Into the Ocean: Vikings, Irish, and Environmental Change in Iceland and the North

Into the Ocean: Vikings, Irish, and Environmental Change in Iceland and the North

Weight 0.00 lbs
By Kristján Ahronson
Toronto Old Norse-Icelandic Series (TONIS)
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2014
World Rights
264 Pages 79 Images
ISBN 9781442646179
Published Mar 2015
Online discount: 25%
 $80.00    $60.00
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442665088
Published Feb 2015
Online discount: 25%
Full purchase $80.00

That Gaelic monasticism flourished in the early medieval period is well established. The “Irish School” penetrated large areas of Europe and contemporary authors describe North Atlantic travels and settlements. Across Scotland and beyond, Celtic-speaking communities spread into the wild and windswept north, marking hundreds of Atlantic settlements with carved and rock-cut sculpture. They were followed in the Viking Age by Scandinavians who dominated the Atlantic waters and settled the Atlantic rim.

With Into the Ocean, Kristján Ahronson makes two dramatic claims: that there were people in Iceland almost a century before Viking settlers first arrived c. AD 870, and that there was a tangible relationship between the early Christian “Irish” communities of the Atlantic zone and the Scandinavians who followed them.

Ahronson uses archaeological, paleoecological, and literary evidence to support his claims, analysing evidence ranging from pap place names in the Scottish islands to volcanic airfall in Iceland. An interdisciplinary analysis of a subject that has intrigued scholars for generations, Into the Ocean will challenge the assumptions of anyone interested in the Atlantic branch of the Celtic world.

Kristján Ahronson is Lecturer in Archaeology at Prifysgol Bangor University in Wales.



List of Illustrations, Tables and Abbreviations


Chapter One: Nineteenth-Century Legacies: Literature, Language and the Imagining of the St. Lawrence Irish

Chapter Two: A Fruitful Conversation Between Disciplines

Chapter Three: Pabbays and Paibles: Pap-Names and Gaelic and Old Norse Speakers in Scotland’s Hebridean Islands

Chapter Four: Seljaland, Vestur-Eyjafjallahreppur, Iceland

Chapter Five: Dating the Cave

Chapter Six: Three Dimensions of Environmental Change

Chapter Seven: The Crosses of a Desert Place?

To Conclude


“This is an important and detailed book, based on serious scholarship, fieldwork, and recording. It will re-energize the debate around the earliest settlement of Iceland.”

David Griffiths, Department of Archaeology, University of Oxford

“Ahronson’s archaeological material is given in exhaustive descriptive and photographic detail, making a tempting case for the settlement in c. 800 of a community of Christian Gaels from Ireland or the western British Isles on the southern Icelandic coast.”

Richard North, Department of English, University College London

‘This groundbreaking monograph brings detail and great clarity to a topic whose treatment has frequently been piecemeal and even romantic. It makes a major contribution to our understanding of the early medieval settlement of the North Atlantic.’

Jonathan Wooding, Parergon vol 32:02:2015

Irish and Scots may have been first to settle Iceland, researcher finds
Posted in: News, May 25, 2015