ICECHANGE undertakes a systematic analysis of descriptions of the natural world drawn from the literature and history of Iceland for the period ca. AD 800-1800. Iceland is well known for its rich literary and historical tradition, including a wealth of written records that encompass many different genres, from the famous “Sagas of Icelanders” to numerous other works, less well known internationally. The Icelandic penchant for meticulous environmental and social observation make these sources a treasury of information concerning perceptions and knowledge of changing environments over the course of many human generations.
The project analyzes weather, climate and other environmental information in the rich corpora of Icelandic literature, encompassing historiographic, literary, and normative documents from the early medieval period to ca. 1800. Results will include: i) a reconstruction of past temperature and sea-ice variations in Iceland; documentation of environmental hazards over the project time period; a detailed analysis of human adaptations and responses to natural hazards; identification and cataloging of literary sources, some unpublished, of particular interest to present and future analyses regarding environmental elements.
The ICECHANGE project (award number P16-06051) is funded by the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences and runs from 2017 to 2020.