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John M. Steinberg

University of Massachusetts Boston
Andrew Fiske Memorial Center for Archaeological Research
100 Morrissey Boulevard
Boston, MA 02125
(617) 287-6824

Research Scientist

Dr. John Steinberg has been directing the Skagafjordur Archaeological Settlement Survey (SASS) since 2000. SASS is a multi-year project in Northern Iceland whose purpose is to understand the formation of property rights during the Viking Age and after (AD 874-1700). He joined the Fiske Center for Archaeological Research in 2006. SASS is studying a series of farms to document the variation in building construction and the economic potential. Buildings from the Viking Age in Iceland were constructed out of turf and are now buried in deep wind-blown deposits, thereby making them almost impossible to identify, except using remote sensing. Dr. Steinberg’s work examines the demographic changes that took place in Iceland from its Viking Age settlement, through its Norse chiefly organization, and into a medieval state system.

Selected Publications

Trigg, Heather B., Douglas J. Bolender, Katharine M. Johnson, Marisa D. Patalano and John M Steinberg. 2009 Note on Barley Found in Dung in the Lowest Levels of the Farm Mound Midden at Reynistaður Skagafjörður Iceland. Archaeologia Islandica 7:64-72.

Bolender, Douglas J., John M. Steinberg and E. Paul Durrenberger. 2008 Unsettled Landscapes: Settlement Patterns and the Development of Social Inequality in Northern Iceland. In Economies and the Transformation of Landscape, Lisa Cliggett and Christopher A. Pool (Eds.), pp. 217-238. Society for Economic Anthropology Monograph No. 25: Lanham, MD: Altamira Press.

2006 A Political Economy of Increasing Marginal Returns to Labor: An Example from the Viking Age Chiefdoms of Iceland. In Labor in Cross-cultural Perspective, E. Paul Durrenberger and Judith Martí (Eds.), pp. 217-244. Society for Economic Anthropology Monograph No. 23. Lanham, MD: Altamira Press.

2004 Note on Organic Content of Turf Walls in Skagafjörður Iceland. Archaeologia Islandica 3:61-70.