What Imported Viking Age and Medieval Artifacts Can Tell Us about Trade and Exchange in Mývatn, Iceland
ABSTRACT: The Mývatn region in northern Iceland has been receiving archaeological attention since at least the nineteenth century, with more intensive work having been carried out by Fornleifastofnun Íslands (FSÍ) in the late twentieth century, continuing to the present. The archaeological evidence suggests that Mývatn has been a region onto itself since the Settlement Period of Iceland through to the end of the Viking age. Imported goods such as whetstones and steatite demonstrate tell-tale characteristics of objects traded for in low quantities and over infrequent time periods. This article examines how Mývatn Icelanders were able to partially connect to the continental trade in beads, the Baltic trade in flint, and to other European trade networks operating between the 9th and 15th centuries, and to what extent these networks were able to influence the early Mývatn economy.