AAA Annual Meeting Program

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Paper Information:
This paper may be of particular interest to:  Practicing and Applied Anthropologists   
Type: Paper
Paper Title: THINKING LOCALLY ABOUT ACTING GLOBALLY: A NORTH ATLANTIC ROCK OPERA IN THREE ACTS
Author: KEVIN SMITH (Brown University)   
Date/Time: Thu., 3:30 PM
Co-Author(s): KEVIN SMITH (Brown University) 
Abstract: The expansion of Norse settlers and explorers in the 9th and 10th centuries from their Scandinavian homelands marks one of the pre-industrial world's greatest diasporic migrations and resulted in the establishment of viable nations, short-lived colonies, and ephemeral exploration bases in Iceland, Greenland, and North America. In the centuries following the initial period of expansion, decentralized complex societies in Iceland developed and evolved into centralized polities, mirroring processes of state formation inferred in other parts of the world. While indigenous Icelandic texts provide remarkable insights into these political processes, the economic structures on which Icelandic polities were built were of less interest to medieval authors and remain largely under-explored by historians and by archaeologists. This paper reports on a series of pilot projects using K-Ar dating, Electron Spin Resonance, and Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis to characterize schist and jasper objects and to use the distribution of sourced materials to monitor and to reconstruct the movement of people and of objects around and through these North Atlantic nodes. Three case studies will be considered: the use of schist whetstones to document patterns of international trade with and within Iceland during the early medieval period, the potential for using jasper to monitor mobility and perhaps ritually charged events within Iceland, and the role of jasper for tracking the movement of explorers into the farther depths of the North Atlantic, even to and from North American shores.

Program Number: 2-0800
Session Title: MOTION CHECK: ARCHAEOLOGICAL INSIGHTS ON THE CIRCULATION OF SUBJECTS AND OBJECTS
Session Sponsor: Archaeology Division
Session Date/Time: Thu., 1:45 PM-5:30 PM
Organizer(s): DAVID PETERSON, ALAN GREENE (University of Chicago) 
Chair(s): SARAH GRAFF (University of Chicago)  
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