 was separated from the underlying Contexts 006A and 006B by a thin, continuous layer of windblown charcoal, peat ash, and silt but otherwise resembled Context 005 in many ways, raising the possibility that these Contexts may have been sequential episodes in the formation of a complex midden sequence, developed over a considerable period of time. As with other midden layers, Context 005 was relatively rich in both faunal remains and material culture, with 212 faunal elements and 103 glass, ceramic, iron, non-ferrous metal, and stone items recovered from just 0.06 m3 of sediment. The faunal assemblage from Context 005 included 99 unburned bones, primarily ovicaprid or unidentified medium mammal, but with two Bos elements, 5 fish bones, and 2 bird bones, unidentified to taxon, as well. Only one sheep mandible was available for age estimation and represented a 6-8 year old

animal (Payne’s Stage H), which, although an insufficient sample size for reasonable characterization, is consistent with returns from overlying strata. In addition, 110 burned bone fragments, and 3 ovicaprid teeth were recovered from this midden layer. Twenty-five fragments of glass were recovered from Context 005, including one green glass medicine bottle neck with a self-formed, wide-flanged lip and faint mold seams reaching to the base of the neck. This item is generally consistent with glassware datable to the period 1820-1850. Among the other glass recovered from this context were seven clear window glass fragments and seven light green, nearly flat glass fragments that could have come either from crown glass window panes or case bottle side panels. Unfortunately, each of these light green fragments was too small to estimate the original shape or curvature of the entire piece, making both the early window glass and the case bottle panel alternatives equally viable. Green, brown, and green-blue bottle fragments completed the glass assemblage. Like Context 004, the ceramic assemblage from Context 005 was dominated by styles from the whiteware and pearlware “families” with the ratio of whiteware to pearlware (1.0 : 1.9) significantly skewed towards the earlier pearlware types, implying an early 19th century age for the deposit. The ceramics recovered from Context 005 included one piece of undecorated ironstone (1810-1920), one hand-painted, floral polychrome yellow-ware sherd (ca. 1830-1850), four monochrome transferprinted whiteware fragments (ca. 18301860), and seventeen pieces of
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undecorated whiteware (ca. 1820-1920). Pearlware types included eight sherds of undecorated pearlware with a later, hard paste body (ca. 1820-1840), two fragments from later, molded, blue feather-edged pearlware plates (ca. 18201840), two sherds of pearlware with underglaze painted, embossed designs in light green and blue (ca. 1800-1830), two sherds of annular banded pearlware (ca. 1800-1830), four early blue and purple transfer-printed pearlware sherds (ca. 1794-1820), one piece of pearlware with underglaze blue painted designs (ca. 1780-1820), and twenty-one sherds of undecorated, early, soft-paste pearlware (ca. 1780-1820). The mean ceramic date for this assemblage is 1838, with a maximum period of overlap among its ceramic types spanning the period 1810-1840. These estimates for the period over which the ceramics were acquired are sufficiently close to the MCD for Context 004 to suggest that Context 005 probably represents the midden that was associated with the structure that was torn down, ca. 1850, and spread over Context 005. A relatively short period of time between the acquisition of the bulk of the ceramics and their discard is suggested, with most having been in circulation for a less than a generation. Gross similarities in both the glass and ceramic assemblages in Contexts 004 and 005 support the hypothesis that their ceramic assemblages are related. As might be expected, the nonglass/ceramic assemblage from the midden layers of Context 005 were more diverse and richer than the debris of comparable age spread over the midden when its associated structures were razed.
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This assemblage included one possible iron kettle fragment (Þjms 2008-34-066), one iron carding comb tooth (Þjms 200834-067), one iron or steel three-tined fork (Þjms 2008-34-075), two machine-cut iron nails (Þjms 2008-34-069), seven hand-wrought iron nails (Þjms 2008-34068), three undifferentiated iron shaft fragments, perhaps nail mid-shaft fragments (Þjms 2008-34-070), nine large lumps of dense smithing slag, including smithing hearth base (SHB) fragments (Þjms 2008-34-071), a copper alloy strip with narrow straight-line decoration chased on one surface (Þjms 2008-34-072), one large copper alloy coat or cuff button with a single loop attachment point on the back and concentric lines encircling the outer face (Þjms 2008-34-074), and an Eidsborg schist whetstone fragment. Just twenty (19.4%) of Context 005’s 103 items of material culture were manufactured from Icelandic raw materials and if slag is removed from that total, then only 12.8% of the objects from Context 005 appear to have been Icelandic projects. While the percentage of internally produced Icelandic objects in this assemblage is considerably higher than the comparable figure for Context 004, both contexts indicate that rural Icelanders were dependent on foreign goods for domestic uses during the second quarter of the 19th century at Gilbakki. Fully 88-98% of the objects recovered from these two contexts were obtained, directly or indirectly, through international trade.

Context 006 Context 006 was a 12 cm thick layer of turfy midden-like material in which two sublayers could be differentiated in the field. Context 006A, the upper portion of the layer, was medium-to-dark brown in color, loosely compacted, with flecks and lenses of orange-brown oxidized turf throughout and scattered charcoal flecks. Context 006B, the lower portion of the layer, was far more compact, light graybrown in color and heavily compacted. Layer 006A accumulated on the surface of a thick, compact demolition layer of turf fragments and turf bits (007) that sloped downwards to the southwest. As it accumulated, Context 006A filled this low-lying decline and reversed the slope of the hillside in this location. The upper surface of Context 006, as a result, sloped downward to the southeast, with the thickest portion of Context 006’s deposits on the western side of Trench 1 and the thinnest part to the northeast. Context 006 was separated from Context 005 by a thin, dark black layer of wind-blown charcoal, ash, and silt, which extended across the northern end of Trench 1. It is possible that there was little if any gap in time between the deposition of midden layers at the top of Context 006 and at the bottom of Context 005 and that all of these contexts are merely layers and sub-layers in a midden that accumulated over a considerable period of time. While the two sub-layers of Context 006 were quite evident in profile, they intergraded on excavation. As a result, finds from Context 006 were not subdivided in the field into material from 006A and 006B and the assemblage, as it

exists, is a composite of both sublayers’ contents. Context 006 produced a moderate assemblage of 63 faunal remains and 129 objects, more than half of which were production debris from iron-smithing. The faunal assemblage from Context 006 incorporated 27 unburned bones, 17 of which were either identifiable ovicaprid bones or indeterminate medium mammal bone fragments, 2 of which were cattle bones, and 8 of which were from fish. Thirty-three burned and calcined bone fragments produced no identifiable elements, but were primarily of size and thickness ranges to be assigned to the medium mammal group. Three ovicaprid bones completed the assemblage. No tooth rows sufficiently preserved to estimate age or condition were present. The material culture assemblage included on modified ovicaprid metapodial, with a series of six notches, in two near-parallel series of three notches on the posterior face of the distal end of the bone’s epiphysial suture. The bone shows light indications of wear, perhaps from handling, and it has been tentatively identified as a yarn spindle used in textile production. Only 16 fragments of glass were recovered from Context 006, of which less than half (n = 6) were identifiable as wine or beverage bottle pieces, in contrast to Contexts 002/003 through 005, in which bottle glass represented more than half the glass assemblage. Three, or perhaps four, fragments of flat glass appear to have come from broken windows, but three of these (all light green) had just enough asymmetry in cross section to question whether they
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represented fragments from crown glass panes or sherds from the panels of case bottles. Six of the sixteen pieces of glass recovered from Context 006 came from more decorative vessels. Three were from at least two different clear glass, patternmolded or blown-in-mold bottles, flasks, or vases. One was from a mold-blown, nob-surfaced, purple glass vessel – perhaps a bowl or vase, and another, of light green glass, was intricately painted on its exterior surface with polychrome floral designs. Finally, a fragment of clear twisted glass with interior rods of purple and red glass providing contrasting colors may have represent the handle, or a stem, of a larger, decorative vessel of unknown design. No other excavated context at Gilsbakki has produced so many sherds of decorative glassware compared to fragments from more utilitarian, undecorated vessels. The ceramic assemblage was relatively small but included older styles of refined white earthenware, as well as redware and stoneware. The refined white earthenware component of Context 006’s ceramic assemblage included one fragment of red transfer-printed whiteware (1830-1850). Unfortunately, this was recovered from the screens and it is impossible to know whether it was recovered from Context 006 or could have fallen in from higher levels in the profile. If it does belong in Context 006, it is the youngest element in the assemblage and implies that deposition continued in Context 006 until at least 1830, when red transfer printing was first developed in England. The other ceramics from Context 006 are consistently earlier than this one
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sherd. One is cobalt-blue transfer-printed pearlware sherd (1795-1830), three are fragments of embossed and underglaze painted pearlware (ca. 1800-1830), and six are undecorated fragments of pearlware vessels, including fragments of tankards or “apothecaries’ jars”. The ratio of whiteware to pearlware in this context (1: 10) is consistent with an assemblage produced in the first three decades of the 19th century. However, in addition to whiteware and pearlware, Context 006 also produced five sherds of creamware, one of which was undecorated (17621820) and four of which were decorated with simple, black underglaze transfer prints (ca. 1780-1820). The mean ceramic date for Context 006’s English import ceramics is 1815, if the single whiteware sherd is included, or ca. 1805 with it removed as a possibly intrusive element. The bracketed span of maximum overlap in the production periods for these ceramics spans the period 1780-1830, with the whiteware sherd, and 1780-1820 without it. Context 006 is the youngest context in Trench 1 that has a mean ceramic date (MCD) that falls near the middle of the estimated (bracketed) period in which the ceramics were produced. This implies that most of the plates and vessels discarded in Context 006 were relatively newly acquired when they were broken and that the household did not have a significant number of old, antique or “heirloom” vessels in use at the time the stratum was accumulating. The reason for this patterning stems most likely from a major shift in Danish trading policies. From 1602 until 1787, Icelandic trade with the outside world could only be legally undertaken through the agency of

Danish merchants and traders operating under license from the Danish crown. The precise mechanics of trade under the Danish state monopoly changed in its details over the 185 years of its operation, but throughout this period Icelanders were required to trade their goods only at regulated trading stations within their districts, for prices fixed by the state and the merchants. The goods available for purchase were, similarly, chosen by the state and its monopoly-licensed traders to maximize profits for Danish manufacturers and allies of the Danish state and to exclude the products of nations with whom the Danes had hostile relations. For most of this period, the monopoly was in place largely to exclude British merchants and English fishermen from trading directly with Iceland (Karlsson 2000: 138-143). The absence of older English ceramics with peak production periods prior to ca. 1780 in this and in other contexts at Gilsbakki is undoubtedly a reflection of the Danish trading policies in place until 1787, while the immediate surge of English ceramics entering the farm’s middens in the last decade of the 18th century and the first decades of the 19th indicates how rapidly Icelanders responded to the relaxation of Danish trading policies after 1787. The relatively large amount of pearlware that continued to be discarded at Gilsbakki through the end of the 19th century, in fact, suggests that households there must have stocked up on English ceramics almost as soon as they became available in Iceland. Pearlware was the newest and most fashionable of the refined English earthenware’s when the Danish trading monopoly was abolished.
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Its continued use throughout the 19th century at Gilsbakki, and the presence of repair holes on a number of fragments of pearlware in later 19th century contexts, suggests that pearlware may have retained a certain favored status in household contexts. If so, perhaps it was valued because it was the first of the white glazed imports to have been easily acquired or perhaps it was accorded social value because only wealthy households could afford English ceramics when the monopoly ended. Later forms of refined earthenware, such as whiteware and ironstone, may have been considered cheap substitutes available to anyone, while pearlware (easily recognizable from its bluish-white glaze) retained an aura of authenticity and class. In addition to English earthenwares, Context 006 produced one sherd of undecorated utilitarian redware, and one fragment of salt-glazed gray stoneware, perhaps from the Rhineland but potentially from other factories in northern Europe that produced similar wares in imitation of the German styles. The non-ceramic assemblage from Context 006 includes iron objects, debris from on-site forging, copper alloy objects and kaolin pipe fragments. Iron objects from Context 006 include nine handwrought nails (Þjms 2008-34-096) and three shaft fragments (Þjms 2008-34097), most likely from similar handforged nails, one U-shaped iron staple (Þjms 2008-34-098), two fragmentary iron strips or possibly blade fragments (Þjms 2008-34-099), and a medium-sized iron ring, of the diameter to fit a man’s thumb, but more likely from harness gear (Þjms 2008-34-108).

Seventy-one pieces of smithing slag (Þjms 2008-34-103), including more than a dozen complete and fragmentary smithing hearth bottoms, document an intense episode of on-site forging during the period represented by Context 006 and, to a lesser extent, Context 005. Nearly one-third of the slag fragments from Context 006 had black, vitrified surfaces, where they were exposed to extremely high temperatures beneath the tuyere, suggesting, perhaps, that a considerable amount of high-temperature welding was being done at Gilsbakki during the late 18th and early 19th century, in addition to common forge work. Whether this reflects a specific project undertaken around the start of the 19th century, the specialized skills and practices of an individual blacksmith, or a shift in fuel use at the forge is currently unknown. Non-ferrous metal items from Context 006 included a copper alloy furniture spring (Þjms 2008-34-100), suggesting that the farm owned at least one upholstered chair or similar item, a copper alloy button with a degraded glass(?) bead for its top (Þjms 2008-34101), one copper alloy cuff button (Þjms 2008-34-105) and a thin copper alloy ring that may be part of another cuff button of similar form (Þjms 2008-34-107), a copper alloy kettle fragment (Þjms 200834-102), and a thorn-like object made from wrapped copper alloy sheet metal, perhaps a crude stylus (Þjms 2008-34106). Finally, two undecorated kaolin pipe fragments, one a mouthpiece and the other a medial fragment, were recovered from this layer. In size and diversity, Context 006’s midden is comparable to others at
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Gilsbakki, but the proportion of imported objects and objects made from imported raw materials, such as copper alloy, is lower in Context 006 than in more recent layers. If slag is counted as a production residue rather than being tallied among the objects, non-Icelandic materials account for 72.4% of the assemblage, compared with 88% for Context 005, 98% for Context 004, and 87.2% for Context 002/003. Context 007 Context 007 was a thick and compact layer of turf fragments and fragmentary turf blocks, clearly representing a demolition horizon of considerable scale. In X120-121/Y114-115, this layer ranged in thickness from 21-30 cm, averaging 26 cm thick. Given its compaction, it is clear that the layer must have been 40 cm thick, or more, when first deposited. This turf deposit was laid down on top of a sloping surface from Context 008 that dipped down to the south and west and maintained this contouring, capping the underlying deposits. Approximately 0.23 m3 of Context 007 was excavated in 2008. Like other turf demolition layers sampled at Gilsbakki, Context 007 produced a limited and relatively unremarkable assemblage. Only 10 faunal remains and 74 objects, of which more than half were smithing slag, were recovered from this deposit. The faunal assemblage included five ovicaprid bones and medium mammal bone fragments, without any identifiable Bos, large mammal, bird, or fish remains. Five unidentifiable burned bone fragments were also recovered.

The material culture assemblage was also small but included several significant objects and appears to reflect a turning point in the structure and composition of assemblages at Gilsbakki. Just one piece of glass, from a green bottle, perhaps once holding wine, was recovered from Context 007. This continues a trend of decreasing glass within assemblages with depth and was the oldest glass recovered from Trench 1. Only five ceramic sherds were recovered from Context 007. These included one fragment of early, cobaltblue transfer-printed pearlware (17951830), one piece of undecorated pearlware (ca. 1780-1830), and one piece of undecorated creamware (1762-1820), yielding a mean ceramic date for the assemblage of 1802, with maximum overlap for the English types represented from 1780-1820. As noted for Context 006, the placement of the calculated MCD near the midpoint of the production bracket suggests that the ceramics discarded in Context 007 were relatively newly acquired and were not elements of an assemblage containing abundant heirloom or antique items. The similarity of the mean ceramic dates for Contexts 006 and 007 (1815 and 1802, respectively) suggest that the estimated age for Context 007 may reflect the period of demolition, rather than the period when the razed structure was occupied, and that Context 006 represents midden dumping that took place relatively rapidly after this demolition episode In addition to the three fragments of English creamware and pearlware, Context 007 also produced one fragment of mottled gray salt-glazed stoneware,
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perhaps Rhenish or Danish in origin. Unexpectedly, Context 007 also produced a single, small fragment of Chinese blue on white underglaze painted porcelain. Although the fragment is too small to determine the pattern and style represented, the quality of the blue paint used and the extreme thinness of the sherd suggest that this was a very fine, example of early Ch’ing Dynasty (16441912) porcelain, rather than one of the later, mass-produced export wares, but any real conclusions about its age or style will require the recovery of additional refitting pieces. Fragments of similar porcelain were recovered from 17th and mid-18th century contexts at Bessastaðir and perhaps from the 17th-18th century passage farm ruins at Reykholt (Sveinbjarnardóttir 1996). Such vessels most likely reached Iceland via Danish or Dutch traders, working under Danish license, having been exported from China in quantities by Dutch East India traders. In addition to ceramics and glass, Context 007 produced six hand-wrought and three machine-cut nails, one unidentifiable fragment of iron hardware, and 41 pieces of smithing slag (Þjms 2008-34-119) similar in color, vitrification, and form to that recovered from the overlying Context 006, one black obsidian fire-starter fragment, two jasper fire-starter spalls, and one twist of birch bark, originally thought to be basketry but more likely representing kindling for starting fires. Rather unexpectedly, Context 007 produced twelve extremely wellpreserved pieces of woolen textile (Þjms 2008-34-120). These included ten fragments of homespun cloth (vaðmál) in various weaves, one fragment of three-ply yarn, and one clump of

unwoven, carded wool, perhaps left over from spinning. These and other textiles from Gilsbakki are being studied by Michèle Hayeur Smith and Margaret Orodonez and will be the subject of a subsequent report. The preservation of these textiles, their absence from immediately overlying deposits, and the presence of others in Context 008 can almost certainly be attributed to the dense, compact, clayey nature of Context 007 itself. As a relatively impervious deposit, this blanket of consolidated turf served to seal water in and keep oxygen out of its matrix and waterlogged underlying deposits, providing a stable, anerobic setting conducive to textile preservation. Imported objects of material culture, including objects manufactured from non-Icelandic raw materials, comprised just 8% of the total material culture assemblage. If slag is removed from this corpus, as an element of manufacturing debris rather than representing finished objects, the percentage of imported objects rises to 20% of the material culture assemblage. If the textiles are removed from Context 007’s assemblage as organic objects not well preserved in other deposits, the percentage of imported goods within the assemblage rises to 33%. Yet, under any of these considerations, imported objects constitute a far smaller portion of the total assemblage in Context 007 than in any overlying layers. In summary, Context 007 marks the demolition of a large building or building complex around 1800. The presence of a sherd of early transferprinted pearlware in the deposit suggests that this demolition event took place no earlier than 1795, around the time that Sér Hjörtur Jónsson took over the parsonage in 1806 or during the short-

lived tenure of his predecessor, Eggert Guðmundsson. It seems quite likely, therefore, that Context 007 represents the demolition of the 17th-18th century farmhouse at Gilsbakki, and its replacement with a house built in what would have been the most “modern”, compact, and symmetrical style – the burstabær (Ólafsson, 1983) with characteristic front-facing wooden gables, upper story lofts, cellars, and other modern conveniences. This was the house photographed at the end of the 19th century by Eymund Jónsson (Figure 3) and described by William Morris, Elizabeth Oswald and others, when it was occupied by Hjörtur Jónsson´s descendants. Context 008 Context 008 remains rather ambiguous, even after excavation. Its color, contents, and structure differentiated it from both midden deposits and turf demolition horizons at Gilsbakki, yet provided no clear clues regarding its formation history or processes. Context 008 was a thick (0.30 meter), dark brown, organic-rich, silty layer with scattered charcoal fragments and occasional turf-like lenses. In its lower half angular fragments of basalt were irregularly scattered through the deposit. Few of these showed signs of having been used in cooking fires or otherwise modified. Birch twigs and leaves were present, as well, within this deposit, increasingly toward its base but ash, charcoal, bones and burned bones – signatures of later midden layers at the site – were absent. Based on its color, content, and composition, it is possible that Context
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008 represents debris, manure, and sweepings from animal stalls, or sweepouts from a part of the house that was distant from hearths, kitchens or forges. It is also possible that it represents a soil horizon that developed slowly over a very long period of time in a period when middens were being developed elsewhere on the site. For now, Context 008’s origins remain somewhat mysterious. Only one burned bone most likely from a medium-sized mammal, was recovered from this Context 008. Several patches of “butter bone” – decayed bone too decalcified to recover or to record accurately – were observed within Context 008 but in insufficient amounts for this to have been a midden. The material culture assemblage also marks a complete break from that of overlying deposits. Context 008 yielded neither ceramics nor glass. It produced neither kaolin pipe stems nor machine-cut nails, nor any of the other elements of the globalized world system of the late 18th and early 19th century. Context 008 yielded one handwrought iron nail (Þjms 2008-34-126), a bipointed iron awl (Þjms 2008-34-127), a narrow iron strip of unknown function (Þjms 2008-34-128) and a suite of heavily corroded and encrusted iron objects, the majority of which may well be additional hand-wrought nails from their size and general form. Context 008 also produced one slag smithing hearth bottom without the extreme black vitrification seen on similar smithing hearth bases from Contexts 006 and 007. Context 008 also produced a relatively rich assemblage of organic and inorganic dress-related items, including seven textile fragments (Þjms 2008-3454

133), among which were three pieces of vaðmal, two tablet-woven bands, one unspun, combed wool clump, two stitched leather fragments from traditional Icelandic shoes, one sole from a stitched, welted shoe (Þjms 2008-34134), and an undecorated, riveted copper alloy strap end, perhaps from harness gear, that may have been locally produced rather than imported (Þjms 2008-34-135). None of the objects recovered from Context 008 were necessarily imported from outside of Iceland. Although the raw material for the strap end was clearly brought to Iceland at some point, it could have been made in Iceland from recycled copper alloy objects and scrap, rather than having to have been acquired from a distant source. The riveting and the finish on the object suggest a utilitarian function and manufacture and repair by someone sufficiently skilled to work copper alloy but not to do it elegantly. In this regard, it should be noted that a smithing hearth bottom with a copper oxide lump embedded in its slag matrix was recovered from penecontemporaneous deposits (Context 004) in Trench 2 (Þjms 2008-34-428), which implies that nonferrous as well as ferrous metalwork was being done in its forge. Similarly, the welted shoe sole from Context 008 could have been from a shoe acquired abroad or manufactured in Iceland to mimic European styles. Clearly its wearer wished to be seen wearing the latest in European fashion, yet keeping up with fashion required ingenuity to maintain aging footwear – in this case by cutting a birchbark insole to lengthen the use-life of a boot or shoe that had clearly been worn until it was worn out.

None of the objects recovered from Context 008 provide obvious clues to its deposit. However, the absence of ceramics, glass, and cut nails suggests that Context 008 predates the last decades of the 18th century. Yet, given the small size of the assemblage, the absence of these items could be a statistical product of the small area excavated or the kinds of trash thrown here. From a stratigraphic perspective, if Context 007 was formed circa 1790-1810 and Context 010 dates to the 16th century (see below), Contexts 008 and 009 must have formed in the interval 1600-1790, with Context 008 occupying the latter part of that span. How much depends on the formation processes that led to the creation of these two deposits, and as noted above, those processes remain somewhat unclear at the present time. Accordingly, for now the span of time represented by Contexts 008 and 009 have been roughly estimated by dividing this interval equally among them to suggest that Context 008 equates roughly with the 18th century, and Context 009 with the 17th. Context 009 Context 009 graded visually into Context 008 at its upper, irregular contact and was differentiated from Context 008 primarily by an increased organic component and somewhat more evidence of ash and charcoal throughout. The irregular accumulation of stones seen at the base of Context 008 continued into Context 009, although with a slight break of several centimeters silt between accumulations. It was difficult, given the small area excavated, to determine whether these were separate and

sequential dumps of angular rock or whether the apparent break between them is just a lens within a larger and coherent context. Context 009 may well be the lower portion of Context 008, yet the increased amounts of organic material within it, including well-preserved birch twigs and bark fragments, ash lenses, charcoal, etc. suggest sufficient differences in content to recommend its retention as a separate context until that hypothesis can be verified or rejected through further excavation. Context 009 was 0.10 meter thick, with 0.10 m3 excavated. Like Context 008, Context 009 produced a small and non-diverse assemblage that included no ceramics, no glass, no non-ferrous metals, and only one unidentifiable corroded lump of iron oxide that may have once been a nail or nail fragment. A single smithing hearth bottom, similar in overall appearance to that from Context 008 rounded out the

Figure 13: Smithing hearth bottom, upper face, from Context 10, Trench 1 (Þjms 2008-34-138). 55

evidence for metalworking in this context. A fragmentary stone sledge hammer (Þjms 2008-34-136) was the only other consciously formed inorganic object from the deposit. Sledge hammers like this were used for many purposes in Iceland, but are most commonly associated with pounding dried cod to loosen it up and flake it preparatory to eating, either as dried fish or in stews. In addition to this object, Context 009 produced one unmodified lump of chalcedony, naturally formed but carried to the site for unknown purposes. Context 010 Context 010 was a thick (25 centimeter), compact, dark orange brown layer of turf fragments and fragmentary turf blocks with flecks of ash and charcoal incorporated throughout. In color and texture it suggests a demolition horizon representing wall, roof, and potentially also floor deposits from a house or structure torn down somewhere in the farm’s core. However, this deposit also contained abundant flat, thin, subangular basalt slabs (on average 10-15 cm long, 10 cm wide and 2 cm thick) similar to those scattered throughout Contexts 008 and 009. Whether these represent parts of a continuous and penecontemporaneous deposit, or a phase in site use over which such flat basalt slabs had a recurrent use leading to their constant discard in noncontemporaneous, sequential deposits is currently impossible to determine. However, the span of time apparently covered by Contexts 008, 009, and 010 – roughly two centuries – suggests the latter interpretation more than the former.

Alternatively, if Contexts 008, 009, and 010 are roughly contemporary deposits linked through this accumulation of stones and formed over a relatively short period of time, then we must assume that there was relatively little deposition in the area of Trench 1 between the 16th century (Context 010) and the late 18th century, when Context 007 was created, or that any deposits that had formed in this area during the 17th century and most of the 18th century were removed from this location for unknown reasons, creating a currently unrecognized depositional hiatus. Context 010 contained very little organic content and few if any birch twigs or leaves. Like Context 009 (and 008) it produced very few inorganic objects, no faunal remains, and two very well preserved textile fragments. This assemblage included one extremely corroded iron oxide lump that may once have been a nail or similarsized iron object, but which is currently unidentifiable in form or function. A single, classic smithing hearth bottom (Þjms 2008-34-138, Figure 12), similar in size and form to that from Context 008, was the only other evidence found for metalworking in this deposit. One nearly spheroidal basalt stone appeared to have been naturally formed but carried to the site for unknown purposes and a small fragment of pumice had one flattened side and two narrow grooves indicating that it had been used for sanding and/or polishing wood or bone objects. Aside from these objects, the only other finds from Context 010 were two pieces of woolen textile. One was a relatively small scrap of homespun vaðmal, while the other Þjms 2008-3456

143) was a fragmentary collar from a cloak in quite excellent condition. A small fragment of wool (40 mg) hanging loosely from this collar was submitted to the University of Arizona’s AMS dating facility and returned an uncalibrated radiocarbon age (AA83188) of 345±48 bp, with a d13C value of 23.2, which calibrates to calAD 14801632 at one sigma, with a 62.3% internal probability (42.5% total probability) that the actual age for the sample falls in the interval calAD 1555-1632 and a 37.4% internal probability (24.4% total probability) that it falls within the bracket of calAD 1480-1526. At two standard deviations (95.4% total probability), the sample’s age falls within the interval calAD 1454-1642. At the most conservative level, then, this collar – and by implication Context 010 – falls within in interval spanning the late 15th through early 17th century, with the late 16th-early 17th century (calAD 1555-1632) being the most likely interval within that range for the age of the collar and Context 010. Additional chronometric data from Context 010 includes a tephra layer, less than 3mm thick, observed within a turf block on the eastern profile of Trench 1. A sample of this layer, recovered in the field, was examined subsequently by Magnús Sigurgeirsson (ÍSOR), who identified it as a basaltic hydromagmatic tephra, light brownish in color, for which the most likely candidate in the Borgarfjörður district would be the Medieval Tephra layer, dated to 1226 AD (personal communication, Magnús Sigurgeirsson to Kevin Smith, Feb. 13, 2009). The Medieval Tephra layer has been observed to the west of Gilsbakki near Bær, at Hurðarbakki, and at Skógarnes but has been reported neither in the intervening region of

Reykholtsdalur nor to the east on the Hallmundarhraun (Jóhannesson, 1989; Sigurgeirsson, 1995, 1999, 2008). If this identification is correct, it implies that the structure demolished in the late 16th century and redeposited here as Context 010 was built sometime after AD 1226, but perhaps not much later than AD 1300-1325, since frost heaving and root action disperses tephra layers within the soil column relatively quickly and this layer was evident as a quite coherent horizon within the turf block. Tentatively, it can be concluded that Context 010 represents the demolition of a turf structure, or part of one, most likely in the late 16th century, and that the structure razed at that time may have been quite old, incorporating turf blocks unlikely to have been cut much later than 1300-1325. Context 011 Context 011, the deepest context sampled in 2008, was only partially excavated before the field season ended and was unlike any other deposit encountered at the site. Context 011 was a greenish-gray, compact, homogenous silty sand layer with charcoal flecks and fragments throughout. While only the top 10 cm of this deposit was excavated in 2008, coring shows that it is actually quite thick – up to 20 cm, homogeneous throughout and superimposed upon deeper cultural layers, with a possible floor layer immediately beneath this consolidated sandy cap. Unlike any other deposits in Trench 1, Context 011 had a nearly level upper surface and a consolidated, compact texture from which the overlying turf of Context 009 peeled cleanly.

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Neither objects nor faunal remains were recovered from Context 011. Clearly not a midden deposit, nor a demolition horizon, the interpretation of Context 011 remains uncertain. It is largely dissimilar to “typical” deposits encountered on Icelandic sites. The greenish gray silty sand that forms the matrix for this layer most likely have originated in the sandy deposits that form along fast rivers draining the highlands, in particular the Hvítá, which rushes past Gilsbakki, 1.5 kilometers to the south. Similar sandy deposits, however, are also found across the lowlands of Hvítársíða and Hálsasveit, at elevations of 100-110 m AMSL, in early relict marine terraces formed 9,00010,000 years ago during the maximum Early Holocene marine transgression, when the inner ends of the valleys of the Hvítá and Reykjadalsá were the inner ends of fjörds radiating inland from Borgarfjörður. Small pockets of similar sand and gravel may be present at higher elevations, where they formed as outwash deposits (sandur) during Late Pleistocene glacial advances and deglaciation phases. One sand and fine gravel deposit of this sort was intersected by Core 9, 120 cm below the current ground surface, beneath the deepest cultural deposits observed in that core. Context 011 seems likely, therefore, to be a consciously constructed and wellprepared surface manufactured from sand and gravel deposits that were either carried up from the bed or flanks of the Hvítá river, quarried from depths beneath the surface of the site at Gilsbakki, or transported from areas of active erosion at an unknown distance from the site where these basal sand and gravel deposits could have been quarried

easily. Each of these scenarios involves considerable effort and labor to move heavy sediment over some distance and to redeposit and consolidate it in its new location. Given this deposit’s flat upper surface, compaction, thickness, and its evident homogeneity, it seems possible that Context 011 was an intentionally prepared floor or an exterior terrace or walkway, but if so it would have been something quite different from typical Icelandic constructions. The total absence of bones or artifacts within this surface, in contrast to the charcoal mixed into it, suggests that this may have been a surface on which people walked and trampled loose sediment, but perhaps also one that was regularly swept and maintained to prevent it from becoming irregular or visibly embedded with trash. Lying beneath Context 010, Context 011 most likely dates to the 15th century, if not earlier, and remains an enigma. Basal deposits When excavations were brought to an end in Trench 1 on 16 July 2008, Context 011 was only partially excavated. Two cores were driven through it, one adjacent to the northern wall of Trench 1 and the other near the eastern profile. These produced consistent results, indicating that 10-12 more centimeters of Context 011 remain unexcavated in X120121/Y114-115, beneath which is a darkgray to black compact silty cultural layer with abundant charcoal flecks and burned bone fragments. This deposit appears quite similar to floor layers seen at other sites. Beneath this, 1.80 meters beneath the surface, is another turf demolition layer
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15-20 cm thick, overlying one, or perhaps two superimposed, compact, charcoalrich, cultural layers from 1.93-2.03 meters beneath the surface. This cultural layer, perhaps a floor or a consolidated activity surface, is a thick, brown silty layer without evident cultural inclusions, from 2.03-2.20 meters beneath the surface. This overlies, in turn, another layer of silt with possible turf inclusions that extends to 2.37 meters below the surface and lies above sterile orangebrown silt. Cultural deposits at Gilsbakki along the line of Trench 1 therefore appear to extend at least 2.03 meters beneath the current surface and perhaps as much as 2.37 meters. Coring suggests that these deposits include at least one, and possibly two, more cycles of building, occupation, and demolition beneath the presumed 15th century deposits represented by Context 011.

Trench 2
Trench 1 was placed in the center of the field between the churchyard and the 20th century houses in a location that would cross-cut several different types of features that showed up recurrently on the Electromagnetic survey. These included extensive, coterminous high-response, inphase areas (red to purple on Figure 11), moderate-response linear features, arranged in cells or grid-like matrices (green and dark green on Figure 11) and medium-to-high, in-phase features that mirrored or cross-cut the orientation of the “green” linear moderate-response features. These medium-to-high response areas appear primarily yellow to orange/red on Figure 11.

Our preliminary hypotheses, based on the spatial arrangement of the EM features, initial results from coring, and a knowledge of both ethnographically and archaeologically documented Icelandic turf structures were that the “light greento-green”, moderate-response in-phase signatures marked buried walls from turf structures, that the coterminous highresponse features represented iron-rich middens, and that the yellow-to-red linear features mirroring and cross-cutting the potential walls might represent stone features, pavements, wall facings, and/or hearths associated with the suggested, buried structures. Trench 2 was placed to intersect each of these three signatures. At its southern end, Trench 2 overlapped the northwestern end of a massive highresponse zone, thought to indicate the presence of midden deposits. Near its northern end, Trench 2 crossed one of the linear green features thought potentially to represent turf walls with yellow-orange highlights hypothesized to indicate the presence of stones or burned features producing higher response. At its northern end, Trench 2 extended into a linear band of medium-to-high (yellow/orange) response that extended between two east-west trending “wall”like features. This bore a distinct resemblance, in combination with the wall-like signatures, to the stone-lined passageways separating turf-walled rooms in the 14th century farm Gröf (Gestsson 1959), the 15th century Kúabot (Gestsson et al. 1987), and the 15th/16th century Reyðarfell in Hálsasveit (Grímsson 1976). This suggested the possibility that the complex of medium and medium-to-high response features
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Figure 14: Trench 2, Gilsbakki, north end (X111-112/Y118-120.5) looking southeast at end of excavation, 15 July 2008, showing the stepped-down trench. Trowel points north. Core hole 13 is visible at Y119. The large stones at the northern end of the trench appear to be foundation stones for a 14th century turf wall (Context 011), with exterior “yard deposits” (dark zone Contexts 009/009A/010) extending down the slope to the right near the base of the trench, above and below turf demolition horizons (Contexts 012 [13th century], below, and 007/008, above). The pink and black ash layer above these is Context 005, with 006 appearing as a thin brown zone below 005. Context 005 is capped by another turf demolition horizon, Context 004, above which to the south is an ashy midden (Context 003), silt horizon (Context 002) and the light gray ashy midden of Context 001b, beneath the brown surface sod (Context 001). See body text for detailed descriptions and age estimates for these strata.

cross the hillside between the modern churchyard and the 1950s house could represent the remains of one or more, potentially medieval, houses as well as midden deposits contemporary or younger than them. Trench 2 was placed to test not only this hypothesis but also to provide information on subsurface features sufficient to confirm the utility of the electromagnetic survey method for further seasons.

Trench 2 was a 5 meter long, 1-meter wide trial trench with its southwest and northwest corners at X111/Y115.5 and X111/Y120.5, respectively; its southeast and northeast corners at X112/Y115.5 and X112/Y120.5. The surface turf was removed on 11 July 2008 and excavations ended at Trench 2 on 16 July. Once the turf was stripped from this location, the exposed surface was trowelscraped to a smooth surface parallel to the
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modern ground surface. Visibly different contexts observed on this cleaned surface were identified and mapped. All loose sediment from the surface was collected by context and sifted through 6 mm mesh screen. Three clearly differentiable contexts, visible immediately beneath the sod, were trowel-scraped to establish their proper stratigraphic relationships and to obtain unmixed samples of artifacts and other cultural materials for dating and characterization of the deposits. This initial review suggested that all three of the contexts immediately beneath the sod were superimposed 19th century midden layers paralleling the slope of the hill. Context 001 was a partially disturbed gray-brown silty midden layer at the base of the rooted sod. Context 001b was a particularly ashy, loose lens at the base of the sod and of variable thickness down the length of the trench. At the far southern end of the trench was a mixed turf deposit (Context 002), which appeared to underlie Context 001b. From the initial review, Context 001 was excavated in its entirety, down the entire length of the trench, as was the underlying Context 002. Beneath Context 002 were two new midden layers (Contexts 003 and 004), both of which produced abundant material dating to the 19th century. Given time constraints, we decided to focus on the northern half of Trench 2 below Context 002. The upper surface of Context 003 was exposed and scraped to determine its northern extent and relationship to underlying and adjacent strata, and then excavation was discontinued south of Y118 and all efforts were focused on the northern half
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of the trench, from X111-112/Y118120.5. Beginning with Context 005 and continuing through Context 012, the excavation was narrowed further, with only the northeastern quarter of the trench (X111.5-112/Y118-120.5) excavated. Within this stepped down trench, we identified fourteen separate contexts and subcontexts representing middens, soil horizons, demolition horizons, yard deposits, and structural elements ranging in age from the 13th to the early 20th centuries. Context 001 Context 001 was a medium brown dry silt with abundant rootlets throughout, contained both within the rooted sod layer and in the immediately underlying 3-6 cm. Context 001 was 1012 cm thick across the length and width of Trench 2. Its lower edge paralleled the current ground surface and graded gently into the underlying sediments rather than exhibiting a clear break from them in color, compaction, texture or inclusions, although the underlying layers were less homogenized and retained more of their original internal lensing and stratification. As in Trench 1, it seems clear that Context 001 was formed through conscious efforts, early in the 20th century, to flatten the tún by plowing, harrowing, and scraping it to remove þúfur (frost hummocks) and to prevent their regrowth. Context 001, therefore, incorporates both elements of the strata exposed immediately below the plowing line as well as more recent midden deposits that were effectively destroyed during the field flattening campaign. It should be noted, however, that field flattening – although a radical transformation of the

visual landscape – disrupted only the uppermost 20-25 cm of the cultural deposits at Gilsbakki, dating from ca. 1890-1920, while the changes in approach to the tún that it reflected also meant that the field adjacent to the houses ceased to be an active locus of garbage dumping, after ca. 1920, and became, instead, a combination of managed yard and hayfield. Excavation along the entire length of the trench resulted in the removal of 0.30 m3 of Context 001. Across the northern half of Trench 1, Context 001 peeled off to an underlying ashy midden (Context 001b) that was clearly directly related to the midden sediments blended within the northern half of Context 001, but in the southern half of the unit, Context 001 peeled off a more diverse and mosaiclike mélange of sediments representing not only Context 001b but also Contexts 002 and 003. Under the assumption that plowing and field flattening had incorporated this diverse corpus into Context 001 near the southern end of Trench 1, Context 001´s finds were bagged separately at each end of the trench. The northern half of Context 001 produced a moderately diverse assemblage of 26 faunal elements and 112 objects, including pieces of glass, pottery, iron, slag, textile, and heavy stone. The faunal assemblage included just three unburned bones, all of which were ovicaprid or medium mammal, twentytwo small burned and calcined bone fragments, and one Bos tooth. The material culture assemblage was dominated by glass and ceramics. Thirty one pieces of glass were recovered from the northern half of Context 001 included 15 fragments of glass from green, brown, and clear beverage bottles.

One of the brown glass bottle base fragments bore the manufacturing scar of a so-called “improved” or sand pontil, which was widely used in Europe for finishing wine bottles from the mid-18th century until about 1875. A tooled rim fragment from one of the green glass bottles probably post-dates 1870. In addition to bottle glass, window panes were represented by 9-15 fragments of clear, clear bluish, and light green glass. Six of these, all green, were sufficiently irregular in cross section that it is was impossible to determine whether they were fragments of crown glass window panes or shards from the side panels of thin case liquor bottles. Sixty-four ceramic fragments were recovered from Context 001. The ceramic assemblage was dominated by whiteware (all undecorated, n = 36) and pearlware (various treatments, n = 11), with the whiteware to pearlware ratio suggesting a late 19th century age for this deposit. The pearlware present in Context 001 included one fragment of hand-painted polychrome pearlware (ca. 1830-1840), one early purplish-blue transfer-print fragment (ca. 1794-1820), one annular banded fragment with underglaze embossed and painted decoration (ca. 1800-1830) and seven sherds of undecorated pearlware. In addition to these whiteware and pearlware pieces, Context 001 produced one piece of undecorated European porcelain (ca. 1794-1920), four fragments of burned and undifferentiable refined white earthenware (pearlware or whiteware), eleven fragments of lead glazed and manganese spotted glazed redware, and one sherd of smooth brown salt-glazed stoneware. The mean ceramic date calculated for the English ceramics in this assemblage was 1887 with a bracketed

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range for the maximum overlap among the production dates of the wares representing of 1794-1840. As with the uppermost contexts in Trench 2, Context 001’s ceramic assemblage was dominated by relatively late wares but incorporated a significant number of plates and other vessels that would have been antiques or heirlooms at the time they were discarded, whether broken through use or discarded to modernize the household’s possessions. The rest of the assemblage from Context 001 was dominated by iron objects, primarily representing generic and undatable elements of hardware. These included one iron strap fragment, one punch or possible screwdriver bit, one machine-tooled, round-headed chisel-bitted bolt, two machine-cut nails, three hand-wrought nails, and two small hooks with nail-like distal ends. Two small fragments of light, frothy, vitrified smithing slag completed the evidence for metal-working. No elements of nonferrous metal or metal-work came from Context 001. The final elements of Context 001’s assemblage included one small, finegrained phyllite whetstone, one unmodified chalcedony fragments, one unmodified obsidian pebble, one unmodified piece of desilicified opal or spar, and one small fragment of woolen textile. The limited assemblage from Context 001 in the northern end of Trench 2 suggests a late 19th century origin for the deposit, consistent with evidence from the immediately underlying, undisturbed material from Context 001b (see below). As in Trench 1, the assemblage from Trench 2 suggests that Gilsbakki’s residents had a household well-furnished with both contemporary and antique household

goods and well-stocked with the hardware and equipment needed to run a farm and to repair or manufacture items that it did not have. The assemblage from the southern end of Context 001 was roughly similar but incorporated somewhat older material, as might be expected from the evidence that field-flattening on the lower slope disturbed not only Context 001b but also Contexts 002 and 003. This assemblage included 15 unburned bones, all ovicaprid and medium mammal, except for one fish vertebra, 12 burned and calcined bone fragments, and four ovicaprid teeth. One sheep mandible was sufficiently well preserved to determine its age: Payne stage G (6-8 yrs), consistent with other findings from post-medieval Gilsbakki. The material culture assemblage from Y115.5-118 included 67 fragments of glass, including one heavy green glass wine bottle base with an open blowpipe pontil scar, typically earlier than 1865. Thirty-three of the glass fragments represented broken clear and light bluegreen window panes, seventeen were from green, brown, and clear bottles, and seventeen represented drinking glasses, including both facetted and thin, flint glass (crystal) vessels. The ceramic assemblage included 49 whiteware sherds and 25 pearlware fragments, suggesting a later 19th century age for the assemblage. Forty of the whiteware sherds were from undecorated vessels or vessel elements, four were decorated with late 19th century polychrome transfer prints (ca. 1850-1880) and three with earlier monochrome transfer prints (ca. 18301850). The pearlware assemblage from the southern part of Context 001 included one rimsherd from a later blue feather-edged plate (ca. 1800-1830),

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three under-glaze blue painted sherds (1775-1820), an annular banded fragment (1800-1830), three undecorated sherds of the later, hard-paste pearlware variant (ca. 1810-1830) and seventeen undecorated pearlware sherds. In addition to pearlware and whiteware, Context 001 yielded one fragment of an English yellow Victorian stoneware ale or ink bottle (1830-1870), one fragment of smooth brown salt-glazed stoneware, and one fragment of exfoliated redware. In addition to ceramics, glass, and faunal elements, finds from this end of Context 001 also included one iron cshaped cleat or staple, three iron strip or barrel hoop fragments, one wire nail shaft (post-1880), eight machine-cut nails, four hand-wrought nails, two small punches, and twelve pieces of light, glassy, and frothy smithing slag identical to similar pieces recovered from the northern end of Context 001, from Context 001b in Trench 2, and from Contexts 001 and 002/003 in Trench 1. This light, glassy slag differs in color, texture, mass and surface appearance from all of the slag recovered at greater depths in both Trench 1 and Trench 2, suggesting changes in either the goals and processes of smithing at Gilsbakki during the late 19th century or in the fuel used. In this regard, it may be significant that Context 001 produced three fragments of anthracite coal, which was also recovered from Context 002/003 in Trench 1. Two scrap lead sheet fragments, a partially melted, opaque light blue bead and a fragment of an Eidsborg schist whetstone completed the assemblage from the southern end of Context 001. The mean ceramic date calculated for the southern half of Context 001 on the basis of the composition of its English ceramic assemblage was 1871,

slightly earlier than that from the northern end of Context 001, but still indicating that Context 001 incorporated more recent material than was included in the uppermost strata of Trench 1. This may suggest that more household waste was dumped on the western side of the slope beneath the last turf house after circa 1880 or, more likely, that the eastern side of the slope was scraped somewhat deeper during efforts to flatten the tún and that the latest midden deposits there were redeposited elsewhere during that time. The bracketed period for the maximum overlap in production dates for the ceramics in Context 001’s southern half is 1800-1840, indistinguishable from the assemblage recovered from its northern half. However, the presence of later Victorian polychrome transfer-printed sherds in the southern assemblage indicates that deposition continued at least until 1850 and surely thereafter. The combined assemblages from the northern and southern halves of Context 001 in Trench 2 are more comparable than the diversity of deposits found beneath them would have suggested. The most likely explanation for this is that the plowing and harrowing done to flatten the tún primarily disturbed the uppermost, late 19th century midden layers (Contexts 001 and 001b) and barely touched the underlying deposits of Contexts 002 and 003, preserving their integrity. As a result, Trench 2 preserved a somewhat better record of later 19th century consumption patterns at Gilsbakki than did Trench 1. Throughout both halves of this context, as in Trench 1, the impression provided is of a prosperous sheep-farming household with access to contemporary fashions and foreign goods but with a solid regard for the heirlooms and

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antiques that had been passed down to it. The ferrous, non-ferrous, and stone elements of the inventory also document a spirit of self-reliance in the production and repair of the farm’s equipment, hardware, and housing. Based on stratigraphic and artifactual clues, Context 001 is estimated to have been deposited between 1880 and 1920. Far from being either isolated from the wider world or subsumed, culturally, within a globalized or colonial cultural framework, the archaeology of early modern Gilsbakki documents households heavily engaged in trade with the outside world, on their own terms. Context 001b Context 001b was the designation given to the undisturbed portions of the Context 001 midden beneath the plow zone that was developed through 20th century field flattening campaigns. It is a light gray, dry, ashy midden layer with abundant charcoal, lenses of dark gray and light gray wood and dung ash, and relatively infrequent inclusions of cultural remains and fire-cracked rock fragments. The upper surface of Context 001b was an indistinct gradation into the rooted turf mat, as noted above. The basal contacts between Context 001b and underlying contexts 002 and 003 were sharp and distinct, although uneven. In places, Context 001b was quite shallow, where Context 002 was intact beneath it. In other locations, where gaps existed in Context 002’s turfy matrix, the ashy midden deposit from Context 001b filled in the gaps and achieved greater depths. Approximately 0.15 m3 of sediment from Context 001b was excavated and screened through 6 mm mesh.
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The assemblage from Context 001b was quite small, despite the amount of sediment excavated. This may suggest differences in the social contexts and settings that produced the ash developed here. The faunal assemblage from Context 001b was particularly small with just one unburned and one burned bone recovered. The excellent condition of the single unburned bone, from a large fish, recovered from this layer suggests that the paucity of bone in Context 001b cannot be attributed to post-depositional decay. Instead, it may be inferred that this unit’s ash content was taken from settings other than the farm’s kitchens. Context 001b’s glass assemblage (n = 11) was dominated by window glass, with only three bottle glass fragments represented. One of these bottle glass fragments was a fire-polished bottle neck without an applied or a formed rim, a style frequently considered to be more common before circa 1860. The ceramic assemblage consisted of a single piece of undecorated whiteware, a fragment of blue transfer-printed whiteware, one undecorated pearlware sherd, two burned and undifferentiable refined white paste earthenware sherds, and one fragment of a yellow and white English stoneware ale or ink bottle (ca. 1830-1870). Other than these faunal remains, glass shards, and fragments of pottery, Context 001b produced just one diamond-shaped iron awl, a chisel-pointed machine-cut nail, and one fragment of anthracite coal. The mean ceramic date calculated for this context is 1861, with a maximum production overlap bracket of 1820-1870. As the lower portion of Context 001, Context 001b is estimated to have

accumulated in the period circa 18801890, which is consistent with both the estimated ages of the underlying layers in Trench 2 and with the ages of other deposits at Gilsbakki that produced samples of anthracite coal (e.g. Context 002/003 in Trench 1 and the mixed context 001-004 in Y110-111, Trench 1). Context 002 Context 002 was a mixed demolition horizon and midden layer, combining fragmentary turf blocks and turf fragments as a majority component of the deposit with debris from food consumption and household waste as a minority portion. This layer was medium orange brown in color, a clayey silt in texture, composed of turf bits into which ashy gray-brown pockets of heating and cooking wasted had been thoroughly mixed. This layer sloped gently down to the south and west, thickening to the west and on exposure had a very hummocky surface, retaining evidence of small drainage channels and small frost heaved hummocks. It did not extend the entire length of the trench, but thinned out around Y117.0-117.5. To the south of this, small patches of Context 002 material overlay Context 003, but no continuous exposures were present. As might be expected from a demolition horizon composed mainly of relocated turf, the artifact and faunal assemblage from Context 002 was relatively small and not especially diverse. Those artifacts and faunal remains that were found seemed to originate primarily from within the pockets of ashy middenlike material that were found scattered throughout the turf deposit. Rather than

being midden or floor deposits from the demolished building these pockets of household waste had the appearance of small, discrete dumps, perhaps each the product of a single cleaning episode or hearth sweeping during the time that demolition and building were going on at the site. The faunal assemblage from Context 002 consisted of twelve unburned bones, all of which were either identifiable ovicaprid elements or fragmentary medium mammal bones. Five burned bones and three Bos teeth completed the assemblage. Fifteen pieces of glass, including three fragments from window panes, all of which were extremely clear, well-made plate glass with a slight bluish tint. Twelve shards from dark green and greenish-brown beverage bottles completed the glass assemblage, without any specifically diagnostic features. The ceramics from Context 002 included 21 pieces of whiteware and 11 pieces of pearlware, suggesting a mid-tolate 19th century date for the assemblage. The whiteware grouping included two fragments with late, polychrome transferprinted designs (ca. 1850-1880), one with an earlier Victorian monochrome transferprinted design (ca. 1830-1860), and eighteen undecorated pieces of whiteware. The pearlware family included one late transfer-printed fragment (18201840) and ten undecorated pieces of generic pearlware. In addition to pearlware and whiteware, Context 002 produced a single unglazed redware tripod leg from a pipkin or similar cooking vessel. The mean ceramic date for this assemblage of ceramics (excluding the
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redware tripod leg) was calculated at 1877, with the bracketed period for the maximum overlap among production spans being 1830-1860. As with other late strata at Gilsbakki, this offset between production periods and MCD suggests that the household was using and discarding both new and antique china on a regular basis. Two machine cut nails, two handwrought nails, one copper alloy upholstery spring, and an unmodified chalcedony lump rounded out the assemblage. Context 002 in Trench 2 at Gilsbakki appears to document a minor episode of demolition at the site sometime in the interval 1840-1880 and perhaps continuing, small-scale garbage deposition onto and into the turf blocks that had been thrown onto the tún after that episode of demolition. A similar small-scale demolition horizon was also evident in the upper levels of Trench 1 (Trench 1, Context 004), which appeared to date to the interval 1850-1860. Given the uncertainties of the Mean Ceramic Dating formula in an Icelandic context, limited information on local curation rates for English ceramic types, and the small size of the ceramic samples from these demolition layers, it is quite likely that the demolition events recorded in Trench 2 with Context 002 and in Trench 1 with Context 004 represent the same period of construction and renewal at Gilsbakki, whether or not they reflect the demolition of the same building. Context 003 Context 003 is a dense, ash-rich midden deposited against a small cut that

transected the southern end of Contexts 004 and 005 at Y118.3. The surface of this context was scraped, beneath the sod, from Y115.5 to Y118, while the entire context was excavated only from Y117.9118.3. Context 003 was a compact medium gray-brown ashy midden layer that partially underlay Context 002’s turfy midden and was directly beneath Context 001 at the southern end of the trench. At its northern edge it appeared in profile and during excavation to have terminated abruptly against an over-steepened face of Context 004, overlapping the top of Context 004 slightly to run underneath Context 002. Context 003 also lay up against the eastern end of Context 005, as well, suggesting that both Contexts 004 and 005 had been cut through at their southern ends, whether by erosion or human agency, and that the midden that formed Context 003 was subsequently dumped against and adjacent to that cut on its downslope side. From that point, the Context 003 deposit sloped down to the south and the west, thickening noticeably in both directions. The faunal and artifact assemblages from Context 003 were remarkably small given the amount of the context (0.25 m3) that was excavated. As in Contexts 001, 001b, and 002 at Trench 2, faunal remains were well-preserved but not abundant, suggesting that this part of the household midden was somewhat distant from the kitchens or butchering areas of the 18th and 19th century farms. Context 003 produced just four unburned bones and two burned and calcined bone fragments. Two of the unburned specimens, however, were right mandible halves from older (Payne stage
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G, 4-6 year old) sheep, replicating the pattern at Gilsbakki for the retention of sheep to the end of their productive lives before they were butchered. One ovicaprid tooth was also recovered from Context 003. Six pieces of glass came from Context 003. Two of these were window pane fragments, while four were from dark green and brown bottles. One of the green fragments was a large diameter wine bottle base with an open, blow-pipe pontil scar produced by a production technique that was replaced by more efficient mass-production approaches after 1860. The ceramics reaffirm the age of this deposit. No whiteware was present in Context 003. Four pieces of pearlware were recovered, including two pieces of hand-painted polychrome pearlware (ca. 1830-1840) and two pieces of undecorated white pearlware (17801840). In addition, five pieces of undecorated creamware (1775-1820) and one fragment of a Chinese underglaze blue porcelain cup were also recovered from this deposit. Other material from the midden included one iron strap or barrel hoop fragment, one machine cut nail (post1790), one iron knife blade, and a kaolin pipe stem fragment. The mean ceramic date calculated from this assemblage is 1809, while the maximum period of overlap among the English ceramics is 1780-1840. The presence of hand-painted polychrome pearlware implies that deposition continued into Context 003 until at least 1830 but the absence of whiteware suggests that Context 003 was probably no longer being used as a garbage dump
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by 1840. A suggested date of 1790-1830 most likely brackets the main period of midden accumulation in Context 003, making this deposit contemporary with Context 006 and 007 in Trench 1. The presence of Chinese underglaze blue porcelain in Trench 1’s Context 007, of kaolin pipe stem fragments in Trench 1’s Context 006, and of creamware in both Contexts 006 and 007 (Trench 1) supports this conclusion. Context 004 Context 004 in Trench 2 was a thin layer of heavily compressed and oxidized turf bits and silt, most likely derived from the demolition of a turf house or structure nearby. As will be argued below, this context appears to be more-or-less contemporary with Trench 1’s Context 007, a thick dump of turf on the eastern side of the hillside from a major demolition horizon. The differences in turf fragment preservation within these two deposits and their differential thickness suggests that the majority of the turf from this demolition episode was pushed over the east side of the hill below the old houses, where it was used to fill hollows and raise the surface of the tún, while a thinner veneer of turf and turf bits was laid down over the central part of the hillside, around Trench 2, where weathering and frost action reduced the visibility of individual turf blocks and turf fragments, while retaining the color and texture of a turf demolition layer. Context 004 was a compact, hardened layer of orange-brown silt and turf bits spread relatively evenly over the underlying Context 005 ash dump. At the Y118.3 line, Contexts 004 and 005 were

transected by a nearly 50° slope, to the north of which these deposits were intact and to the south of which they had been removed by erosion or human activity. Like most demolition horizons at Gilsbakki, Context 004 had a relatively small assemblage of faunal remains and material culture. Only two unburned bones, one perhaps fish and the other medium mammal, along with one unidentifiable burned bone were recovered from Context 004. Six teeth, most likely Bos, were also recovered. Only nine pieces of glass were found in Context 004. Three of these were exceptionally clear fragments of early plate glass, while the other six were bottle fragments – four from case liquor bottles and two from clear glass bottles of unknown form. No whiteware was recovered from Context 004 and only one piece of undecorated pearlware. A single sherd of creamware (1775-1820) was recovered along with fragment of unidentifiable, burned white paste earthenware. The mean ceramic date for this assemblage is 1801, which may be too early, given that English ceramics only found their way back into Iceland in any quantity after 1787. The mean ceramic date for this deposit may be too recent if, as a result, English earthenwares only represent the last ceramics to have been acquired while Context 004 was formed. Two fragments of gray, saltglazed stoneware with an “orange-skin” surface – most likely Rhenish – and a piece of yellow-slipped redware are both consistent with an 18th century age for this deposit. In light of these considerations, the estimated age of Contexts 002 and 003, the apparent age of the underlying Context 004, and the
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suggested age of Trench 1’s Context 007, which appears likely to document the same episode of demolition and construction, Context 004 in Trench 2 is tentatively dated to the interval 17501790. In addition to faunal remains, glass, and ceramics, Context 004 also contained one iron rove plate for a rivet, one handwrought iron nail, one perforated iron hinge strip (or perhaps a piece of latch hardware from a gate or large lock mechanism), a large nail or awl bent perhaps for use as a wall hook or candle holder, two smithing hearth bottoms (one with a copper oxide core, documenting work on both iron and non-ferrous metals in Gilsbakki’s forge), and a fragmentary Eidsborg schist whetstone. The ratio of imported to locally produced objects in Context 004 is 4:1, considerably higher than the 1:3 ratio in Trench 1’s Context 007, yet the small sample sizes from both deposits encourage caution in considering the relative roles of imports and locally produced goods at Gilsbakki in the late 18th century, while reinforcing the sense that the household at Gilsbakki was able to participate actively in international trade and to take on major reconstruction projects at a time generally considered the nadir of Icelanders’ existence – when the population of Iceland had reached its lowest point since the settlement of the island, when gasses and ash from volcanic eruptions killed 50% of Iceland’s livestock and 25% of its people, and when the Little Ice Age was in its coldest and least predictable phases. The abilities of the priests at Gilsbakki to endure and even to build through this period of hardship stands as testimony to

the wealth and resources of the estate and perhaps to the resources that it could command through its role as a parish center. Context 005 Context 005 was a thick and compact layer of pink, red and black turf ash, dung ash, and charcoal within which were numerous inclusions – fire-cracked rock, faunal remains, and artifacts – suggesting that the deposit represents a major dump for hearth and kitchen sweepings or perhaps the fuel ash from smokehouses at Gilsbakki during the 17th-18th century. Context 005 appeared abruptly beneath Context 004 as a thick layer of burned pink, salmon-orange, and bright red ash, capped and sitting upon thick layers of black charcoal dust. This ash deposit had the consistency of slightly moistened plaster, yet pulled up in sheets and layers suggesting internal laminations from many separate dumping episodes. At its southern end, from Y120-Y118.5, the deposit thickened and became denser around a concentration of flat fire-cracked basalt slabs without any clear structure more complex than a loose heap. It is possible that something more structured than a heap of fire-cracked slabs might become apparent with the expansion of Trench 1, but nothing seen in this exposure suggested that the stones were intended for any purpose more significant than, perhaps, to constrain the spread of this ash deposit down the hillside. As noted above, the southern end of Context 005 may have been terminated by a cut against which Context 003 was deposited. However, it seemed clear that the ash and charcoal dump designated

here as Context 005 thinned abruptly to the south of the fire-cracked rock concentration, although the surface on which it had accumulated seemed to continue southward into Context 003, marked by a scattering of pink and black ash mixed into darker silt. Context 005 produced a relatively rich and diverse assemblage in comparison with other contexts excavated in Trench 2, including faunal remains, glass, ceramics, ironwork and smithing debris, as well as non-ferrous objects and scraps. The faunal remains from Context 005 included 26 unburned bones. All but four of these were ovicaprid or medium mammal bones, presumed to represent sheep or goats. However, one vertebra and three phalanges from Bos provide slightly more evidence for the dietary use of cattle as meat sources than other contexts at Gilsbakki. Five loose sheep teeth were recovered from Context 005 and one intact mandible sufficiently preserved to identify it as the right mandible of a young adult sheep (Payne state D+, 1+ years old). No fish or bird bones were recovered from Context 005. Eleven fragments of glass were recovered from Context 005, of which six were clearly fragments from wine and other beverage bottles. Four of the remaining glass shards were flat but of sufficiently irregular thickness that they could either be fragments of crown glass window panes or the flat side panels of case liquor bottles. One piece of glass was clearly from a flat window pane. No whiteware was recovered from Context 005, nor was any pearlware or creamware present. The only piece of pottery from Context 005 was a burned fragment of tin-glazed whiteware. The
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color and composition of this sherd’s paste, the nature of the temper within it, the thickness of the tin glaze layer and the tendency of the glaze to separate from the paste all suggest that this is a sherd from a Dutch delft-ware vessel. Delftware was widely distributed by Dutch merchants from factories in the Netherlands from the first decades of the 17th century to the end of the 18th century. Alliances between the Danes and the Dutch during the period of the Danish trade monopoly in Iceland led to a considerable number of Dutch products entering Iceland during the late 17th and 18th centuries, including tinglazed pottery (Sveinbjarnardóttir 1996; K. Smith, personal observations). Although this sherd was burned, it appears to have thin, scratched decorations beneath the glaze and may have had a sponge-decorated surface. The primary period for the production, distribution, and consumption of spongedecorated delftware lasted from roughly 1710 until 1790 (http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/histarch/galler y_types/type_index_display.asp?type_na me=DELFTWARE,%20SPONGED). Two small square-sectioned shaft fragments, perhaps from nails, five machine-cut nails, ten hand-wrought nails, one complete rivet with rove and clench bolt and two smithing hearth bottoms provide evidence for ferrous metalworking and repair work. None of these objects are particularly sensitive chronological markers. While the mass production of machine-cut nails began after 1790, the earliest nail-cutting machines were developed in northern Europe in the early 1600s, limiting the use of these items as anything but the most basic indicators that the deposit
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postdates 1600 and most likely pre-dates 1850. In addition to these objects, one whetstone manufactured from local basalt, used to sharpen steel and iron knives, scythes, sickles and the like, was also recovered from Context 005. Non-ferrous metalwork and/or trade in non-ferrous metal objects was represented by one small triangular fragment of copper alloy sheet metal, a copper alloy link, and a decorative copper alloy fitting from a chest or other object. This item, made from thin copper alloy sheet metal, had been cut with a series of curves and chased with a delicate floral design across its outer surface. Holes from nails or tacks indicate that it was originally mounted on a wooden object, perhaps a box or chest. In addition to these pieces, a small copper alloy thimble, manufactured by casting and turning the thimble on a lathe to smooth its interior and form its basal ring rather than by pressing a metal disk into a form, was recovered from Context 005. The form of the thimble and the manufacturing technique used to produce it both suggest that it dates to the 17th or 18th century. Its size suggests that it may have been used by a child or teenager. The upper portion of this thimble was missing when it was found. It may have broken in use, leading to its discard, or it may have been a ring-like thimble without a top cap. Such open thimbles are wellknown from early contexts (Holmes 1985). The diverse nature of the assemblage from Context 005, in particular the number of faunal remains recovered, argues strongly that this was a deposit built up by dumping household wastes and fuel ash that came either from kitchen

hearths or from the household’s smoke houses. Its dating also seems relatively secure. The absence of English refined earthenware pottery (creamware, pearlware, whiteware and related wares) strongly suggests that Context 005 accumulated before the Danish trade monopoly was abolished in 1787. The presence of tin-glazed pottery suggests a date in the late 17th to mid-18th century, as does the form and construction of the thimble. Although it is hard to say much with confidence about the decoration on the copper alloy hardware attachment, its floral designs appear more modern than late medieval foliage and older than 19th century design elements. With some confidence, Context 005 is dated to the interval 1675-1750. Context 006 Context 006 was perhaps the most enigmatic encountered in 2008 at Gilsbakki. This thin layer of medium brown silt with fine charcoal flecks scattered irregularly throughout it had a sufficiently compact and coherent upper surface that the ash and charcoal dust matrix of Context 005 had barely penetrated it, allowing Context 005 to peel cleanly off Context 006. On the other hand, the lower contact between Context 006 and Context 007 was sufficiently subtle and blurred that it was extremely difficult to determine exactly where one began and the other ended, yet provided a relatively clean break with the turf fragments and blocks of Context 011 at the northern end of Trench 1. Based on its color, texture, contents, and gradation into underlying contexts, it

seems likely that Context 006, rather than representing either a cut or a fill, represents an incipient soil horizon developed through natural pedogenesis and perhaps soil enhancements (manuring, etc.) on the turf bits and silt that form Context 007, beneath. This hypothesis would be consistent with the abrupt change seen from Context 006 downward through the stratigraphic sequence in the condition and preservation of unburned bones. From Context 006 upwards, bones – including fish bones – were relatively wellpreserved, coherent and solid. From Context 006 downwards, few bones were completely intact, most were largely decalcified, and many were visible only as buttery smears in the soil. This suggests that a considerable gap in time may exist between Context 005 and the strata beneath it. This could be explained if Context 006 represents a depositional “still stand” in which the surface of the hillside at Trench 2 was withdrawn from being a site for dumping garbage and architectural debris. Contexts 008 and 009 in Trench 1 record a similarly significant difference in the kinds of sediments deposited on that part of the homefield during the 17th and early 18th centuries. Together, these ambiguously silty deposits in Trenches 1 and 2 may be signaling a fairly significant shift in the use of space on the hillside east of the church during the early modern period. This hypothesis remains to be tested. The material culture assemblage from Context 006 provides little to support or refute any conclusions about the nature of the activities that took place in and around Trench 2. Twelve unburned bones, all
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either ovicaprid or medium mammal, were present but poorly preserved. One possible burned bone, too degraded for identification, was also present, as were four ovicaprid teeth. One hand-wrought nail and a pocket knife (Þjms 2008-34-457) found on the lower contact between Contexts 006 and 007, were the only non-faunal items recovered from this stratum. Although details of this knife’s manufacture and operation remain to be determined through conservation and xray analyses, it clearly has a metal case and hinge mechanism (its wooden, bone or horn outer plates having long ago disappeared). It may represent an early form of the Barlow style folding knife, thought to have been invented by Obadiah Barlow, around 1670 in Sheffield, England (Johnson, 1959).

Figure 15: Pocket knife (Þjms 2008-34-457) insitu on the contact between the medium brown silt of Context 006 and orange-brown turf in Context 007, beneath.

Context 007 Context 007 was a massive, nearly sterile deposit of small turf bits and occasional turf chunks, 15-20 cm thick, that extended over most of the excavated portion of Trench 2, from Y118-119.9. From Y119.90 to Y120.5, however, this turf bit unit was largely missing or was reduced to a thin veneer overlying larger blocks of yellow-orange silty turf that were easily identifiable in plan view but less visible as turf blocks in profile. A collection of medium sized unburned stones was also clustered in this portion of the unit. Larger fragments of turf blocks were encountered frequently within Context 007 from approximately Y118.90 to Y117.90, while finer fragments of turf mixed with silt and charcoal characterized the zone between Y118.90 (the southern edge of the stone and turf block cluster) and Y117.90 (the blurry edge of the zone with larger turf fragments). The upper contact of merged with Context 006 at its upper contact and blended gradually into Context 008 beneath it, suggesting that Context 007 may have been developed over Context 008 from similar parent material and formed a substrate on which Context 006 developed – if it is a limited paleosol – or into which darker silt, objects and charcoal were pressed or mixed by frost action from Context 006. Context 007 appeared to be the upper component of a thick deposit of turf representing a major renovation and demolition episode at Gilsbakki, of which Context 008 is the lower portion. The stones and larger turf blocks at the

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northern end of Trench 1 (Y119.90120.5) appear to represent the stubs of a thick, probably load bearing turf wall with the varied turf fragment and turf bit concentrations to its south representing its collapse and/or demolition debris. The faunal and material culture assemblage from Context 008 was small, with limited diversity, as would be expected for a demolition horizon. It included four unburned, partially decayed bones – all of which were either identifiable as ovicaprid or medium mammal – and ten tooth fragments, representing a minimum of six loose ovicaprid teeth. No fish, bird, cattle or other bones were recovered from this context. No glass was recovered from Context 007, but two fragments of pottery are the lowest and presumably the oldest recovered to date at Gilsbakki. One of these (Þjms 2008-34-460) was a pebbly finshed, gray and brown mottled fragment of Rhenish salt-glazed stoneware – either Westerwald or Raeren, while the other (Þjms 2008-34458) was a small fragment of unglazed or exfoliated redware. Eight hand-wrought nails, one probably corroded nail head, and a possible small iron punch completed the assemblage from Context 007. This context’s age must be extrapolated largely from overlying and underlying deposits, with supporting evidence from the . Context 006 contained a pocket knife of later form, perfected by Obadiah Barlow in the third quarter of the 17th century providing a terminus ante quem for Context 007. Context 010 produced a 14th century AMS radiocarbon date providing a terminus post quem for the overlying

deposits, including Context 007. The single piece of Rhenish stoneware recovered from Context 007 is too small to make any definite pronouncements, but its fabric and surface colors align it more with the Westerwald factories than Raeren. Westerwald stoneware has been produced in the upper Rhine district from the 1400s to the present day, but became especially prominent as a ceramic production center after circa 1540, when potters from the Raeren district immigrated into the Westerwald region. Westerwald stoneware has been found in numerous Icelandic sites, typically as a minority type, but seemingly more common on 16th-18th century sites than in later components and perhaps more frequently in larger farms with chapels or churches than in smaller ones. Possible early Westerwald stoneware was recovered, for example, from the church at Kúabot in tne southern Icelandic Álftahver district, a farm thought to have been abandoned after a series of glacial outbursts in the 1490-1510 period (Gestsson et al. 1987; Sveinbjarnadóttir 1996). These limited clues suggest that Context 007 formed during the 16thearly 17th centuries and perhaps was emplaced even earlier. The limited amount of garbage within this deposit, if it formed, as suspected, over a long period of time – with Context 006 representing a paleosol developed on it – strongly suggests that a quite formal approach to garbage disposal was being practiced at Gilsbakki in the late medieval period, contrasting with the early modern practice of spreading household, kitchen, and animal waste across the homefield in proximity to the farm, documented in Context 001-005.

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Context 008 Context 008 merged gradually out of the base of Context 007 and was, in many areas, indistinguishable from it in plan view, while excavating. The primary distinguishing feature of Context 008 was a clear sense that it contained larger, less fragmented blocks of oxidized, mineral turf and less intermixed charcoal or occupation-related garbage. Across the areas excavated, Context 008 varied in thickness from circa 10 cm at its northern contact with Context 011 to nearly 30 centimeters at the southernmost point excavated and seemed to be thickening regularly towards the south, over the sloping surface of Context 009, beneath. At its lower contact, Context 008 peeled cleanly but not abruptly off the medium-brown to brownish-black, organic rich, compressed fabric of Context 009. Context 008 ended abruptly at a line of large, aligned foundation stones extending across the unit at Y119.60-119.70, behind which were undisturbed turf blocks forming the base of a load-bearing turf wall (Context 011). Context 008 is clearly a massive deposit of turf fragments and fragmentary turf blocks from the demolition of a large turf structure, quite likely represented by Context 011’s foundation wall. The gradual transition from Context 008 upward into Context 007 suggests that both of these stratigraphic units relate to the same episode of demolition, but the possibility remains that Context 008 could represent a second cap of turf blocks and turf bits laid over Context 007 from a later demolition and construction episode. Context 008 produced an extremely small assemblage, which included one
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fragmentary, highly decayed Bos humerus and ten teeth (9 ovicaprid, 1 Bos), a hand-wrought iron nail, and a small, amorphous lump of smithing slag. In light of the non-diagnostic nature of this assemblage, which documents only the expected presence of domestic mammals and iron-smithing at Gilsbakki, Context 008 can only be dated by reference to overlying and underlying layers. As noted above (see Context 007), Context 006 must have been forming into the mid-17th century and Context 010 produced a 14th century AMS date on ovicaprid bone. The sequential sheet midden complex of Contexts 010, 009a, and 009 could well represent 100-150 years of occupation and Context 007 may have been receiving small amounts of household debris in the 16th-early 17th century, if the identification of its stoneware sherd as Westerwald is correct. Based on these observations, Context 008 may be tentatively explained as debris from a major demolition episode dating, perhaps, to the mid-15th century. Contexts 009, 009A, and 010 Contexts 009, 009A, and 010 represent three, and perhaps four, sequential strata within a thick sheet midden layer capped by the turf demolition horizon of Contexts 007 and 008, and formed upon another thick, underlying turf demolition horizon (Context 012). This sheet midden abutted the stone foundation row of a thick turf wall (Context 011) at the northern end of Trench 1. The Context 009/009a/010 sheet midden sequence thickened to the south and became more complex with distance from the wall foundation, adding

sequentially separable layers of sheet midden with increasing distance from the wall’s exterior surface. This suggests that these sheet middens are contemporary with the occupation of the structure represented by Context 012 and that activity (walking, etc.), drainage, and cleaning may have blurred subtle stratigraphic distinctions near the wall itself, while the combination of slope to the south of the wall and distance from the residence allowed household garbage and debris from activities undertaken in the shelter that the wall provided from northern winds to accumulate over time. Context 010, the lower-most of these sequential strata extended from the outer face of the wall as far to the south as excavation continued (Y118.0), thickening gradually to approximately 1012 cm and then retaining that thickness. It was dark brown to dark blackish-brown in color, greasy in texture, comprised of silty clay with subtle admixtures of ash and charcoal fragments throughout. Context 009a lay over Context 010, beginning roughly 50 cm south of the wall stubs and thickening gradually to the south. It was dark brown in color, notably silty and with less ash or charcoal content than Context 010. Context 009 may just be a lens within Context 009a or another separable midden layer within this sheet midden complex. A very small amount of this stratum was present in the excavated part of Trench 1. Context 009 was a dark blackish-brown to charcoal black silty layer that began at Y118.40 and dipped sharply to the south, where it entered the excavation baulk at Y118.00. Overlying Context 009 was another thin layer of dark brown silt with scattered charcoal fragments, similar in
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color and texture to Context 009a. This may actually indicate that Context 009a was a thickened upper stratum of the sheet midden, with Context 009 just a lens within it. Alternatively, this upper layer may be another separable stratum within the sheet midden, beginning at Y118.30 and thickening to the south. However, too little of this layer was exposed in 2008 to differentiate these alternative explanations. In profile, however, the most likely interpretation appears to be that this sheet midden complex contains at least four separable and sequential strata, each appearing slightly to the south of the initiation point of the one below it and each thickening toward the south. If so, the thin dark brown layer that appeared above Context 009 may be the fourth element in this sequence. All of these layers appear to be associated with the turf and stone wall currently designated as Context 011 and are interpreted as deposits formed on the hlað in front of a medieval house. The material culture assemblages from this sequence of sheet midden layers were very limited. Context 009 produced one hand-wrought nail; Context 009a yielded a thin iron rod, perhaps the medial segment of a handwrought nail; and Context 010 provided a somewhat more diverse assemblage consisting of three hand-wrought nails, one curved metal object that may be either a fragmentary, ruseted curved knife blade or a partial key. On obsidian fire-starter spall completed the finds list from Context 010. Flecks from burned bone (1-2 mm) were scattered throughout Contexts 009, 009a, and 010 and there was abundant evidence in the form of totally decayed

“butter bones” that these deposit had once been richly endowed with faunal remains. However, very few of these could be recovered intact or identified to taxon in the field; most were identifiable only as yellow, greasy smears. Those few faunal remains that were recovered seemed to be the last remaining portions of larger and more robust bones, thinner parts of which had also decayed. Cattle bones, as a result, may be slightly over-represented due to taphonomic bias rather than a true reflection of the consumption patterns that characterized diet and the herding practices of medieval Gilsbakki. No bird or fish bones were recovered. One fragmentary ovicaprid metapodial from Context 010 was submitted to the University of Arizona’s AMS dating facility for radiocarbon age determination. The reported radiocarbon age of this sample (AA83187) was 560±54 bp, with a d13C value of -21.8, which calibrates to calAD 1314-1423 at one standard deviation with nearly equal internal probabilities that the actual date falls within the intervals calAD 13141356 (internal probability, pi = 0.535; total probability, pt = .365) or calAD 1388-1423 (pi = .465, pt = .317). At two standard deviations (95.4% accuracy), the calibrated age for this sample is calAD 1297-1437, with nearly equal internal and total probabilities that the date falls into the intervals calAD 1297-1374 (pi = .547, pt = .521) or calAD 1376-1437 (pi = .453, pt = .432). While the material culture and faunal assemblages from Contexts 009, 009a, and 010 provide few insights into life at Gilsbakki, the AMS date obtained from Context 010 suggests that this sheet midden complex and the wall against
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which it are medieval. AMS date AA83187 points to the 14th century as the most likely date for the age of this ovicaprid bone, which was recovered from near the base of Context 010. Internal probabilities within the calibrated age distribution suggest somewhat stronger indications that the actual age falls within the first half of the 14th century, but more dates from this context would be required to confirm or refute this conclusion and for now it seems prudent to conclude, conservatively, that the lower part of this deposit (Context 010) dates to the 14th century. The amount of time represented by the accumulation of the sheet midden complex is currently unknown. With three, four, or more internal strata represented, it is conceivable that it represents a considerable period of deposition, despite its small artifact assemblage. Assuming that it represents a work area outside a major structure or house, this complex of deposits most likely formed over the entire span during which the house was occupied. At Háls a deposit of similar thickness and internal complexity formed over a period of at least 100 years and perhaps closer to 175. The sequential midden deposits in the upper portions of Trenches 1 and 2 at Gilsbakki also seem to be separated by layers of demolition debris that were deposited 100-200 years apart. Assuming that similar processes affected the decay of turf houses in the earlier medieval period and that comparable decision processed guided householders’ decisions about when and why to tear down standing structures, it might be reasonable to estimate the period represented by Contexts 009, 009a and

010 at 150-175 years, suggesting that this deposit started to form and the associated structure was built, circa AD 1275-1325 and that the structure was torn down and midden deposition stopped here, circa 1425-1475, give or take half a century. Context 011 Context 011, as noted above, appears to represent the base of a turf wall with stone foundations or a low stone facing. Three large, stones, their long axes aligned to the North, crossed the trench with their front faces (unmodified) at Y119.60-119.70. Another large stone, with its long axis perpendicular to these was found beneath, and slightly in front (to the south) of them. The sheet midden layer, Context 010, overlapped this lower stone and abutted the fronts of the three aligned boulders. Behind them were blocks of turf, visible as linear striations of minerogenic soil, aligned to the north, parallel to the three aligned stones. Turf layers appeared to lie over the northern and central parts of the three foundation stones, but as a thin veneer in which the subtle distinctions of each turf block’s margins had been disturbed by frost, root action or the demolition activities themselves. Excavation of the turf wall ended with the delineation of its uppermost surfaces in 2008. The wall appears to continue into the northern profile of Trench 2, implying that it is at least 0.80-0.90 meters thick, standing to a still-unknown height. This wall was located exactly beneath one of the linear medium-response (green/dark green) in-phase signal anomalies identified by the electromagnetic survey done at Gilsbakki

in 2008 and, based on AMS radiocarbon dating of sheep bone from the associated Context 010, is suggested to have been built around AD 1300 and demolished in the early 15th century. Its presence provides strong support for the conclusion that the linear, grid-like patterns revealed through EM survey at Gilsbakki most likely represent the buried walls of medieval and/or post-medieval structures across the core of the site. Whether these are all referable to the 14th century or represent sequential reconstructions of housing at the site from the 10th through the 18th century is currently unknown and will the subject of future investigations. Based on the apparent thickness of this wall, its scale (extrapolating from the EM survey data), and the presence of associated yard or sheet midden deposits to its south it is likely that Context 011 represents the front wall of a major residential structure from the medieval period and that the interior of the structure will be found to the north of the current termination of Trench 2. Context 012 Beneath Context 010 was another thick layer of turf bits and turf fragments, upon which Context 010 had accumulated. The contact between this underlying layer of turf and the base of the sheet midden was abrupt and smooth, suggesting that Context 010 began to form very soon after the demolition episode represented by Context 012. Context 012 was exposed over a very small area at the bottom of Trench 2 and its base was not reached. Within the area exposed, Context 012 was at least 25 and

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perhaps more than 30 cm thick, implying that this most likely represents another major demolition episode of a large turf structure. Near the base of the excavated portion of Context 012, a thin blackish-brown layer, in appearance and texture suggesting a tephra horizon, was seen in profile to extend, unbroken for at least 25 cm from north to south, dipping slightly to the south in parallel to the upper surface of Context 012. Unfortunately, the sample taken of this possible tephra layer was lost in transit and could not be identified. As noted above, Magnús Sigurgeirsson identified possible evidence for the Medieval Tephra in turf blocks incorporated within Trench 1’s Context 010. That deposit, formed in the 15th or 16th century, is correlative with Contexts 008 and 007 in Trench 2, which appear to have been formed from, or on, the demolition debris from the medieval house represented by Context 011. With no other black-brown tephras of medieval date known from the interior parts of Borgarfjörður, it is possible that the tephra layer observed in Context 012 may represent that eruption, dated to 1226/1227. AMS dating of Context 010 would also suggest that Context 012 must date to the 13th century or earlier. Provisionally, Context 012 is interpreted as evidence for a major demolition episode during the 13th century, with Context 011 most likely the structure that was built to replace the one represented by the demolition debris beneath Context 010. Assuming a standing use-life of 100-150 years for a major turf structure, this underlying structure – inferred only from evidence

of its demolition – may have been built as early as AD 1125-1150. Basal deposits At the end of the 2008 excavation season, two attempts were made to core beneath Context 012 in Trench 2. One of the two cores ended on stones not far below the excavated base of the trench and the other suggested that as much as 0.80 meters of stratified deposits still lie below Context 012, with one or possibly two additional floor, yard or midden deposits separated by turf demolition horizons. This sequence mirrors the sequence recovered in Core 15, located at the southeastern corner of Trench 2, which suggests that the Context 009, 009a, 010 sequence thickens to the south, becoming ashier and more midden like, and overlies a silty turf deposit correlating with Context 012. Beneath this was another dark, organic-rich, compacted cultural layer overlying yet another turf horizon, beneath which was another compacted black-brown cultural layer. These indications from coring suggest that possibility that two more cycles of construction, occupation, and demolition lie beneath the 14th century occupation emerging in Contexts 009, 009a, 010, and 011. If the assumption of 150-175 years per cycle stands, Context 012 and its related features might well date to the early 12th century, as noted above, and the next sequence could represent structures and deposits from the late 10th and 11th centuries. Whether these hypotheses are correct remains to be determined through future investigations.

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Finds
The 2008 excavations at Gilsbakki produced a faunal assemblage of 1093 elements, including 536 unburned bones, 440 burned and/or calcined bone fragments, 72 fish bones, and 69 teeth. The 2008 excavations also produced a material culture assemblage of 1678 objects, including ceramics and glass fragments from vessels spanning the 16th19th centuries; metal objects and scrap made from iron, copper alloy, lead, and tin; slag providing evidence for both ferrous and non-ferrous metal-working on site; tools made from stone, both imported and local, including schist, phyllite, basalt, pumice, chalcedony, opal, and jasper; and objects linked to textile production, from lumps of carded wool and fragments of yarn to fragmentary pieces of vaðmál and identifiable pieces of garments. All of these objects have been cleaned, counted, catalogued, and conserved (where necessary). More work is required to be able to tell their stories and to refine the conclusions reached, provisionally, here. Appendix 1 provides a full list of the finds from the 2008 field season.

Conclusions
Excavation, coring, and geophysical surveys provided a wealth of information on the stratigraphic sequence at Gilsbakki, changes through time in the farm’s connections to the outside world, its use of both local and exotic resources, the spatial structure of the site, and preservation conditions within the site’s core. The goals of the 2008 excavations were relatively simple and limited, given

the amount of time available for the reconnaissance efforts and the small size of the field crew. Our goals were to determine whether intact cultural remains were present beneath the surface of the managed homefield, to gain a sense of the horizontal extent of the site’s core, to gain an initial perspective on the depth and complexity of any cultural deposits that remained and some understanding of preservation conditions at the site and the nature of its material culture record. All of these goals were achieved. Coring, electromagnetic survey and test trenching documented that the hillslope at Gilsbakki leading up to the 19th century and early 20th century houses is an artificially built farm mound with at least 1.7-2.3 meters of stratified cultural deposits across an area of at least 30x35 meters. Deposits up to a meter in depth extend at least 15 meters farther to the southeast and east of the investigated area. Adjacent parts of the farm to the north, northeast, and south of the investigated area remain to be examined in future years, but hold great promise for holding additional deposits, structures, and activity areas. Beyond the immediate site core lie clusters of outbuildings, barns, and byres some of which sit on, or near, subtle features of the landscape associated with place names known to the family and recorded in detail by Magnús Sigurðsson before his death in June 2009. These place names provide clues not only to past locations of human activity in the immediate vicinity of the active buildings but also to extensive land-use practices linked to memories of past inhabitants throughout the hinterlands of the farm and its borders. Shielings (summer farms), boundary

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marker cairns, trail markers, turf cutting areas, and others are referenced in the place names and memories of the Gilsbakki family, providing possibilities for particularly rich multi-disciplinary investigations in the future.

Coring and excavation in the central part of the site revealed complex sequences of middens, demolition horizons, built structures, managed surfaces, and relocated deposits spanning at least 700 years and quite

Occupation phase, ca. 1860-1920 Demolition episode, ca. 1850-1860 Occupation phase, ca. 1810-1850

(Trench 2, Context 001/001b) (Trench 1, Context 004; Trench 2, Context 002) (Trench 1, Context 005; Trench 2, Context 003)

Construction episode, ca. 1790-1830 (Trench 1, Context 005; Trench 2, Context 003) Demolition episode, ca. 1750-1810 Occupation phase, ca. 1550-1750 (Trench 1, Context 007; Trench 2, Context 004) (Trench 1, Contexts 008-009; Trench 2, Contexts 005-006)

Construction episode, ca. 1450-1550 (no physical evidence yet, inferred from demolition in Trench 1/Context 010) Demolition episode, ca. 1450-1550 Occupation phase, ca. 1300-1450 (Trench 1, Context 010; Trench 2, Context 008) (Trench 2: Context 009/009A/010)

Construction episode, ca. 1275-1325 (Trench 2, Context 011; turf blocks within Trench 1, Context 010) Demolition episode: 13th century Occupation phase: 12th-13th century (Trench 2: Context 012) (Core 15; Basal deposits, Trench 1?)

Demolition/Construction: ca. 1125? (Core 15; Basal deposits, Trench 1?) Occupation phase: ca. 975-1125? Construction phase: ca. 950-975? (Core 15; Basal deposits, Trench 1?) (Core 15; Basal deposits, Trench 1?)

Table 3: Provisional phasing model for sequences of construction, occupation, and demolition of turf houses at Gilsbakki.

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likely 1100 or more. Coring on Transect 4 provided suggestions that the earliest cultural deposits at the site may sit directly on top of the so-called Landnám tephra, implying occupation of the site in the late 9th or early 10th century, somewhat earlier than suggested by medieval sources. Excavated data from Trenches 1 and 2 documented built surfaces and structures beneath early post-medieval middens and demolition layers. In Trench 2, these were dated to the 14th15th century and appear to represent the front of a turf house with associated sheet middens and yard deposits. At the base of Trench 1, an enigmatic surface of compacted sand and gravel (Trench 1, Context 010) lies beneath turf deposits that may be correlative with the demolition horizons that capped the medieval surfaces and walls in Trench 2. If so, the houses of Gilsbakki from its years as beneficium and staðir may be remarkably well-preserved and accessible beneath the current tún. Beneath the lowest deposits reached by excavators in 2008 in both Trench 1 and 2, coring suggests deposits from at least one and perhaps two or more cycles of building, occupation, and demolition, suggesting that earlier structures lie below, linked chronologically and socially to individuals known from the sagas, to the history of the Gilsbekkingar, to the upheavals and regional conquests of the Sturlung Age, and to the settlement of Iceland and the formation of Icelandic power centers in the Viking Age and Commonwealth periods. Excavation, coring and the interpretation of their results have also helped to formulate a provisional model for the construction and occupation history of the site (Table 3) that divides

contexts into construction episodes, occupation phases and demolition horizons, each reflecting a segment in the life histories of structures and the activities that led to the creation of different types of observable deposits at the site. Although it is likely that this model unrealistically simplifies a far more complex situation, temporal correlations between major demolition horizons are strongly suggested by artifact assemblage correlations, mean ceramic dates, and AMS dating in Trenches 1 and 2. Combined with data from the coring survey, five major construction and demolition episodes are suggested for the sit, during which the main residential complexes were probably razed and rebuilt in newer styles, although smaller-scale renovations and repairs undoubtedly also took place between these episodes. Electromagnetic survey methods were applied and refined at locations where they could be tested against the signatures of known, surficial remains of walls from the last turf houses occupied at the site and against the signatures of unknown deposits of varied type, extent and composition across the site´s core. Electromagnetic surveys across the stubs of the known 19th century turf house walls suggested recurrent signatures from these architectural features in both the in-phase and out-of-phase responses produced by the GEM unit. The potential utility of the method for locating and mapping the extent of buried walls and architectural features was confirmed through excavation, with the identification of deeply buried 14th century turf walls in a location predicted by the results of the electromagnetic survey. EM survey also provided detailed information on the extent and intensity of post-medieval midden

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deposits at the site and allowed us to confirm not only the locations of two utility lines crossing the site´s core but also to determine that no other significant 20th century disturbances to the site are present within the homefield. Electromagnetic survey cannot, however, at this point separate sequential building phases nor provide information on the vertical structure of cultural deposits. Nevertheless as an heuristic tool for site delineation and hypothesis generation it appears robust and wellsuited for further development. A primary emphasis of North Atlantic archaeology over the past two decades has been on subsistence, adaptation and historical human ecology. Faunal analyses at sites of different ages and types have provided ever-more complex and clearer pictures of major trends through time in regional adaptations to climate change, social evolutionary processes, the vicissitudes of the settlement process itself, and the impacts of environmental degradation and resource shifts caused by human agencies. The initial faunal analyses at Gilsbakki suggest that it fits well within emerging models for inland farms, especially during the post-medieval period, with a strong focus on sheep ranching, low cattle-to-sheep ratios among faunal remains, and a limited use of non-domesticated resources for subsistence or other purposes. Perhaps one of the most interesting conclusions to be drawn, provisionally, from Gilsbakki’s initial faunal analysis is how stable its subsistence strategies appear to have been over the long term. In fact, if Gilsbakki were approached solely

from an environmental, human ecological perspective, a reasonable conclusion to be drawn might be that very little changed there over a span of at least four-and-ahalf centuries and perhaps seven hundred years or more. Throughout this span, Gilsbakki’s faunal assemblages are dominated by sheep/ovicaprid bones with very few from cattle. Horses and pigs are absent from the assemblage, as are cats, dogs, chickens, geese and other minor domesticates. Fish appear sporadically and birds even more infrequently. The focus throughout this period would seem to have been clearly on sheep. Even the age profiles for sheep kept at the site remain constant, as far as they can be inferred from the limited sample sizes available at this point. Butchering patterns (not discussed in detail within this report) appear to have remained quite constant and consumption patterns as well, whether one considers the repeated presence of split sheep skulls processed for svið or the constant presence throughout the stratigraphic columns of metapodials perforated to remove their marrow. Whether one characterizes it as stasis or as evidence of a very resilient adaptation capable of ensuring survival through changing times, the apparent stability of the farm’s primary subsistence strategy stands as a model of consistency throughout centuries of change. In contrast, Gilsbakki’s history seems anything but static when viewed through the lens of its architectural cycles and its material culture assemblages. Change, seen from this vantage point, was constant and frequently dramatic. As one example, one could consider the rapid transformations of Gilsbakki’s

83

households’ material possessions following the abolition of the Danish trade monopoly in the late 18th century and the changes those transformations must have meant in the etiquette and patterns of daily life or on the decisions made regarding how to allocate resources gained from farming and social relations to acquire, use, and replace the objects that now have been catalogued as archaeological finds from the early modern period. One might consider the changing relationships implied between the household members at Gilsbakki as the values of their homespun wool, preserved in amazing condition throughout the site, shifted wildly against the prices of imported goods or as the opportunities for trade shifted through time from international trading voyages mounted by the Gilsbekkingar themselves to conditions of dependence during the Danish trading monopoly, when Icelandic farmers and household members could be fined for trading with other Icelanders or merchants outside their legally defined trading zones. One might consider the repeated cycles of rebuilding, occupation, and demolition implied by the gross-level and fine-scale stratigraphy of the site, which is a record of constant readjustments and realignments in the ways that space was conceived and used and reformed into new senses of place: places to live, places to keep clean, places to be filled and transformed after demolition, places to spread household trash and places to be kept sacred or magnificent for social effect. One might also consider the records of change maintained in another form of material culture – the books and
84

manuscripts that provide a sense of constant change in the social fortunes of the site and its occupations: changes in the site’s role within regional and national secular politics, changes through time in its role and status as an ecclesiastic center or local parish church, and constant changes through time in the membership of the households that occupied the farm. Seen from the perspective of human ecological inference, Gilsbakki might be a shining example of stasis, of the resilience of Icelanders’ approaches to sheep ranching, or as an example on a bar chart of interior farming strategies through time. Seen from its artifactual, architectural, and historical records, however, Gilsbakki emerges as a place of dynamic and constant change, as well as the abode of households and household members who must have constantly adjusted and readjusted their domestic strategies, economic goals, political maneuvers, etc. to the constancies of the agricultural calendar, the ritual cycle of its clergy, and the constant uncertainties of Icelandic weather and longer-term cycles of climate change. No simple story of consistency from faunal analyses captures the complexity of the situation in evidence at Gilsbakki, but on the other hand no story of constant change based on the material culture and historical records would be accurate without understanding that constant background noise of bleating sheep and the centuries-long rigor of the agricultural cycle that is reflected in counts and percentages of faunal elements and butchering patterns. Some of these changes can be captured graphically through quantification on a stratum-by-stratum basis of the types of material recovered

Gilsbakki, Trench 1: Locally Produced and Imported Objects
Ceramics Glass Iron Slag Non-ferrous metals Local stone Textiles

140

120

Number per 0.10 cu meter

100

80

60

40

20

0
T1, C10; 16th century T1, C4, ca. 1850-1860 T1, C5, ca. 1830-1850 T1, C6, ca. 1810-1830 T1, C7, ca. 1790-1810 T1, C2/3, 20-23S, ca. 1860-1880 T1, C9; ca. 1600-1700 T1, C1, 20-23S, ca. 1860-1880 T1, C1, 23-25S, ca. 1850-1860? T1, C11; 15th century? T1, C8; ca. 1700-1790?

Contexts

Gilsbakki, Trench 2, Locally Produced and Imported Objects
100
Ceramics Glass Iron Slag Non-ferrous metals Local stone Textiles

90 80

Number per 0.10 cu meters

70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0
C 001b: ca. 1880-1890? C 009a: 14th century C 010: 14th century C 006: 1600-1675? C 007: 1525-1600? C 008: 1450-1525? C009; 1400-1450? C 003: 1790-1830 C 011: 13th century? C 001: ca. 1880-1920 C 002: ca. 1830-1880 C 004: ca. 1750-1790 C 005: ca. 1675-1750

Contexts

Figure 16: Summary chart showing the numbers of objects of different material classes in Trenches 1 and 2, standardized to a constant volume of excavated sediment reveals trends through time in the production, acquisition, and consumption of domestic Icelandic and imported goods.

from each of the site’s contexts (Figure 16) but others will only become apparent as we consider the social and symbolic meanings and implications of the production and consumption of such objects as the remarkably preserved
85

textiles, garment fragments and vaðmál from the site (brown on Figure 16) that are being studied by Michèle Hayeur Smith or the economic implications of metalworking done at the site – for whom, by whom, and for whose profit?

The work undertaken at Gilsbakki in 2008 is necessarily preliminary. Given the scale of the site, which is only just starting to be understood, and the extent of the site – including its outlying properties, boundaries, summer farms, and resource gathering sites, the work done over a span of just one week can only begin to suggest the complexity of this site and the rich opportunities it presents for integrated, inter-disciplinary research, bringing together perspectives

from the humanities, saga studies, history, anthropology, archaeology, geophysics, material science research, geochemistry, ethnobotany, ethnozoology, and others. This work and this report, we hope, provides a starting point for future research and a springboard for generating further questions, rather than being the last word on this important site.

This report is dedicated to the memory of Magnús Sigurðsson, 1921-2009.

86

References
Affleck, Richard M. 1990 Power and Space: Settlement Pattern Change at Middleburg Plantation, Berkeley County, South Carolina. Master of Arts Thesis, Department of Anthropology, University of South Carolina. (www.cas.sc.edu/anth/.../Affleck/Power%20and%20Space-Affleck-1.pdf) Bartovics, Albert F. 1981 The Archaeology of Daniels Village: An Experiment in Settlement Archaeology. Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Brown University, Providence, RI. Bisiker, W. 1902 Across Iceland. London: Edward Arnold. Holmes, Edwin F. 1985 A History of Thimbles. New York, London and Toronto: Cornwall Books. Gestsson, Gísli 1959 Gröf í Öræfum. Árbók hins Íslenzka Fornleifafélags 1959: 5-87. Gestsson, Gísli, Lilja Árnadóttir and Guðrún Sveinbjarnardóttir 1987 Kúabót í Álftaveri I-VIII. Árbók hins Íslenzka Fornleifafélags 1986: 7-101. Grímsson, Þorkell 1976 Miðaldabyggð á Reyðarfelli. In Minjar og Menntir, Afmælisrit Helgað Kristjáni Eldjárn, pp. 565-576. Reykjavík: Bókaútgáfa Menningarsjóðs. Grönvold, K., Óskarsson, N., Johnsen, S.J., Clausen, H.B., Hammer, C.U., Bond, G., and Bard, E. 1995 Express letters: Ash layers from Iceland in the Greenland GRIP ice core correlated with oceanic and land sediments. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 135: 149155. Huang, H., and I.J.Won 2003 Real-time Resistivity Sounding Using a Hand-Held Broadband Electromagnetic Sensor. Geophysics 68(4). Ingvarsson, Luðvík 1987 Goðorð og Goðorðsmenn. Egilsstaðir. Jóhannesson, Haukur 1989 Aldur Hallmundarhrauns í Borgarfir›i. Fjölrit Náttúrufrœðistofnunar 9.
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Johnson, Laurence A. 1959 The Barlow knife. The Chronicle of the Early American Industries Association 12(2): 17-21. Júlíusdóttir, Sigríður 2006 The Major Churches in Iceland and Norway: A Study into the Major Churches in Skálholt Diocese and Bergen Diocese in the 11th to the 15th Centuries. Hovedoppgave i Historie ved Universitetet i Bergen. Bergen, Norway. Karlsson, Gunnar 2000 Iceland´s 1100 Years: History of a Marginal Society. Reykjavík: Mál og Menning. Magnússon, fiór 1972 Ljósmyndir Sigfúsar Eymundssonar. Reykjavík: Almenna Bókafélagi›. Morris, William 1969 Icelandic Journals by William Morris, with an introduction by James Morris. Fontwell, Sussex: Centaur Press, Ltd. Oswald, Elizabeth Jane 1881 By Fell and Fjord, or Scenes and Studies in Iceland. Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons. Ólafsson, Guðmundur 1982 Torfbærinn frá Eldaskála til Burstabæjar. Sýning frá Þjóðminjasafni Íslands, 1982. Reykjavík: Farandsýningar Útnorðursafns. Shadowitz, A. 1988 The Electromagnetic Field. New York, NY: Dover Publications Inc. Sigurgeirsson, Magnús A. 2008 Archaeological research at Skógarnes in Borgarfjörður, W-Iceland. Tephrochronological study. Unpublished manuscript. 1999 Greinargerð um gjóskulög/Report on tephra deposits. Appendix 1 in Reykholt í Borgarfirði, Framvinduskýrsla 1999, by Guðrún Sveinbjarnardóttir and Guðmundur Jónsson. Rannsóknaskýrslur 1999, Þjóðminjasafn Íslands Útminjasvið. Reykjavík: Þjóðminjasafn Íslands. 1995 Miðaldalagið. In Eyjar í Eldhafi, pp. 189-198. Reykjavík: Gott Mál. Smith, Kevin P.

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2004

1995 1991

Patterns in time and the tempo of change: a North Atlantic perspective on the evolution of complex societies. In Continuity or Change: The Role of Analytical Scale in European Archaeology, edited by James Matthieu and Rachel Scott, pp. 83-99. British Archaeology Reports, International Series. Landnám: the settlement of Iceland in archaeological and historical perspective. World Archaeology 26(3): 319-347. Háls, Borgarfjarðarsýsla: 1989 Investigations of the Háls Archaeology Project. Umpublished report on file with the National Museum of Iceland.

Snædal, Þórgunnur 2003 Rúnaristur á Íslandi. Árbók hins Íslenzka Fornleifafélags 2000-2001: 5-68. South, Stanley 1977 Research Strategies in Historical Archaeology. Academic Press, New York. 1972 Evolution and Horizon as revealed in ceramic analysis in historical archaeology. Conference on Historic Site Archaeology Papers 6: 71-116. Sveinbjarnardóttir, Guðrún 1996 Leirker á Íslandi – Pottery Found in Excavations in Iceland (Rit hins Íslenska Fornleifafélags og Þjóðminjasafns Íslands 3). Reykjavík: Háskólaútgáfan (University of Iceland Press). Won, I. J., D. Keiswetter, G. Fields, and L. Sutton. 1996 GEM-2: A New Multifrequency Electromagnetic Sensor. Journal of Environmental and Engineering Geophysics 1(2).

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Appendix 1: Finds Catalogue – Gilsbakki 2008
fijms Number 2008-34-001 Field Number G2008-001 Context Trench 1, Context 1, Y114-115 “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ Trench 1, Context 2/3, Y114-115 “ “ Age 1880-1920 Material Faunal # of objs 3 Description Unburned bones

2008-34-002 2008-34-003 2008-34-004 2008-34-005 2008-34-006 2008-34-007 2008-34-008 2008-34-009 2008-34-010 2008-34-011 2008-34-012

G2008-002 G2008-003 G2008-004 G2008-005 “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ G2008-006 G2008-007 G2008-008

“ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “

Faunal Glass Glass Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic Iron Faunal Faunal

2 5 1 8 2 5 1 1 2 1 60

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ 1860-1880

Burned bones Green glass Clear glass Plain whiteware Late blue transfer printed pearlware Plain white pearlware Late polychrome transfer printed pearlware Painted redware rimsherd Iron nails, machine cut Teeth Unburned bones (ovicaprid, med mammal; 2 fish; 2 Bos metapodials) Burned bones (61 ovicaprid,, med/lg mammal;1 fish) Teeth (ovicaprid) Fish bones Green glass (2 bottle glass, 1 flat glass) Brown glass (6 bottle glass) Clear glass (3 curved glass, 1 thin drinking vessel rim) Transfer-printed whiteware Plain whiteware Plain whiteware or pearlware, burned Late transfer-printed pearlware Late plain pearlware Plain yellow ware Porcelain/bisque doll’s head fragment w/ repair hole

2008-34-013

G2008-009

“ “

Faunal

62

2008-34014a 2008-34014b 2008-34-015 2008-34-016 2008-34-017

G2008-010 “ “ G2008-011 G2008-012 G2008-013

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

Faunal Faunal Glass Glass Glass

4 3 4 6 4

2008-34-018 2008-34-019 2008-34-020 2008-34-021 2008-34-022 2008-34-023 2008-34-024

G2008-014 “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic

7 31 8 10 17 1 1

90

2008-34-025

“ “

2008-34-026 2008-34-027 2008-34-028

G2008-015 “ “ G2008-085

Trench 1, Context 2/3, Y114-115 “ “ “ “ “ “

1860-1880

Glass

3

Milk glass

“ “ “ “ “ “

Iron Iron Iron

6 8 1

2008-34-029 2008-34-030 2008-34-031 2008-34-032

G2008-016 G2008-017 G2008-018 G2008-019

“ “ “ “ “ “ Trench 1, Context 4, Y114-115 “ “ Trench 1, Context 4, Y113-115 “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ Trench 1, Context 5, Y114-115

“ “ “ “ “ “ 1840-1860

Copper Slag Bone Faunal

1 3 1 22

Nails, machine cut Iron straps and hardware fragments Iron strap fragment, folded: 0.14 meters from surface, in profile Rivet, copper alloy Frothy smithing slag droplets Button, four-hole Unburned bones (19 ovicaprid or med mammal; 3 fish) Perforated ovicaprid metapodial Unburned bones (4 ovicaprid incl. 1 semiperforated metapodial) Burned bones (unidentified) Green glass (bottle glass) Brown glass (thin bottle glass) Blue, ribbed blown hollow-ware, bottle? Plain pearlware Transfer-printed pearlware Underglaze blue-slipped whiteware Undecorated whiteware Nails, machine cut Whetstone, distal half, Eidsborg schist Unburned bones (86 ovicaprid, lg/med mammal; 2 perforated ovicaprid metapodials; 2 Bos rib fragments; 5 fish) Burned bone fragments (ovicaprid, med mammal) 3 Teeth, ovicaprid; 2 unidentifiable bone fragments; 2 possible bird bones

2008-34-033 2008-34-034

G2008-020 G2008-021

“ “ 1840-1860

Faunal Faunal

1 4

2008-34-035 2008-34-036 2008-34-037 2008-34-038 2008-34-039 2008-34-040 2008-34-041 2008-34-042 2008-34-043 2008-34-044 2008-34-045

G2008-022 G2008-023 G2008-024 G2008-025 G2008-026 “ “ “ “ “ “ G2008-027 G2008-028 G2008-029

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ 1820-1840

Faunal Glass Glass Glass Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic Iron Schist Faunal

3 5 5 1 4 5 1 6 2 1 95

2008-34-046 2008-34-047

G2008-030 G2008-031

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

Faunal Faunal

110 7

91

2008-34-048

G2008-032

2008-34-049 2008-34-050 2008-34-051 2008-34-052 2008-34-053 2008-34-054 2008-34-055 2008-34-056

“ “ “ “ G2008-033 G2008-034 “ “ G2008-035 “ “ “ “

Trench 1, Context 5, Y114-115 “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

1820-1840

Glass

1

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

Glass Glass Glass Glass Glass Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic

7 1 6 7 3 21 1 4

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

2008-34-057

“ “

“ “

“ “

Ceramic

4

2008-34-058

“ “

“ “

“ “

Ceramic

2

2008-34-059 2008-34-060

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

Ceramic Ceramic

2 8

2008-34-061

“ “

“ “

“ “

Ceramic

5

2008-34-062 2008-34-063 2008-34-064

“ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “

Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic

17 4 1

2008-34-065 2008-34-066 2008-34-067 2008-34-068 2008-34-069 2008-34-070 2008-34-071 2008-34-072

“ “ G2008-036 “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ G2008-038 G2008-037

“ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “

Ceramic Iron Iron Iron Iron Iron Slag Copper

1 1 1 7 2 3 9 1

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

Green glass medicine bottle neck, ca. 18201850 Green, flat – window or case bottle fragments Green, bottle fragment Brown, bottle fragments Clear, flat (window?) Blue-green, bottle frags. Pearlware, undecorated, early paste Pearlware, underglaze purple-black paint Pearlware, blue transferprint, early paste (17951830) Pearlware, underglaze painted, annular bands, 1800-1830 Pearlware, embossed and underglaze painted, ca. 1800-1830 Pearlware, feather-edged blue, late, ca. 1800-1830 Pearlware, plain undecorated, late, ca. 1820-1840 Pearlware, hand-painted polychrome, ca. 18301840 Whiteware, plain, undecorated Whiteware, transferprinted, ca. 1830-1860 Yellow-ware, handpainted polychrome, ca. 1830-1840 Ironstone, 1810-1900 Kettle fragment? Carding comb tooth Nails, hand-wrought Nails, machine cut Shaft fragments, undifferentiated Smithing slag lumps Decorative copper alloy strip fragment with parallel incised lines

92

2008-34-074

G2008-039

Trench 1, Context 5, Y114-115

1820-1840

Copper

1

2008-34-075 2008-34-076

G2008-040 G2008-041

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

Iron Schist

1 1

Button, single-piece molded, rear attachment loop; concentric rings on obverse face, 3 centimeter diameter Fork, three-tined Whetstone, medial fragment, Eidsborg schist Polychrome painted glass, floral motifs (green, red, blue, orange, black), hollow-ware vessel, only exterior painted. Unburned bones (ovicaprid, fish [4], Bos [2], med/lg mammal) Burned bones (ovicaprid, med/lg mammal) Teeth Fish vertebrae, unburned Ovicprine metapodial with incised grooves, polished, yarn bobbin? Green glass, bottle glass Clear, flat – window or case bottle? Clear/light blue-green, flat, window glass Clear, pressed or molded vessel fragment Clear, molded or blown vessel (bottle?) fragments Purple, molded or blown vessel fragment Polychrome, twisted glass object, molded stem or handle fragment (clear, blue, red) Whiteware, transferprinted body sherd, 18201840 Pearlware, transferprinted, 1795-1830 Pearlware, plain, 17801840, 3 refits Pearlware, green rouletted designs, 1790-1830

2008-34-077

G2008-042

Trench 1, Context 6, Y114-115

1790-1820

Glass

1

2008-34078a 2008-34078b 2008-34-079 2008-34-080 2008-34-073

G2008-043

“ “

“ “

Faunal

23

G2008-044 G2008-045 G2008-046 G2008-086

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

Faunal Faunal Faunal Bone

33 3 4 1

2008-34-081 2008-34-082 2008-34-083 2008-34-084 2008-34-085 2008-34-086 2008-34-087

G2008-047 G2008-048 “ “ “ “ “ “ G2008-049 “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

Glass Glass Glass Glass Glass Glass Glass

6 3 1 1 2 1 1

2008-34-088

G2008-050

“ “

“ “

Ceramic

1

2008-34-089 2008-34-090 2008-34-091

“ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “

Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic

1 6 3

93

2008-34-092

“ “

2008-34-093 2008-34-094 2008-34-095 2008-34-096 2008-34-097 2008-34-098 2008-34-099 2008-34-100 2008-34-101 2008-34-102 2008-34-103

“ “ “ “ “ “ G2008-051 “ “ “ “ “ “ G2008-027 G2008-260 G2008-052 G2008-053

Trench 1, Context 6, Y114-115 “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

1790-1820

Ceramic

4

Creamware, black transfer-print, 1780-1820 Creamware, undecorated, 1762-1820 Redware, undecorated Stoneware, salt-glazed, Rhenish? Nails, hand-forged Shaft fragments U-shaped staple Flat plate or blade fragments Copper alloy spring? Copper alloy and glass (?) button Copper alloy kettle fragment Smithing slag, including vitrified hearth slag and several smithing hearth bottoms Kaolin pipe stem fragments, undecorated, 1 medial, 1 mouthpiece Copper alloy button, two pieces (refit), with selfmolded attachment loop Copper alloy stylus? Rolled sheet copper construction Thin copper ring, perhaps associated with 2008-34105? Ring, perhaps from harness? Unburned bones (ovicaprid/med-lg mammal) Burned bones (ovicaprid/med mammal) Green, bottle fragment Creamware body sherd, undecorated, 1762-1820 Pearlware, undecorated, 1780-1830 Pearlware, early transfer printed blue, 1795-1830

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic Iron Iron Iron Iron Copper Copper Copper Slag

1 1 1 9 3 1 2 1 1 1 71

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

2008-34-104

G2008-054

“ “

“ “

Ceramic

2

2008-34-105

G2008-055

“ “

“ “

Copper

1

2008-34-106

G2008-056

“ “

“ “

Copper

1

2008-34-107

G2008-057

“ “

“ “

Copper

1

2008-34-108 2008-34-109

G2008-058 G2008-059

“ “ Trench 1, Context 7, Y114-115 “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ 1750-1795

Iron Faunal

1 5

2008-34-110 2008-34-111 2008-34-112 2008-34-113 2008-34-114

G2008-060 G2008-061 G2008-062 “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

Faunal Glass Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic

5 1 1 1 1

94

2008-34-115

“ “

2008-34-116 2008-34-117 2008-34-118 2008-34-119 2008-34-120

G2008-063 “ “ “ “ G2008-064 G2008-065

Trench 1, Context 7, Y114-115 “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

1750-1795

Ceramic

1

Salt-glazed stoneware, undecorated Nails, hand-wrought Nails, machine cut Forged hardware element, function unidentified Smithing slag 10 va›mál fragments, 1 three-ply yarn fragment, 1 raw wool lump Fire-starter fragment Porcelain vessel fragment Fire starter spalls Birch bark twist, possibly handle fragment? Burned bone fragment, ovicaprid/med-mammal Nail, hand-wrought Awl, bipointed Narrow strip Unidentified objects: fragmentary, corroded Large iron-rich concretion Small corroded iron objects or fragments Smithing hearth bottom fragment 1 woolen gusset, 3 va›mál fragments, 1 raw wool lump, 2 tablet woven bands, two leather Icelandic shoe fragments Shoe sole, stitched, with local birch bark insole repair Copper alloy strap end, undecorated, with attachment hole and fragments of three copper alloy rivets. Stone sledge hammer fragment Chalcedony lump, unworked

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

Iron Iron Iron Slag Textile

6 3 1 41 12

2008-34-121 2008-34-122 2008-34-123 2008-34-124 2008-34-125

G2008-066 G2008-067 G2008-068 G2008-069 G2008-071

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

Obsidian Ceramic Jasper Bark Faunal

1 1 2 1 1

2008-34-126 2008-34-127 2008-34-128 2008-34-129 2008-34-130 2008-34-131 2008-34-132 2008-34-133

G2008-072 “ “ “ “ “ “ G2008-073 “ “ “ “ G2008-074

Trench 1, Context 8, Y114-115 “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

Ca. 16751750? “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

Iron Iron Iron Iron Iron? Iron Slag Textile and leather

1 1 1 2 1 6 1 9

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

2008-34-134

G2008-075

“ “

“ “

Leather

1

2008-34-135

G2008-076

“ “

“ “

Copper

1

2008-34-136

G2008-077

2008-34-137

G2008-078

Trench 1, Context 9, Y114-115 “ “

1600-1675?

Basalt

1

“ “

Stone

1

95

2008-34-138

G2008-079

2008-34-139 2008-34-140 2008-34-141

“ “ G2008-080 G2008-082

Trench 1, Context 10, Y114 -115 “ “ “ “ “ “

ca. 16th century “ “ “ “ “ “

Slag

1

Smithing hearth bottom

Iron Textile Basalt

1 1 1

Iron-rich concretion, embedded object? Va›mál fragment Nearly spheroidal stone ball, possibly natural but carried to the site. Small abrader/smoother with two crossing grooves on one face Woolen collar fragment, AMS dated, (AA83188) calAD 1460-1640 Unburned bones, ovicaprine and med/lg mammal Burned bones, ovicaprine and med/lg mammal Teeth, ovicaprine Green glass, bottle fragments Brown glass, bottle fragment Clear glass, drinking vessel or bottle fragments Clear glass, window pane fragments Blue-green glass, bottle fragments Plain whiteware body and rim sherds Blue transfer-printed whiteware body sherds; all from one vessel?, ca. 1820-1860 Blue underglaze slipped whiteware, ca. 1820-1840 Pearlware, late transferprinted sherds, purple, ca. 1820-1840 Pearlware, early blue transfer printed sherd, ca. 1795-1830

2008-34-142

“ “

“ “

“ “

Pumice

1

2008-34-143

G2008-083

“ “

“ “

Textile

1

2008-34-144

G2008-087

2008-34-145

G2008-088

Trench 1, Context 1, Y113-114 “ “

1880-1920

Faunal

9

“ “

Faunal

35

2008-34-146 2008-34-147 2008-34-148 2008-34-149 2008-34-150 2008-34-151 2008-34-152 2008-34-153

G2008-089 G2008-090 G2008-091 G2008-092 “ “ “ “ G2008-093 “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

Faunal Glass Glass Glass Glass Glass Ceramic Ceramic

3 5 1 3 2 3 26 4

2008-34-154 2008-34-155

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

Ceramic Ceramic

3 3

2008-34-156

“ “

“ “

“ “

Ceramic

1

96

2008-34-157

G2008-093

2008-34-158

“ “

Trench 1, Context 1, Y113-114 “ “

1880-1920

Ceramic

1

“ “

Ceramic

15

Pearlware, hand-painted polychrome body sherd, ca. 1830-1840 Pearlware, plain; body and rimsherds, 2 with repair holes. Ca. 17801840 Pearlware or whiteware, burned & undifferentiated. Unidentified hardware elements Perforated iron sickle blade fragment Small iron bits – one unidentified shaft fragment, one piece of rolled iron scrap Cut iron nails Hand-wrought nails Small, perforated loop handle with grooved terminals Small droplets of frothy smithing slag Button, broken into two parts, with single wire loop attachment on underside Porcelain/bisque doll’s head fragment – mouth, nose, and chin with red painted lips Milk glass fragment, ridged hollow-ware vessel fragment? Unburned ovicaprid + lg/med mammal bones, 19 fish, 3 Bos phalanges, 1 perforated ovicaprid metapodial Burned/calcined ovicaprid, lg, and med mammal bones. Teeth, ovicaprid Fish vertebrae

2008-34-159

“ “

“ “

“ “

Ceramic

4

2008-34-160 2008-34-161 2008-34-162

G2008-094 “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “

Iron Iron Iron

2 1 2

2008-34-163 2008-34-164 2008-34-165

“ “ “ “ G2008-095

“ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “

Iron Iron Copper

8 2 1

2008-34-166 2008-34-167

G2008-096 G2008-097

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

Slag Copper

3 1

2008-34-168

G2008-253

“ “

“ “

Ceramic

1

2008-34-169

G2008-254

“ “

“ “

Glass

1

2008-34-170

G2008-098

Trench 1, Context 2/3, Y113-114

1860-1880

Faunal

126

2008-34-171

G2008-099

“ “

“ “

Faunal

76

2008-34-172 2008-34-173

G2008-100 G2008-101

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

Faunal Faunal

5 8

97

2008-34-174

G2008-102

Trench 1, Context 2/3, Y113-114

1860-1880

Glass

1

2008-34-175 2008-34-176 2008-34-177 2008-34-178

“ “ G2008-103 “ “ G2008-104

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

Glass Glass Glass Glass

7 2 1 9

2008-34-179 2008-34-180

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

Glass Glass

4 4

2008-34-181

“ “

“ “

“ “

Glass

4

2008-34182a 2008-34182b 2008-34-183

“ “ G2008-105 “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “

Glass Ceramic Ceramic

1 1 2

2008-34-184 2008-34-185

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

Ceramic Ceramic

2 35

2008-34-186 2008-34-187

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

Ceramic Ceramic

2 1

2008-34-188

“ “

“ “

“ “

Ceramic

4

2008-34-189

“ “

“ “

“ “

Ceramic

1

Green glass bottle neck, mold decorated bottle or flask with self-formed, non-applied annealed lip, ca. pre-1860 Green glass bottle fragments. Brown glass bottle fragments Brown glass, extremely thin bottle neck fragment Clear glass (flint glass) vessel fragments, including three rejoining rim fragments. Small drinking vessel or bottle with very thin walls Clear glass/bluish tint window glass Clear glass bottle fragments, including one rim fragment Blue-green, clear glass bottle fragments from at least two vessels Partially melted clear glass fragment Ironstone open bowl rim, ca. 1820-1900 Transfer-printed whiteware, red/brown, one with partial maker’s mark, ca. 1830-1850 Underglaze blue-slipped whiteware, ca. 1820-1840 Plain, undecorated whiteware sherds, 2 with repair holes. Yellow ware sherd, ca. 1830-1840 Polychrome underglaze, hand-painted pearlware, ca. 1830-1840 Pearlware, late transferprinted sherds, ca. 18201840 Pearlware, annular banded rim sherd, ca. 1800-1830

98

2008-34-190

“ “

2008-34-191

“ “

Trench 1, Context 2/3, Y113-114 “ “

1860-1880

Ceramic

17

“ “

Ceramic

2

2008-34-192 2008-34-193 2008-34-194 2008-34-195

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic

2 1 1 1

2008-34-196 2008-34-197 2008-34-198 2008-34-199 2008-34-200 2008-34-201 2008-34-202 2008-34-203 2008-34-204 2008-34-205 2008-34-206 2008-34-207 2008-34-208

G2008-106 “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ G2008-107 “ “ G2008-108 “ “ G2008-109 G2008-255 G2008-110

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ Trench 1, Context 1, Y112-113 “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ 1880-1920

Iron Iron Iron Iron Iron Iron Copper Copper Slag Coal Textile Glass Faunal

1 1 1 4 8 1 1 1 2 2 7 4 1

Pearlware, plain, undecorated, ca. 17801840 Pearlware, underglazepainted decoration, blue/black/purple; ca. 1770-1820 Gilded/copper glazed redware rim sherds (refit) Tin-glazed body sherd?, burned White-slipped glazed redware Black burnished redware pipkin fragments, 1 tripod or handle attachment, 1 spout Ox shoe half Rivet rove plate, cut off Rivet with rove plate attached Nails, hand-wrought Metal plate fragments Curved shaft fragment, nail? Half-moon sheet copper alloy scrap Copper alloy button fragment or sequin Light, frothy smithing slag fragments Small fragments of anthracite coal Woolen cloth Milk glass, ridged glass hollow-ware fragments. Unburned bone

2008-34-209 2008-34-210 2008-34-211 2008-34-212

G2008-111 G2008-112 G2008-113 “ “

“ “ “ “ ““ “ “

Faunal Glass Glass Glass

14 2 2 1

Burned/calcined bone fragments Green bottle glass fragments Clear, bluish-tint, window glass fragments Clear, thin vessel fragment, perhaps same vessel as 2008-34-178

99

2008-34-213

G2008-114

2008-34-214

“ “

Trench 1, Context 1, Y112-113 “ “

1880-1920

Ceramic

1

Yellow-ware, smudged, ca. 1830-1940 Whiteware, late transferprints, black, brown and blue; four refits Whiteware, plain/undecorated Pearlware, hand-painted polychrome Pearlware, plain, undecorated Undifferentiated white past earthenware Wire nail Machine-cut nails Iron objects – 1 perforated attachment strip, 1 attachment plate (perhaps for a lock?) Burned/calcined fish bone fragment? Unburned bones and fragments, ovicaprid, Bos (5), fish (25), med and lg mammal Perforated ovicaprid metapodials Burned/calcined bone fragments Teeth (3) and fishbone (1) Dark green bottle fragments, including two bases; one with “improved pontil” – post 1860 and the other with high kick-up Light blue-green bottle rim fragments, refit. Selfformed, fired rim. Brown bottle fragments Brown bottle fragment with shoulder seam from snap-case mold, post1860 Brown glass medicine bottle rim fragment

“ “

Ceramic

7

2008-34-215 2008-34-216

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

Ceramic Ceramic

10 1

2008-34-217 2008-34-218 2008-34-219 2008-34-220 2008-34-221

G2008-114 “ “ G2008-115 “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

Ceramic Ceramic Iron Iron Iron

5 1 1 3 2

2008-34-222 2008-34-223

G2008-256 G2008-116

“ “ Trench 1, Context 2/3, Y112-113 “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ 1860-1880

Faunal Faunal

1 122

2008-34-224 2008-34-225 2008-34-226 2008-34-227

“ “ G2008-117 G2008-118 G2008-119

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

Faunal Faunal Faunal Glass

6 51 4 18

2008-34-228

“ “

“ “

“ “

Glass

2

2008-34-229 2008-34-230

G2008-120 “ “

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

Glass Glass

7 1

2008-34-231

“ “

“ “

“ “

Glass

1

100

2008-34-232

G2008-121

2008-34-233

“ “

Trench 1, Context 2/3, Y112-113 “ “

1860-1880

Glass

12

Clear glass window pane fragments Clear glass window pane fragments with glazing compounds from lead mounts? Clear glass, pressed or molded vessel fragment Clear glass/crystal stopper from a decanter Clear glass base from drinking glass Clear glass fragments of a drinking glass, perhaps linked to 2008-34-236 Clear glass bottle fragments Clear glass, very thin drinking vessel or bottle fragments, perhaps linked to 2008-34-178 Whiteware, late transferprinted, ca. 1850-1880 Whiteware, flow blue, ca. 1840-1850 Whiteware, transferprinted, ca. 1830-1850 Whiteware, annular banded, ca. 1830-1860 Whiteware, hand-painted polychrome decoration, ca. 1830-1850 Pearlware, hand-painted polychrome decoration, ca. 1830-1850 Pearlware, transferprinted, ca. 1820-1840 Pearlware, annular banded, ca. 1800-1830 Pearlware, plain, ca. 17801840 Pearlware, plain, with repair hole Whiteware, plain Whiteware, plain, with repair holes White salt-glazed stoneware, ca. 1720-1805

“ “

Glass

2

2008-34-234 2008-34-235 2008-34-236 2008-34-237

“ “ “ “ “ “ G2008-121

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

Glass Glass Glass Glass

1 1 1 3

2008-34-238 2008-34-239

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

Glass Glass

4 14

2008-34-240 2008-34-241 2008-34-242 2008-34-243 2008-34-244

G2008-122 “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic

2 1 13 1 3

2008-34-245

“ “

“ “

“ “

Ceramic

3

2008-34-246 2008-34-247 2008-34-248 2008-34-249 2008-34-250 2008-34-251 2008-34-252

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic

14 1 76 1 109 2 1

101

2008-34-253

“ “

2008-34-254

“ “

Trench 1, Context 2/3, Y112-113 “ “

1860-1880

Ceramic

1

Brown salt-glazed stoneware, Rhenish? Lt. brown salt-glazed stoneware, rim-sherd, small open pot Black-burnished redware, 4 body sherds and 1 tripod leg; similar to 2008-34-195 Undifferentiated and/or burned white paste earthenware 2 fragments of a broken object, perhaps a latch mechanism – lock? Links or linking mechanisms Curved iron rod – key element? Attachment strips with rivet (a) and non-ferrous loop for hanging object Three iron shaft fragments, perhaps cut nails; one longer, thin shaft fragment – perhaps a broken tool Turned screw Strap fragments, various sizes, one perforated Machine-cut iron nails Hand-wrought iron nails Iron lump, probably nail Button, four-hole, holes broken through; design on obverse side? Small bent copper alloy strip, undecorated Glassy, frothy smithing slag Iron button (?) with nonferrous (copper alloy?) covering on outer face and rivet-like attachment point on inner face. Early plastic two-piece button, celluloid?

“ “

Ceramic

1

2008-34-255

“ “

“ “

“ “

Ceramic

5

2008-34-256

“ “

“ “

“ “

Ceramic

3

2008-34-257

G2008-123

“ “

“ “

Iron

2

2008-34-258 2008-34-259 2008-34-260

“ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “

Iron Iron Iron

2 1 2

2008-34-261

“ “

“ “

“ “

Iron

4

2008-34-262 2008-34-263 2008-34-264 2008-34-265 2008-34-266 2008-34-267

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ G2008-124

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

Iron Iron Iron Iron Iron Tin?

1 4 7 7 1 1

2008-34-268 2008-34-269 2008-34-270 2008-34-271

“ “ G2008-125 G2008-126 G2008-127

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

Copper Slag Textiles Iron

1 2

1

2008-34-272

“ “

“ “

“ “

Celluloid

1

102

2008-34-273

G2008-128

Trench 1, Context 2/3, Y112-113 “ “

1860-1880

Copper

1

2008-34-274

G2008-129

“ “

Plastic

1

2008-34-275

G2008-130

“ “

“ “

Obsidian

1

Thimble (2 pieces); 19th century type – rolled rim and pressed/drawn metal forming. Vulcanite comb fragment, Victorian, black, singlesided, fine-toothed, with two lines of decoration, dots and snowflakes, ca. 1850-1890 Unmodified pebble

2008-34-276

G2008-257

“ “

“ “

Ceramic

1

2008-34-277

G2008-258

“ “

“ “

Glass

2

Bisque/porcelain doll fragment, hair – painted light yellow Milk glass fragments – one everted ornate rim, one ridged fragment, like others Unburned bones, 1 Bos, 1 ovicaprid 1 burned bone fragment Green bottle glass fragments, one partial base, appears to be blown into mold, post 1860s Clear glass bottle base, blown-in dip mold, improved pontil mark on base, ca. 1845-1875 Clear, bottle or drinking vessel fragment Clear window pane fragments Whiteware, undecorated Hand-painted polychrome whiteware, ca. 1830-1840 Plain pearlware, undecorated, late paste, ca. 1820-1840 Plain pearlware, undifferentiated paste, ca. 1780-1840 Nail, machine cut, late

2008-34-278

G2008-131

2008-34-279 2008-34-280

G2008-132 G2008-133

Trench 1, Context 1, Y111-112 “ “ “ “

1880-1920

Faunal

2

“ “ “ “

Faunal Glass

1 2

2008-34-281

G2008-134

“ “

“ “

Glass

1

2008-34-282 2008-34-283 2008-34-284 2008-34-285

“ “ “ “ G2008-135 “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

Glass Glass Ceramic Ceramic

1 3 6 1

2008-34-286

“ “

“ “

“ “

Ceramic

4

2008-34-287

“ “

“ “

“ “

Ceramic

4

2008-34-288

“ “

“ “

“ “

Iron

1

103

2008-34-289

G2008-137

2008-34-290 2008-34-291

G2008-138 G2008-139

Trench 1, Context 1-4, Y110-111 “ “ “ “

1840-1860?

Faunal

1

1 Bos maxillary fragment; 1 wood sample 2 burned bone fragments Green glass bottle fragment, free blown with multiple flow bubbles Flint glass drinking vessel fragments, one like 2008-34-239; two thicker but perhaps from same vessel Flat window pane fragments, 3 light bluegreen tint, 1 light blue tint Ribbed blue glass bottle or vessel fragment, like 2008-34-038 Ironstone body sherd Plain whiteware body sherds Pearlware, annular banded rimsherd, ca. 1800-1830 Plain pearlware bodysherd Hand-wrought nails Kaolin clay pipe stem fragment, medial segment Unburned bones, ovicaprid and/or med. mammal Burned/calcined bone fragments Tooth, Bos Green glass bottle fragments Green window or case bottle fragments Brown glass bottle fragments Clear window glass fragments (4 with slight bluish tint, 5 clear glass) Clear glass bottle frags Whiteware, plain and undecorated

“ “ “ “

Faunal Glass

2 1

2008-34-292

G2008-140

“ “

“ “

Glass

3

2008-34-293

“ “

“ “

“ “

Glass

4

2008-34-294

G2008-141

“ “

“ “

Glass

1

2008-34-295 2008-34-296 2008-34-297 2008-34-298 2008-34-299 2008-34-300 2008-34-301

G2008-142 “ “ “ “ “ “ G2008-143 G2008-144 G2008-145

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ Trench 2, Context 1, Y118-120.5 “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ 1880-1920

Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic Iron Ceramic Faunal

1 2 1 1 3 1 3

2008-34-302 2008-34-303 2008-34-304 2008-34-305 2008-34-306 2008-34-307

G2008-146 G2008-147 G2008-148 “ “ G2008-149 G2008-150

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

Faunal Faunal Glass Glass Glass Glass

22 1 6 6 7 9

2008-34-308 2008-34-309

“ “ G2008-151

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

Glass Ceramic

2 35

104

2008-34-310

“ “

2008-34-311

“ “

Trench 2, Context 1, Y118-120.5 “ “

1880-1920

Ceramic

1

Whiteware, plain with repair hole Pearlware, hand-painted polychrome design, ca. 1830-1850 Pearlware, transferprinted, purple/blue, ca. 1820-1840 Pearlware, annular banded with embossed, painted rim, ca. 1800-1830 Pearlware, plain, ca. 17801840 Pearlware, plain, with repair hole European porcelain tea cup fragments, plain, ca. 1794-1950 Undifferentiated white paste earthenware (pearlware or whiteware) undecorated/burned Redware, lead-glazed with manganese spots Brown salt-glazed stoneware Iron strap fragment, curled Possible screwdriver bit or punch Wire-formed, round headed, chisel-bit bolt Machine cut nails Hand-wrought nails Small hooks with naillike ends Four blobs of frothy, glassy smithing slag Whetstone, small. Finegrained schist. NonEidsborg. Medial frag. Obsidian pebble, unmodified but transported to site Very dark green/black bottle fragment (field bagged as obsidian)

“ “

Ceramic

1

2008-34-312

“ “

“ “

“ “

Ceramic

2

2008-34-313

“ “

“ “

“ “

Ceramic

1

2008-34-314 2008-34-315 2008-34-316

G2008-151 “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “

Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic

6 1 2

2008-34-317

“ “

“ “

“ “

Ceramic

4

2008-34-318 2008-34-319 2008-34-320 2008-34-321 2008-34-322 2008-34-323 2008-34-324 2008-34-325 2008-34-326 2008-34-327 2008-34-328

“ “ “ “ G2008-152 “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ G2008-153 G2008-154 G2008-155

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

Ceramic Ceramic Iron Iron Iron Iron Iron Iron Slag Textile Schist

11 1 1 1 1 2 3 2 4 1 1

2008-34-329

G2008-156

“ “

“ “

Stone

1

2008-34-330

“ “

“ “

“ “

Glass

1

105

2008-34-331

G2008-157

Trench 2, Context 1, Y118-120.5

1880-1920

Stone

1

Chalcedony/opal fragment, perhaps firestarter fragment or transported natural stone? Chalcedony or spar? Natural, unmodified stone transported to site Unburned bones, ovicaprid, medium mammal, and unidentified fragments 12 burned/calcined bone fragments Teeth, ovicaprid Fish bone Green glass bottle fragments, including two refitting pieces of one large bottle base with open pontil mark, pre1870 Green glass window pane fragments Heavy brown glass bottle fragments, including one with case-mold seam on shoulder, post 1840 Clear/light blue-green window pane fragments Thin, clear/flint glass vessel fragments, much like 2008-34-292, -239, 212, -178 Clear glass fragments from a facetted open vessel or drinking glass Whiteware, late transfer prints, ca. 1850-1880 Whiteware, transferprinted, early, 1820-1860 Whiteware, plain Pearlware, undecorated, late fabric, ca. 1810-1830 Pearlware, blue feather or shell edged plate fragment, ca. 1800-1830 Pearlware, annular banded rim sherd, ca. 1800-1830

2008-34-332

G2008-158

“ “

“ “

Stone

1

2008-34-333

G2008-159

Trench 2, Context 1-3, Y115.5-118 “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

1830-1920

Faunal

15

2008-34-334 2008-34-335 2008-34-336 2008-34-337

G2008-160 G2008-161 G2008-162 G2008-163

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

Faunal Faunal Faunal Glass

12 4 1 8

2008-34-338 2008-34-339

“ “ G2008-164

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

Glass Glass

6 9

2008-34-340 2008-34-341

G2008-165 “ “

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

Glass Glass

27 15

2008-34-342

“ “

“ “

“ “

Glass

2

2008-34-343 2008-34-344 2008-34-345 2008-34-346 2008-34-347

G2008-166 “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic

4 5 40 3 1

2008-34-348

“ “

“ “

“ “

Ceramic

1

106

2008-34-349

“ “

2008-34-350

“ “

Trench 2, Context 1-3, Y115.5-118 “ “

1830-1920

Ceramic

3

Pearlware, under-glaze painted, blue, 1775-1820 14 body/rim sherds and 3 handle fragments, plain pearlware, ca. 1780-1830 Yellow/white glazed stoneware rimsherd. English, ca. 1830-1870? Brown-glazed stoneware vessel fragment Exfoliated redware body sherd Iron [-shaped cleat Strip or hoop fragments Rod/strip, possible knife tang or semi-fabricated object Wire nail mid-shaft or just drawn iron wire Machine-cut nails; four later in form, four earlier 19th century Hand-wrought nails Punches Scrap lead sheet fragments Light, glassy/frothy smithing slag pieces; one spheroid Three fragments of anthracite or dense bituminous coal. See also 2008-34-205 Blue glass bead, partially melted or malformed? Hole does not pass fully through. Whetstone/bryni; distal fragment. Probably Eidsborg schist. Unburned bone, unidentified, possibly fish Burned bone fragment Bottle glass body fragment Window glass, green

“ “

Ceramic

17

2008-34-351

“ “

“ “

“ “

Ceramic

1

2008-34-352 2008-34-353 2008-34-354 2008-34-355 2008-34-356

“ “ “ “ G2008-167 “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

Ceramic Ceramic Iron Iron Iron

1 1 1 3 1

2008-34-357 2008-34-358

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

Iron Iron

1 8

2008-34-359 2008-34-360 2008-34-361 2008-34-362

“ “ “ “ G2008-168 G2008-169

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

Iron Iron Lead Slag

4 2 2 12

2008-34-363 2008-34-364

G2008-170 G2008-171

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

Textile Coal

1 3

2008-34-365

G2008-172

“ “

“ “

Glass

1

2008-34-366

G2008-173

“ “

“ “

Schist

1

2008-34-367

G2008-174

2008-34-368 2008-34-369 2008-34-370

G2008-175 G2008-176 “ “

Trench 2, Context 1b, Y118-120.5 “ “ “ “ “ “

1880-1890

Faunal

1

“ “ “ “ “ “

Faunal Glass Glass

1 1 1

107

2008-34-371

G2008-176

2008-34-372 2008-34-373 2008-34-374

“ “ “ “ G2008-177

Trench 2, Context 1b, Y118-120.5 “ “ “ “ “ “

1880-1890

Glass

7

Clear window glass, one with glazing from lead Molded clear glass bottle or vessel fragment Hand-blown, annealed, rimless bottle neck, clear Transfer-printed blue whiteware sherd, 18151920 White paste earthenware (1 pearlware, 1 whiteware, undifferentiated) sherds, undecorated, burned Yellow-glazed stone-ware ink or ale bottle base, ca. 1830-1870 Diamond-shaped awl or punch Chisel pointed machinecut nail Machine-cut nail Anthracite or hard bituminous coal, see 2008-34-205 and -364 Unburned bones, ovicaprid, med. mammal, and unident. Burned bones and bone fragments, ovicaprid, med. mammal Teeth, Bos? Green bottle fragments Brown-green/brown bottle fragments Clear glass, bluish tint, window pane fragments Whiteware, late transferprint, ca. 1850-1880 Whiteware, transferprinted, ca. 1830-1860 Whiteware, plain Hand-painted polychrome pearlware handle, ca. 1830-1850 Transfer-printed pearlware, late, ca. 1820-1840 Pearlware,1780-1840

““ “ “ “ “

Glass Glass Ceramic

1 1 1

2008-34-375

“ “

“ “

“ “

Ceramic

4

2008-34-376

“ “

“ “

“ “

Ceramic

1

2008-34-377 2008-34-378 2008-34-379 2008-34-380

G2008-178 “ “ “ “ G2008-179

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

Iron Iron Iron Coal

1 1 1 1

2008-34-381

G2008-180

2008-34-382

G2008-181

Trench 2, Context 2, Y118-120.5 “ “

1830-1880

Faunal

12

“ “

Faunal

5

2008-34-383 2008-34-384 2008-34-385 2008-34-386 2008-34-387 2008-34-388 2008-34-389 2008-34-390

G2008-182 G2008-183 G2008-184 G2008-185 G2008-186 “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

Faunal Glass Glass Glass Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic

3 3 6 3 2 1 18 1

2008-34-391 2008-34-392

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

Ceramic Ceramic

1 10

108

2008-34-393

G2008-187

2008-34-394 2008-34-395

“ “ G2008-188

Trench 2, Context 2, Y118-120.5 “ “ “ “

1830-1880

Iron

2

Machine-cut nails

“ “ “ “

Iron Glass

2 3

2008-35-396 2008-34-397 2008-34-398 2008-34-399

G2008-189 G2008-190 G2008-260 G2008-191

“ “ “ “ “ “ Trench 2, Context 3,
Y117..5-118.6

“ “ “ “ “ “ 1790-1830

Ceramic Stone Copper Faunal

1 1 1 4

Hand-wrought nails Green glass bottle fragments (either panel or case bottle) Redware tripod leg, split in half (refits) Chalcedony/opal, natural Spring, furniture or bed? Similar to 2008-34-100 Unburned bones, ovicaprid, med. animal Burned bone fragments Tooth Green glass bottle fragments, including one base fragment with sandpontil scar; pre-1860 Light green window glass fragment; 17.40 m S, 10.20 meters E, 3.82 m below datum Brown bottle fragment Clear window pane frag Hand-painted polychrome pearlware, ca. 1830-1840 Plain pearlware, ca. 17801840 Undecorated creamware, ca. 1775-1820 Chinese underglaze blue porcelain cup fragment; 17.45 m S, 10.20 m E, 3.82 m below datum Strap/hoop fragment Machine cut nail Kaolin pipe stem fragment, medial, undecorated; 17.40 S, 10.20 E, 3.82 m below datum, on contact between 003 and 004 Knife blade, distal end. “Find 1” – see plan for location

2008-34-400 2008-34-401 2008-34-402

G2008-192 G2008-193 G2008-194

“ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “

Faunal Faunal Glass

2 1 3

2008-34-403

“ “

“ “

“ “

Glass

1

2008-34-404 2008-34-405 2008-34-406

G2008-195 G2008-196 G2008-197

“ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “

Glass Glass Ceramic

1 1 2

2008-34-407 2008-34-408 2008-34-409

“ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “

Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic

2 5 1

2008-34-410 2008-34-411 2008-34-412

G2008-198 “ “ G2008-199

“ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “

Iron Iron Ceramic

1 1 1

2008-34-413

G2008-200

“ “

“ “

Iron

1

109

2008-34-415

G2008-201

2008-34-416 2008-34-417 2008-34-418

G2008-202 G2008-203 G2008-204

Trench 2, Context 4, Y118-120.5 “ “ “ “ “ “

1750-1790

Faunal

2

“ “ “ “ “ “

Faunal Faunal Glass

1 6 4

Unburned bone fragments, 1 med mammal, 1 fish Burned bone fragment, med. mammal Teeth, Bos? Green glass bottle fragments, perhaps case bottle type Clear glass window pane fragments, light bluegreen Clear glass bottle fragments Pearlware, plain, ca. 17801840 Creamware, plain, ca. 1775-1820 Unidentified white earthenware, burned Yellow-slipped redware Gray salt-glazed stoneware, German? (refit) Rove plate for rivet Hand-wrought nail Smithing hearth bottom with copper alloy oxides (FS 2:004-1 Perforated strip, hinge or latch hardware? (FS 2:004-2) Whetstone/bryni fragment, lateral/medial, Eidsborg schist (FS 2:004-3) Nail or awl, possibly reused as a wall-mounted hanging hook (FS 2:004-4) Smithing hearth bottom (FS 2:004-5) 26 Unburned (ovicaprid, med. mammal, unid.) bones, 1 Bos vertebra, 3 Bos phalanges Burned bones, 1 Bos phalange

2008-34-419

G2008-205

“ “

“ “

Glass

3

2008-34-420 2008-34-421 2008-34-422 2008-34-423 2008-34-424 2008-34-425

“ “ G2008-206 “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

Glass Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic Ceramic

2 1 1 1 1 2

2008-34-426 2008-34-427 2008-34-428

G2008-207 “ “ G2008-208

“ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “

Iron Iron Slag

1 1 1

2008-34-429

G2008-209

“ “

“ “

Iron

1

2008-34-430

G2008-210

“ “

“ “

Schist

1

2008-34-431

G2008-211

“ “

“ “

Iron

1

2008-34-432 2008-34-433

G2008-212 G2008-213

“ “ Trench 2, Context 5, Y118-120.5 “ “

“ “ 1675-1750

Slag Faunal

1 27

2008-34-434

G2008-214

“ “

Faunal

3

110

2008-34-435

G2008-215

2008-34-436

G2008-216

Trench 2, Context 5, Y118-120.5 “ “

ca.16751750 “ “

Faunal

5

Teeth, ovicaprid

Glass

4

2008-34-437 2008-34-438 2008-34-439 2008-34-440 2008-34-441

“ “ “ “ G2008-217 “ “ G2008-218

“ “

“ “

Glass Glass

4 1 1 1 1

“ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “

Glass Glass Ceramic

2008-34-442 2008-34-443 2008-34-444 2008-34-445 2008-34-446 2008-34-447

G2008-219 “ “ G2008-219 “ “ G2008-220 “ “

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

Iron Iron Iron Iron Copper Copper

2 5 10 1 1 1

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

2008-34-448 2008-34-449

“ “ G2008-221

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

Copper Slag

1 2

2008-34-450 2008-34-451

G2008-224 G2008-225

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

Basalt Copper

1 1

2008-34-452 2008-34-453

G2008-226 G2008-227

“ “ Trench 2, Context 6, Y118-120.5 “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ Trench 2, Context 7, Y118-120.5

“ “ ca. 16001675? “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

Faunal Faunal

1 12

Green flat glass fragments, window pane or case bottle? Dark green bottle fragments Thin, blue-green vessel fragment Flat glass fragment Vessel fragment Tin-glazed whiteware, burned, with scratched underglaze decoration, ca. 1610-1780 Shaft fragments Machine-cut nails Hand-wrought nails Rivet with clench bolt and rove intact Triangular scrap, copper alloy Decorated copper alloy furnishing attachment, floral decoration Copper alloy link Smithing hearth bottom and fragmentary smithing hearth bottom Whetstone made from local Icelandic stone Thimble, 17th/18th century type; 15.30 m S, 10.30 m E, 3.67 m below datum, (FS 2:005-1) Perforated ovicaprid metapodial Unburned bones, ovicaprid, med. mammal, unidentified Burned bone? Teeth, ovicaprid Hand-wrought nail Pocket knife, (FS 2:006-1) Unburned bones, ovicaprid; one perforated metapodial

2008-34-454 2008-34-455 2008-34-456 2008-34-457 2008-34-458

G2008-228 G2008-229 G2008-230 G2008-231 G2008-232

Faunal Faunal Iron Iron Faunal

1 4 1 1 4

Ca. 15251600?

111

2008-34-459

G2008-233

2008-34-460

G2008-234

Trench 2, Context 7, Y118-120.5 “ “

Ca. 15251600? “ “

Faunal

6

Teeth

Ceramic

1

2008-34-461 2008-34-462 2008-34-463 2008-34-464 2008-34-465

“ “ G2008-235 “ “ “ “ G2008-236

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ Trench 2, Context 8, Y118-120.5 “ “ “ “ “ “

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ Ca. 14501525? “ “ “ “ “ “

Ceramic Iron Iron Iron Faunal

1 1 8 1 1

Gray salt-glazed stoneware body sherd, Rhenish? Exfoliated redware body sherd. Punch? Hand-wrought nails Iron lump, nail head? Unburned bone, Bos humerus Teeth, ovicaprid, 1 Bos Hand-wrought nail Amorphous smithing or smelting slag

2008-34-466 2008-34-467 2008-34-468

G2008-237 G2008-238 G2008-239

Faunal Iron Slag

10 1 1

2008-34-469

G2008-240

2008-34-470

G2008-241

Trench 2, Context 9, Y118-120.5 “ “

1400-1450?

Faunal

1

“ “

Faunal

1

2008-34-471 2008-34-472

G2008-242 G2008-243

“ “ Trench 2, Context 9a, Y118-120.5 “ “ Trench 2, Context 10, Y118-120.5

“ “ 1400-1450?

Iron Faunal

1 3

Unburned bone, large mammal, probably Bos, poor condition Burned bone, medium mammal, probably ovicaprid Hand-wrought nail Unburned bone, medium mammal, probably ovicaprid, poor condition, possibly all one bone Thin iron rod, medial fragment (2 refit) Unburned bone fragments, poor condition, ovicaprid and Bos?. One metapodial fragment submitted for AMS dating (AA83187, 560±54 bp, calAD 13141423, 1σ; calAD 12971437, 2 σ) Decayed bone fragments Teeth, ovicaprid? Nails, hand-wrought Key? Curved knife blade? (FS 2:010-1) Fire-starter spall

2008-34-473 2008-34-474

G2008-244 G2008-245

“ “ Ca. 13001400

Iron Faunal

1 10

2008-34-475 2008-34-476 2008-34-477 2008-34-478 2008-34-479

G2008-246 G2008-247 G2008-248 G2008-249 G2008-250

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

“ “ “ “

Faunal Faunal Iron Iron Obsidian

3 2 3 1 1

“ “

“ “

112

2008-34-480

G2008-251

2008-34-481

G2008-252

Trench 2, Context 12, Y118-120.5 “ “

Ca. 12001300? “ “

Faunal

1

Tooth, ovicaprid

Textile

1

Woolen, fine tabby weave scrap.

113

Appendix 2: Conversion table for bag labels and the Gilsbakki coordinate system
When work began at Gilsbakki in 2008, all measurements were made south and west of two preliminary perpendicular baselines that were extended westward and southward from a point just west of the front door of the 1950s house. As the scale of the site and the areas covered by dense cultural deposits became apparent, a coordinate grid was established with numbers increasing eastward along the X-axis and northwards along the Y-axis. Coring and excavation began before the X/Y grid was established and, therefore, bags from the site are marked with labels oriented to the original west and south baselines. A field recovery bag for ceramics from Context 1 in the northernmost 1x1 m section of Trench 1, for example, would be labeled “Ceramics, Trench 1, Context 1, 20-21 m S”, while ceramics from Context 1 in the southernmost 1x1 m section of Trench 1 would be labeled “Ceramics, Trench 1, Context 1, 24-25 m S”. In processing artifacts from the site, the original bags and bag labels with the “m South” coordinates were retained, but the X/Y coordinates were transposed for the S/W coordinate system on the consolidated catalogue printed in this report. The following table provides the key for transforming the original W/S coordinate locations to the X/Y system:

Bag label
Trench 1 20-21 m S 21-22 m S 22-23 m S 23-24 m S 24-25 m S Trench 2 14.5-15.5 m S 15.5-16.5 m S 16.5-17.5 m S 17.5-18.5 m S 18.5-19.5 m S 14.5-17.0 m S 17.0-19.5 m S

Grid coordinates
X120-121, Y114-115 X120-121, Y113-114 X120-121, Y112-113 X120-121, Y111-112 X120-121, Y110-111

X111-112, Y119.5-120.5 X111-112, Y118.5-119.5 X111-112, Y117.5-118.5 X111-112, Y116.5-117.5 X111-112, Y115.5-116.5 X111-112, Y118.0-120.5 X111-112, Y115.5-118.0

114

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