Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 August 2019
This article combines new marine fish faunal data from medieval and early modern Icelandic archaeological sites with previously published data that focused primarily on the Settlement and Commonwealth periods. This synthesis places these new data into the larger scale of Icelandic history and marine conditions (sea-surface temperature and sea ice) to identify patterns and trends across the last 1000 years of the relationship between humans and Icelandic cod populations. We find no direct correlation between zooarchaeological patterns and sea ice or storminess in the medieval period and a possible correlation in the early modern period. We argue that this suggests a nuanced relationship between changing climates and fishing patterns in Icelandic history. While changes in sea temperature and periods of increased storminess might have made fishing productivity more variable and at times more dangerous, it is only in the early modern period that we see change in the marine zooarchaeological record that might indicate a correlation. Instead, we contend that the impacts of the changing climate relative to marine resources were mediated by social, political, economic, and even technological variables.