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Research at St Andrews

Willem Wilmer Koster

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Research overview

Iceland was a pristine, natural environment for most of history, and was colonised around 870 CE, after which the landscape was drastically altered by humans. There is a good overall understanding of the way the earliest Icelandic settlers have changed the landscape, but there is still a lot of debate surrounding the spatial and temporal pattern of the impact that settlers had on surrounding soils and vegetation. Making use of the large wealth in data that is available for Iceland (pollen, soil erosion records, archaeological surveys, historical records), this project aims to develop new approaches to synthesise this data, identify gaps in the record, and subsequently address the gaps by targeted data collection. All of which will lead to a better understanding of the impact of settlers upon colonisation. As part of this project, I hope to make pollen-based reconstructions for several time periods, using several quantitative reconstruction methods.

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