The Norse Waterways of West Mainland Orkney, Scotland

Bates, Martin and Bates, C. Richard and Sanmark, Alexander and Crawford, Barbara and Whittaker, John (2020) The Norse Waterways of West Mainland Orkney, Scotland. Journal of wetland archaeology.

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Official URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/yjwa20

Abstract

Norse place-names for farms, individual landscape features and general landscape areas are ubiquitous throughout the Orkney Islands. These have an origin during the mediaeval period AD790–1350 when Orkney was ruled by Scandinavian earls. The oldest referenced maps for the parish of Harray (West Mainland, Orkney) suggests that in the past significant waterways crossed wetlands extending between the Loch of Harray and Houseby in an area associated with the earldom power base at Birsay. Subsequent drainage projects, changes in climate and sea level have since resulted in the loss of the waterways. An investigation of the wetlands using geophysical and geological analysis provided a reconstruction of the palaeo-environments. Comparison with place-names of significance allowed interpretation of possible routeways along navigable waters by shallow-draught Viking-Age vessels. The results allow for redrawing the map of Norse Orkney and postulation of produce transfer corridors from estates in the south to the power centre at Birsay

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Norse Orkney Norse place-names Orkney history
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
D History General and Old World > D History (General)
Divisions: Institutes and Academies > Institute of Education and Humanities
Depositing User: Sandra Stedman
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2020 12:27
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2020 12:27
URI: http://repository.uwtsd.ac.uk/id/eprint/1426

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