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Archaeoentomological Research in the North Atlantic: Past, Present, and Future
Forbes, Frédéric Dussault, and Allison Bain

Journal of the North Atlantic, No. 26 (2014): 1–24

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Archaeoentomological Research in the North Atlantic: Past, Present, and Future Véronique Forbes1, *, Frédéric Dussault2, and Allison Bain3 Abstract - This paper reviews archaeoentomolgical research in the North Atlantic region, which until relatively recently, was focused mainly on Norse and later farms in Iceland, Greenland, and the Faroes, providing insights into many aspects of daily life on these settlements as well as their impacts on the local environment. Conversely, little research had been undertaken on insect fossils from hunter-gatherer settlements, save a handful of investigations from deposits associated with Saqqaq sites in Western Greenland. Over the past decade, the scope of these studies has extended to encompass new territories, time periods, and research questions. Insect remains from Palaeo- and Neo-Eskimo sites in the eastern Canadian Arctic were examined for the first time, and previously unexamined Norse and later sites have revealed new applications for archaeoentomology. This emerging body of work demonstrates the potential and importance of the continued integration of archaeoentomology in archaeological projects. 1Department of Archaeology, School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen, St. Mary’s Building, Elphinstone Road, Aberdeen AB24 3UF, UK. 2Department of Archaeology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, NL A1C 5S7, Canada. 3Université Laval, CELAT, Pavillon De Koninck, 1030 avenue des Sciences humaines, Quebec City, QC G1V 0A6, Canada. *Corresponding author - v.forbes@abdn.ac.uk. Introduction The lands bordering the North Atlantic region are the homes of distinct cultural groups who have subsisted in these territories through diverse economic adaptations. Palaeo- and Neo-Eskimo huntergatherers, who exploited the array of sea mammals and fish provided by the subarctic and arctic waters as well as terrestrial animal and plant resources available in the Tundra, migrated from coastal areas along the North Pacific Ocean to the western North Atlantic region from ca. 2500 B.C. (Grønnow and Sørensen 2006, Labrèche 2001). From the eighth century A.D., seafaring northern European pastoralists (the Norse) sailed westward to establish farming colonies on the North Atlantic islands (Fitzhugh and Ward 2000). This establishment of human settlements in these fragile and “pristine” environments had a profound effect on the local fauna and flora of these regions (Amorosi et al. 1997, Dugmore et al. 2005). Existing ecological niches were expanded, or diminished, while new ecosystems emerged inside the newcomers’ homes. Quaternary entomology, the study of preserved insect remains, has significantly contributed to our understanding of past subsistence and economic strategies and their impacts on North Atlantic landscapes, notably by highlighting the crucial roles human migrations and trade activities have played in reconfiguring the North Atlantic biota over the last millennium (Sadler 1991, Sadler and Skidmore 1995). Until recently, this body of work has largely concentrated on the study of Norse and later agro-pastoral settlements, revealing major ecological changes induced and/or exacerbated by human activity (Amorosi et al. 1997, Simpson et al. 2001). In contrast, the hunting, fishing, and gathering practices of First Nations peoples and their ancestors, including Palaeo- and Neo-Eskimo cultural groups, have been assumed to have had a limited impact on the environment (e.g., Billington 1981; Dickason 1996, 1997). This paper provides a review of the contribution of Quaternary entomology to North Atlantic archaeology. All Quaternary-entomological studies use the ecological preferences of identified insects as proxies for past ecological conditions, and the approach can be applied to a diverse set of questions, from the study of natural climatic and environmental changes to the reconstruction of everyday household practices (Elias 2010). Since this paper focuses on studies that contributed to questions of archaeological importance, the term “archaeoentomology” is employed in the text to refer to all studies concerned with the reconstruction of human activities and cultural environments. For the purposes of this paper, the North Atlantic region includes the islands of Newfoundland, Iceland, Greenland, and the Faroes as well as the eastern Canadian Arctic and extends southwards to where Labrador meets the St. Lawrence River. This review focuses on insect fossil assemblages associated with sites that have been occupied by Palaeo- Eskimos, Neo-Eskimos, Norse people, and their descendants. Research related to European settlements unrelated to the Norse expansion is considered another body of scholarship. Insect assemblages from Norse settlements have previously been reviewed 2014 Journal of the North Atlantic No. 26:1–24 2014 Journal of the North Atlantic No. 26 V. Forbes, F. Dussault, and A. Bain 2 elsewhere (Buckland 2000, Buckland and Panagiotakopulu 2005), and although these contributions will also be summarized here, this paper emphasizes work conducted over the past decade. Four Decades of Archaeoentomological Research in the North Atlantic The human history of the North Atlantic region The Palaeo-Eskimos were the first people to settle the lands north of the tree-line in Canada and the coasts of Greenland (McGhee 2001). Similarly, the Norse were the first people to colonize the Faroes and Iceland during the 9th century, although historical (Dicuil 1967) and more recent palaeoecological evidence (Church et al. 2013) suggests an earlier, limited human presence in the Faroes. Figure 1 provides a chronology of cultural developments and major events that took place in the North Atlantic region over the past 4000 years. The peopling of the eastern Canadian Arctic and Greenland occurred in a series of independent migrations over a period of more than 3000 years. Palaeo-Eskimos were seasonally mobile huntergatherer groups able to exploit wild animal and plant resources from the land and the sea, whereas Neo-Eskimos were better adapted to the hunting of marine mammals. They dwelt in sod, ice, or snow houses in winter and in tents or other types of temporary shelters in the warmer seasons (Fagan 2000, McGhee 2001). This mode of living contrasts with that of the Norse farmers, who lived in turf and stone buildings on farmsteads occupied year-long. Norse subsistence was generally based on pastoral farming and the secondary products of sheep and cattle husbandry supplemented by fishing, hunting, and, in the Faroes and some parts of Iceland, the cultivation of cereals (Arge et al. 2005, Buckland 2000, Sveinbjarnardóttir et al. 2007). The Norse expansion into the North Atlantic began during the 9th century A.D., although Norsemen did not come into contact with Palaeo-Eskimo (Dorset) and Neo-Eskimo (Thule) people in Greenland until approximately four centuries later (Gulløv 2008). The establishment of Norse temporary outposts from ca. A.D. 1000 in eastern North America (e.g., L’Anse-aux-Meadows; Wallace 2000) possibly led to interactions with Palaeoand Neo-Eskimo groups (Sutherland 2009), while the presence of European whalers and fisherman on the coasts of the St. Lawrence Gulf and the Labrador Sea from the late 15th century (Jordan 1978, Pope 2008) would have created opportunities for further exchanges. Encounters between Neo-Eskimos and Europeans in Arctic Canada certainly occurred with Martin Frobisher’s travels to Labrador and Baffin Island in 1576, but may have remained sporadic until the arrival of Moravian missionaries in the mid-18th century (Pope and Lewis-Simpson 2013). In Greenland, the Norse colonies were extant for ≈500 years until abandonment sometime after A.D. 1408 (Seaver 2010), and thereafter, Eskimo groups lived away from further European influences until Figure 1. Chronology of Palaeo/Neo-Eskimos cultural groups and Norse and later settlements in the North Atlantic region, modified from the Arctic Chronology of the Avataq Cultural Institute (2011) with added information from Gad (1973), Karlsson (2000), and Pope and Lewis-Simpson (2013). The Scandinavian chronology is based on Hedeager and Kristiansen (1985). Journal of the North Atlantic 3 2014 No. 26 V. Forbes, F. Dussault, and A. Bain the Danish colonization began in the 18th century (Gad 1973). On Faroese and Icelandic farmsteads, the descendants of the Norse people continued to live in turf buildings off the products of farming until the 19th century (Karlsson 2000). A brief history of North Atlantic archaeoentomology Archeoentomological research in the North Atlantic was largely pioneered by Buckland et al. (1983, 1986a) and Skidmore (1996), whose work on beetle (Coleoptera), external parasite (e.g., Phthiraptera and Siphonaptera), and fly (Diptera) fossils preserved in archaeological deposits from Norse Greenland and Iceland established the value of insect remains for reconstructing past activity and living conditions on North Atlantic farmsteads. In Iceland and the Faroe Islands, samples from offsite locations such as peat bogs and mires provided insights into biogeographic changes and the impact of human activity on the native insect fauna (Buckland and Dinnin 1998, Buckland and Dugmore 1991, Buckland et al. 1986b). This early work was underpinned by contemporary revisions and surveys of the modern invertebrate fauna of the region (Bengston 1981, Böcher 1988, Dugmore 1981, Ólafsson 1991), which clarified the status and ecology of many species and thus provided the backbone for archaeoentomological interpretations. With the development of the BugsCEP database (Buckland and Buckland 2006), which compiles beetle fossil records as well as species’ biological and distributional information, it became easier to tackle broad research questions. Concurrent with the generation of new datasets from the Faroes, Iceland, and Greenland (e.g., Forbes et al. 2010, Panagiotakopulu and Buckland 2013, Vickers 2006, Vickers et al. 2005), Quaternary entomologists made progress towards resolving questions regarding the origin and biogeography of the North Atlantic insect fauna (Böcher 2012, Böcher et al. 2012, Buckland and Panagiotakopulu 2010, Panagiotakopulu 2014) and the possibility of a pre-Norse European presence in the region (Buckland and Panagiotakopulu 2008). One study of insect remains associated with Palaeo-Eskimo occupations pre-dates the first archaeoentomological analyses on Norse sites (Haarløv 1967). However, apart from the identification of lice from Greenlandic mummies (Bresciani et al. 1983, 1989; Hansen et al. 1991), the archaeoentomology of Palaeo- and Neo-Eskimo groups in the North Atlantic halted until the 1990s (Böcher 1998, Böcher and Fredskild 1993). This work developed independently from research on North Atlantic farmsteads until a renewed interest in Norse-indigenous interactions (Edwards et al. 2009) resulted in new datasets from both Norse and Palaeo/Neo-Eskimo sites in southern Greenland (e.g., Panagiotakopulu et al. 2012, Vickers 2012, Vickers and Panagiotakopulu 2011). Concurrently, research in northern Greenland and Labrador provided opportunities to examine insect fossils from floors and middens on hunter-gatherer sites (e.g., Dussault 2011, Dussault and Bain 2010). In addition to providing further insights into the timing and nature of human environmental impacts in the North Atlantic (e.g., Panagiotakopulu 2014, Panagiotakopulu and Buckland 2013), recent archaeoentomological research has explored new issues. Assemblages from Norse and later farmsteads have provided evidence about past land-use (Buckland et al. 2009a, Panagiotakopulu and Buckland 2012), transhumance (Vickers and Sveinbjarnadóttir 2013), and eiderdown production (Forbes et al. 2013). Studies on Neo-Eskimo sites have begun to reveal insights into practices and attitudes regarding hygiene and the impacts of hunter-gatherers subsistence activities on their environments (Bain 2000, 2001; Dussault 2011). Overview of the sites and contexts investigated North Atlantic archaeoentomology has focused on a diverse array of contexts ranging from archaeological features such as houses or middens to natural deposits such as peat bogs associated with human occupation sites. On farm settlements, anthrosols (soils modified through long-term human activity such as irrigation and manuring) have also been examined for insect remains. Most archaeological research on Palaeo- and Neo-Eskimo sites has focused on occupational, midden, and peat deposits associated with winter dwellings. Tables 1–3 detail the sites discussed in this paper, the locations of which are shown on Figure 2. These tables and maps provide an overview of archaeoentomological work in the North Atlantic region and facilitate access to the relevant publications and grey literature. For the most up-to-date and exhaustive information on Quaternary-entomological research, readers should refer to the BugsCEP database (Buckland and Buckland 2006) and the Bibliography of Quaternary Entomology (Buckland et al. 2013), both of which are regularly updated. The Archaeoentomology of Norse and Later Farmsteads The timing and impacts of Landnám The Norse colonization of the North Atlantic islands, often termed Landnám (old Norse for ‘‘land2014 Journal of the North Atlantic No. 26 V. Forbes, F. Dussault, and A. Bain 4 Table 1. List of North Atlantic sites associated with Palaeo-Eskimo occupations that were investigated for insect remains. No. Site Types of deposits sampled Dating of sampled contexts References 1 Asummiut, Greenland Occupations layers 2nd millenium BC Böcher 1998 from Saqqaq houses 2 Qeqertasussuk, Greenland Midden and occupation 2nd millenium BC Bennike et al. 2000; Böcher and layers from Saqqaq houses Fredskild 1993; Buckland et al. 1996; Skidmore 1996; unpubl. data in BugsCEP database (Buckland and Buckland 2006) 3 Nanook, Baffin Island, Canada Midden and occupation ca. 12th–15th centuries AD Bain 2003 layers from Dorset houses 4 Sermermiut, Greenland Peat deposits close to 2nd millenium BC Haarløv 1967 Saqqaq occupation sites 5 Willows Island, Baffin Island, Midden layers associated 3rd century BC – Bain 1994 Canada with a Dorset occupation site 7th century AD Table 2. List of North Atlantic sites associated with Neo-Eskimo occupations that were investigated for insect remains. No. Site Types of deposits sampled Dating of sampled context References 6 Cape Grinnell, Greenland Occupation layers associated 13th–15th centuries AD Dussault 2011 with Inughuit houses 7 Great Caribou Island, Labrador, Occupation layers from Inuit 17th–18th centuries AD Dussault and Bain 2010 Canada houses 8 Iita, Greenland Occupation layers from Early 20th century AD Dussault 2011 Inughuit houses 9 Kamaiyuk, Baffin Island, Occupation layers from Inuit 15–20th centuries AD Smith 1992, 1994 Canada houses 10 Kuyait, Baffin Island, Canada Occupation layers from Inuit Mid-19th–early 20th centuries Smith 1992, 1994 houses AD 11 Mallikjuak Island, Baffin Occupation layers from Inuit 10th–16th centuries AD Bain 1997 Island, Canada houses 12 North Island, Labrador, Canada Occupation layers from Inuit 17th–18th centuries AD Dussault and Bain 2010 houses 13 Peterhead Inlet, Baffin Island, Fill layer in Inuit house 16th century AD Bain 1997 Canada 14 Qaqaitsut, Greenland Occupation layers from Inuit 14th–17th centuries AD Dussault 2011 houses 15 Qilakitsoq, Greenland Ectoparasites from Thule 15th century AD Bresciani et al. 1983, mummies 1989; Hansen et al. 1991 16 Uivak Point, Labrador, Canada Midden and occupation layers 18th–19th centuries AD Bain 2000, 2001 from Inuit houses taking’’) led to the establishment of a European farming system based on livestock husbandry in largely pristine landscapes. Norse settlers introduced sheep, horses, cattle, goats, and pigs as well as other resources they would need for their subsistence (Buckland 2000). One of the most striking impacts of the Norse colonization was the accidental introduction of new flora and fauna (Dugmore et al. 2005), including a number of insect pests and ‘‘hitch-hikers’’ that exploited microhabitats provided by shipboard provisions, ballast, and dunnage, but also by the settlers and the animals themselves (Sadler 1991, Sadler and Skidmore 1995). Indeed, ectoparasites of humans and sheep, including the human louse Pediculus humanus L., the sheep lice Bovicola (=Damalinia) ovis (L.), and the sheep ked Melophagus ovinus (L.), are common in contexts dated from just after Landnám (Buckland 2000). Many predacious and mold-feeding beetles, including Omalium excavatum Stephens, Xylodromus concinnus (Marsham), Latridius minutus (grp) (L.), Cryptophagus spp., and Atomaria spp., also traveled onboard ships and found ideal habitats in domestic waste, animal manure, and stored hay in the Norse Journal of the North Atlantic 5 2014 No. 26 V. Forbes, F. Dussault, and A. Bain Table 3. List of North Atlantic sites associated with Norse and later occupations that were investigated for insect remains. No. Site Types of deposits sampled Dating of sampled contexts References 17 Alþingisreitur, Iceland Midden and floor layers from 9th–16th centuries AD Konráðsdóttir 2010a houses and workshops 18 Bessastaðir, Iceland Midden and floor layers from 9th–17th centuries AD Amorosi et al. 1992; Skidmore residential and farm buildings 1996, 2013; unpublished data in BugsCEP database (Buckland and Buckland 2006) 19 Breiðuvík, Iceland Floor layersfrom pit houses 10th–11th centuries AD Hellqvist 2001 20 Dettifossvegur, Iceland Floor layers from residential 11th century AD Konráðsdóttir 2010c and farm buildings 21 Engihlíð, Iceland Peat deposits close to a 14th century AD Buckland and Sadler 1991 Medieval site, possibly a shieling 22 Eiríksstaðir, Iceland Floor layers from residential 9th–11th centuries AD Analyses by M. Hellqvist and farm buildings 23 Eqalugialik, Greenland Peat deposits close to a Norse 10th–14th centuries AD Sadler 1987, Skidmore 1996 farmstead 24 Garðar, Greenland Drainage ditch section close to 10th–15th centuries AD Buckland et al. 2009a, a Norse farmstead Panagiotakopulu and Buckland 2012, Panagiotakopulu et al. 2012 25 Gården under Sandet Floor andabandonment layers 10th–14th century AD Buckland et al. 1998a; (GUS), Greenland from a Norse farmstead Buckland P.I. 2000, 2007b; Panagiotakopulu 2004; Panagiotakopulu et al. 2007; unpubl. data in BugsCEP database (Buckland and Buckland 2006) 26 Gásir, Iceland Occupation and midden layers 12th–14th centuries AD Konráðsdóttir 2009a, 2010b from a Medieval trading post 27 Glaumbær, Iceland Midden layers from Norse and 9th–14th centuries AD Analyses by M. Hellqvist Medieval farmsteads 28 Grænaborg, Iceland Floor layers from residential 19th century AD Konráðsdóttir 2012b and farm buildings 29 Hofsstaðir , Iceland Floor layers from Norse 9th–11th centuries AD Analyses by M. Hellqvist residential and farm buildings 30 Hólar, Iceland Midden and floor layers from 10th century AD to the Hellqvist 2002, 2003, 2013 buildings from a present bishopric/farm complex 31 Holt, Iceland Midden layers associated with 9th–16th centuries AD Buckland et al. 1991a the occupation of a farmstead 32 Hornbrekka, Iceland Floor layers and pit fills from 19th–20th centuries AD Forbes 2013b a Postmedieval farmhouse 33 Hrísbrú, Iceland Floor layers from a Norse 9th–11th centuries AD Forbes 2009a, Hellqvist 2005 longhouse 34 Keldudalur, Iceland Floor layers from Norse and 9th–15th centuries AD Analyses by M. Hellqvist Medieval farmsteads 35 Keldur, Iceland Floor layers from a Medieval 12th–15th centuries AD Analyses by M. Hellqvist farmstead 36 Ketilsstaðir, Iceland Peat deposits close to Norse 7th–16th centuries AD Buckland et al. 1986a and Medieval farmsteads 37 Kolkuós, Iceland Floor layers from booths used 9th–15th centuries AD Analyses by M. Hellqvist as dwelling and workshops (harbor site) 38 Mjóeyri, Iceland Floor layers from a Medieval 12th–13th centuries AD Konráðsdóttir 2008b farmstead 39 Möðruvellir, Iceland Midden layers from a monastic 13th–20th centuries AD Forbes 2013c center/farm 40 Mykines (Lambi and Deposits from an erosion face 6th–9th centuries AD Buckland 1992, Buckland et al. Uldalið), Faroe Islands 1998c 2014 Journal of the North Atlantic No. 26 V. Forbes, F. Dussault, and A. Bain 6 Table 3, continued. No. Site Types of deposits sampled Dating of sampled contexts References 41 Nesstofa, Iceland Midden layers associated with 9th–18th centuries AD Amorosi et al. 1994 the occupation of a farmstead 42 Niaqussat, Greenland Midden layers associated with 10th–14th centuries AD McGovern et al. 1983, the occupation of a Norse Panagiotakopulu 2004, farmstead Sadler 1987, Skidmore 1996 43 Nipaítsoq, Greenland Midden layers associated with 10th–14th centuries AD Barlow et al. 1997, Buckland et al. the occupation of a Norse 1983; McGovern et al. 1983, farmstead Panagiotakopulu et al. 2007, Skidmore 1996 44 Pálstóftir, Iceland Midden layers associated with 10th–11th centuries AD Buckland P.I. 2007a, Lucas 2008 the occupation of a Medieval shieling 45 Papey (Undir Hellisbargi Peat deposits close to a Norse 8th–13th centuries AD Buckland et al. 1995 and Goðatættur), Iceland farmstead 46 Reykholt (and Faxadalur), Midden and floor layers from 9th–19th centuries AD Buckland et al. 1992, 2009b, Iceland residential and farm buildings, 2012;Sveinbjarnadóttir et al. peat deposits and enclosed areas 2007; Vickers and Sveinbjarnardóttir 2013 47 Sandhavn, Greenland Peat deposits close to a Norse 14th–15th centuries AD Vickers and Panagiotakopulu 2011 farmstead 48 Sandnes (Kilaersavik), Midden layers associated with 10th–14th centuries AD Buckland et al. 1994, 1996; Pan- Greenland the occupation of a Norse agiotakopulu 2004; Skidmore farmstead 1996; Sveinbjarnadóttir and Buckland 1983 49 Skálholt, Iceland Floor layers from buildings 17th–18th centuries AD Konráðsdóttir 2007 from a bishopric/farm complex 50 Skriðuklaustur, Iceland Floor layers from buildings 15th–16th centuries AD Konráðsdóttir 2008a, 2009b, from a monastery/hospital 2012a complex 51 Skútústaðir, Iceland Midden layers associated with 9th–19th centuries AD King and Forbes 2010 the occupation of a farmstead 52 Stóraborg, Iceland Midden, floor layers and drain 17th century AD Buckland and Perry 1989, Perry fills from a Postmedieval et al. 1985, Sveinbjarnadóttir et farmhouse al. 1980 53 Svalbarðshreppur (Svalbarð Midden layers associated with 11th–19th centuries AD Forbes 2013a; unpubl. data in and Hjálmarsvík), Iceland the occupation of farm BugsCEP database (Buckland buildings and shielings and Buckland 2006) 54 Sveigakot, Iceland Floor layers and hearth fills 9th–12th centuries AD Analyses by H. Konráðsdóttir from residential and farm buildings 55 Tasiusaq, Greenland Peat deposits close to a Norse 11th–14th centuries AD Edwards et al. 2008, farmstead Panagiotakopulu and Buckland 2013 56 Tatsip Ataa, Greenland Midden layers associated with 10th–12th centuries AD Dussault et al. 2014 a Norse occupation 57 Tjørnuvík, Faroe Islands Peat deposits close to a Norse 7th–11th centuries AD Buckland 1992, Buckland and farmstead Dinnin 1998 58 Toftanes, Faroe Islands Floor layers and drain fills 9th–10th centuries AD Edwards et al. 1998, Vickers from a Norse farmstead and and Buckland 2013, Vickers peat deposits et al. 2005 59 Þjótandi, Iceland Floor layers from a Norse 10th century AD Konráðsdóttir 2008c, 2009c farmstead 60 Þverá, Iceland Floor layers and drain fills 20th century AD Forbes 2013b, Forbes and from a still-standing Milek 2013 farmhouse and associated outbuildings 61 Vatnsfjörður, Iceland Floor, midden and 10th–20th centuries AD Forbes 2007, 2008, 2009b, abandonments layers from 2009c, 2013b; Forbes et al. a farmstead 2010, 2013 Journal of the North Atlantic 7 2014 No. 26 V. Forbes, F. Dussault, and A. Bain Figure 2. Location of the sites listed in Tables 1–3. 2014 Journal of the North Atlantic No. 26 V. Forbes, F. Dussault, and A. Bain 8 homes (Dugmore et al. 2005, Sadler and Skidmore 1995). The scarabaeid Aphodius lapponum Gyll., associated with the dung of large herbivores, has been identified as another Norse introduction to the faunas of Iceland and the Faroes (op. cit.). The species has not been recovered from the Norse Greenlandic settlements despite the introduction of livestock and the presence of native caribou herds, and it was recently suggested that the length of the journey and the harsher climate of Greenland may account for its absence (Panagiotakopulu 2014, Panagiotakopulu and Buckland 2013). While the continuity of settlement in Iceland and the Faroes ensured the long-term establishment of many introduced species, the eventual abandonment of the Greenlandic colonies led to a few hundred years interruption in the availability of suitable habitats for many synanthropic beetles (Sadler 1991, Sadler and Skidmore 1995). Indeed, Vickers and Panagiotakopulu (2011) did not identify a single anthropochorous species in post-abandonment peat layers at the former Norse settlement of Sandhavn in Greenland. Böcher (1997) has suggested that Quedius mesomelinus (Marsham) and Xylodromus coninnus (Marsham) may have survived in Thule or Dorset sod houses, as these are the only Norse introductions that were frequently recorded in the early 20th century. Nevertheless, this hypothesis has yet to be substantiated through archaeoentomological data. The introduction of beetle species strongly dependent on the artificially heated habitats available in houses and ancillary buildings to North Atlantic faunas was a direct consequence of the Norse colonization. There is little doubt that the arrival of the Norse settlers also played a role in modifying the distribution and frequency of some native species, as settlement sites provided a mosaic of microhabitats that “mimicked” particularly nutrient-rich natural settings. The beetles Corticaria linearis (Payk.) and Catops borealis Krog., respectively found in moss and luxuriant vegetation in Greenland (C. linearis) and in bird’s nests and burrows in the Faroes (C. borealis) (Bengston 1981, Böcher 1988), expanded from their original niches to colonize accumulations of rotten hay and domestic waste on farms (Buckland et al. 1998c, Sadler and Skidmore 1995), whereas the range of other indigenous insects declined as woodland and scrub was cleared to make room for pastures and hayfields. For example, the willow-associated weevils Dorytomus imbecillus Faust and Rutidosoma globulus (Hbst.), as well as the psyllid bug Cacopsylla groenlandica (Sulc.), seem to disappear from certain areas of southwest Greenland after Landnám as a consequence of vegetation clearance and the stripping off turf for building construction (Panagiotakopulu and Buckland 2013). In Iceland, the aquatic beetle Hydraena britteni Joy, recorded in pre- and post- Landnám layers at Holt and Ketilsstaðir, became locally extinct sometime in the 14th or 15th century (Buckland et al. 1991a). Whether this extirpation is to be ascribed to the introduction of pastoral agriculture or to climate change is unclear; a combination of those factors is more likely (Erlendsson et al. 2009). Cooling related to the Little Ice Age and agricultural impacts may have influenced not only the fate of H. britenni in Iceland, but also that of other native North Atlantic insects including: Euasthetus laeviusculus Mann. in Greenland (Buckland and Wagner 2001); Calathus micropterus (Duft.), Coelostoma orbiculare (F.), and Ochthephilus omalinus (Er.) in the Faroes (Buckland and Dinnin 1998, Buckland et al. 1998b, Vickers and Buckland 2013); and the rove beetle Lathrobium brunnipes (F.) in both Iceland and the Faroes (Buckland et al. 1991b, 1998b). Recent palaeoecological work in the region has shown that the impacts of Landnám on North Atlantic environments were neither simultaneous nor spatially homogeneous. At Stóra-Mörk in southern Iceland, evidence for large-scale environmental change only becomes apparent in layers deposited after the eruption of the volcano Katla in A.D. 920, which was 50 years after the area was colonized by the Norse (Vickers et al. 2011). Insect remains and other proxies are indicative of an intensification of land-use, which is likely to have involved drainage and the fertilization of fields with animal manure and domestic waste. Such activities are also apparent in a profile from the former farm and ecclesiastical center of Garðar (modern-day Igaliku) in the Norse Eastern Settlement in Greenland (Buckland et al. 2009a, Panagiotakopulu and Buckland 2012). Insect specimens such as the spider beetle Tipnus unicolor (Pill. and Mitt.), sheep keds, and human lice, all of which ought to have originated within built structures, likely ended up in the hayfield as a result of their transport in material used as fertilizer (Buckland et al. 2009a, Panagiotakopulu et al. 2012). A contrasting reconstruction of land-use practices comes from the nearby farm of Tasiusaq, where no synanthropes were recovered (Panagiotakopulu and Buckland 2013). In this instance, the sampled peats were ≈500 m away from the main farm’s ruins, and it is therefore likely that strongly synanthropic insects were present in farm buildings but were not able to reach the sampled area of the hayfield by their own locomotive means (op. cit.). The contrasting nature of these findings stresses the variability of land-use practices and associated environmental change in Greenland. The latest palaeoecological work in the Journal of the North Atlantic 9 2014 No. 26 V. Forbes, F. Dussault, and A. Bain Eastern Settlement (e.g., Ledger et al. 2013, 2014) also depicts a more heterogeneous cultural landscape than illustrated in earlier studies (e.g., Fredskild 1973). Insects and the North Atlantic farm One of archaeoentomology’s most important contributions to North Atlantic archaeology was the formulation of a conceptual model for the provenance and origin of insect remains on Norse farms (Buckland et al. 1993). Subsequent research (e.g., Forbes and Milek 2013; Smith 1996a, b) has confirmed many aspects of the initial model while also highlighting potential pitfalls. We summarize below various aspects of past subsistence and economies on North Atlantic farms as examined through the study of insect remains. Local resource exploitation. Building with turf was once widespread in the North Atlantic region (Ólafsson and Ágústsson 2000). Turf, the active growing layer of grass which was collected in blocks from meadows or wetlands for building purposes, contains fossils of outdoor insects generally representative of these environments (Kenward et al. 2012). Its role as a transport agent for outdoor beetles and bugs into North Atlantic houses, byres, and barns has long been recognized (e.g., Buckland et al. 1992, Forbes et al. 2010, Vickers et al. 2005). Peat is another similar resource that was once commonly used, although in this instance for fuel and litter. Separating the insect component of peat and turf is often difficult, due to the similar ground beetles and phytophagous insects found in both substrates (e.g., Amorosi et al. 1992, 1994; Buckland et al. 1992). Use of peat is likely to introduce aquatic taxa such as water beetles (Dysticidae), larval caddis flies (Trichoptera), and non-biting midges (Chironomidae) as well as mosses and plants common in wetland environments into archaeological deposits. Early records of aquatic insects and moss-dwelling beetles, such as Byrrhus fasciatus (Forst.) and Simplocaria metallica/elongate Sturm/Sahl, from archaeological floors on Norse farms were interpreted as having resulted from the transport and use of peat as litter (e.g., Buckland et al. 1994). Nevertheless, more recent work has shown that turf collected from wetlands can also contain these insects (Forbes and Milek 2013), stressing the need for caution when interpreting the provenance of remains of aquatic and wetland taxa. As Norse subsistence was largely based on the products of livestock husbandry, the most important task of farmers was the cultivation of enough fodder to overwinter domestic animals (Amorosi et al. 1998). Cattle were normally fed and housed for the whole winter, but sheep would have been kept outside, weather permitting (Ogilvie 2000). The buildings and rooms which served to house them would have provided ideal ecological conditions for beetle species feeding on spores, molds, and fungi growing on decaying plant matter, as well as for species thriving in foul conditions such as in stable manure. Most insect assemblages recovered from farm sites are dominated by species which fall into these ecological groups and are commonly referred to as the ‘‘barn beetles’’ (e.g., Buckland et al. 1991a, 1992; Vickers et al. 2005). In Iceland, the insect record from Norse and later farms commonly include Cryptophagus spp., Atomaria spp., Latridius minutus (grp.), Corticaria elongata (Gyll.), and Xylodromus concinnus (e.g., Buckland et al. 1991a, Forbes et al. 2010, Konráðsdóttir 2007). In Greenland, assemblages are typically less diverse, and C. elongata seems to be replaced by C. linearis (Payk.) (Buckland et al. 1996, McGovern et al. 1983). Today the “barn beetles” tend to be confined to barns and byres in the region (Larsson 1959). Yet, this would not have been the case in the past, when people used materials such as hay, straw, turf, and peat for a variety of purposes, from bedding to insulation and littering in human and animal dwellings (Annandale 1905, Ólafsson and Pálsson 1805). This caveat is borne out in comparative work on modern faunas from hay and leaf fodder, thatch roofs, and abandoned floor deposits in the UK (Smith 1996a, 1996b, 1998, 2000) and in Iceland (Forbes 2013b), which highlighted the possible flaws in the interpretation of faunas commonly associated with molding hay. Insect assemblages from vegetal material used for flooring and roofing were found to contain species that might also find suitable ecological conditions in stored hay. Terrestrial plants were not the only vegetal matter to find their way into Norse buildings. Ethnographic records suggest that seaweed was also utilized on North Atlantic farms as a source of salt, animal fodder, bedding, fuel, and fertilizer (Annandale 1905, Fenton 1978, Hallsson 1964, Ólafsson and Pálsson 1805). Seaweed does not preserve easily, but charred remains and small mussel shells associated with marine environments have been recovered from a number of sites (e.g., Mooney 2008, Vickers et al. 2005, Zutter 2000). Furthermore, numerous rove beetles, such as Omalium laeviusculum Gyll. and O. riparium Thoms., and fragments of the epizootic hydroid Dynamena pumila (L.) have been recovered from Icelandic and Greenlandic sites and imply resource exploitation in the littoral zone (Amorosi et al. 1992, 1994; Buckland et al. 1996; Skidmore 1996).While it may be difficult to identify the purpose for which 2014 Journal of the North Atlantic No. 26 V. Forbes, F. Dussault, and A. Bain 10 seaweed was used, the presence of insects associated with beached algae may indicate the collection, use, and possible storage of this material. Eiderdown was once an important source of wealth in Scandinavia and northern Europe, but this natural resource has largely been overlooked in archaeology (Berglund 2009). Recent examination of insects from modern eiderdown stores in Iceland has revealed that this production can be detectable in the archaeoentomological record through the identification of bird fleas, including the duck flea Ceratophyllus garei Rothschild (Forbes 2013b, Forbes et al. 2013). This species infests groundnesting birds including plovers and Eider ducks in Iceland (Brinck-Lindroth and Smit 2007, Henriksen 1939), and like all other Ceratophyllus species, it spends the largest part of its lifecycle in nests rather than on the body of its host (Brinck-Lindroth and Smit 2007). Birds other than Eider ducks are known to have been exploited for their feathers and down on Icelandic farms, but these were obtained through the collection of flight feathers fallen to the ground or by plucking birds (Beck 2013), which are unlikely to introduce large numbers of bird fleas in the archaeological record. The recovery of more than a hundred Ceratophyllus fleas alongside egg shell fragments, feathers, and plant debris likely to have originated from nests in a floor layer at 19thcentury Vatnsfjörður in northwest Iceland allowed the first archaeological identification of eiderdown production activities (Forbes 2013b, Forbes et al. 2013). Foodstuff imports and trade. The subarctic climate, which limits the growing season in much of the North Atlantic region, was a severe impediment to the cultivation of cereals. Nevertheless, grain was successfully grown in the Faroes and in Iceland (Church et al. 2005, Guðmundsson et al. 2012) and perhaps even in the early years of settlement in Greenland (Henriksen 2012), but production was never large scale. To complement their largely meat- and dairy-based diets, the Norse and their descendants imported grain from abroad. This fact is evidenced in archaeoentomological studies by finds of grain pests, the most common including the grain weevil Sitophilus granarius (L.) and the saw-toothed grain beetle Oryzaephilus surinamensis (L.) (e.g., Amorosi et al. 1992, 1994; Buckland et al. 1991a, 1992; Vickers and Buckland 2013). In modern situations, S. granarius has been recorded from wheat, rye, barley, maize, oats, buckwheat, millet, and chick peas, and O. surinamensis is known to attack damaged grain and processed cereals (Bousquet 1990, Buckland 1990). The former requires temperatures above 15 °C to complete its developmental cycle, but as the latter requires at least 21 °C (Howe 1965), it is unlikely that intermittent and small stores of locally grown barley would have provided suitable ecological conditions to support breeding populations. Therefore, it has been assumed that most specimens recovered from archaeological sites arrived along with food cargoes. Buckland et al. (2009b) recovered 80 specimens of Aglenus brunneus (Gyll.), a blind and flightless beetle able to exploit moldy cereals, compost, hay, and manure (Fogliazza and Pagani 1993, Koch 1989), in one sample dating from the Medieval Period at Reykholt in western Iceland. They suggested that such a large number was indicative of a breeding population, but that, like S. granarius and O. surinamensis, the species had no doubt been introduced with imported grain or other products (Buckland et al. 2009b, Sveinbjarnardóttir et al. 2007). A. brunneus is extremely rare today in Iceland (Larsson and Gígja 1959), which indicates that the species failed to establish permanent populations in the country (Buckland et al. 2009b). The analyses of samples from Postmedieval and Modern phases of occupation on Icelandic farms yielded additional records of obligate pest species, some of which were not recovered from older sites. These finds include the cowpea weevil Callosobruchus maculatus (F.) from Skálholt (Konráðsdóttir 2007), the flat grain beetle Cryptolestes sp. from Þverá (Forbes and Milek 2013), and the rice/maize weevil Sitophilus oryzae/zeamais (L.)/Mots. from Vatnsfjörður (Forbes 2013b, Forbes et al. 2010). The recovery of the non-indigenous ant species Hypoponera punctatissima and Leptothorax sp. from Postmedieval Reykholt were also suggested as indicative of products imported from Europe (Buckland et al. 2012). Insect as indicators for specific activities and room functions. Insects preserved in floors or from materials derived from floors may provide insights into specific activities. Human ectoparasites such as Pediculus humanus L., the human louse, are common to both Icelandic and Greenlandic farms (Amorosi et al. 1992, 1994; Buckland et al. 1992; Forbes et al. 2010; Sveinbjarnadóttir and Buckland 1983); the latter also yielded records of Pulex irritans L., the human flea (Buckland et al. 1998a). Sometimes, such insect remains are charred, suggesting that the parasites were discarded into the hearth following their removal (e.g., Buckland et al. 1992, 1998a). In some cases, the high quantity of human ectoparasites has been used to make inferences about the hygiene of former inhabitants (e.g., Buckland et al. 1992). However, it must be stressed that poor preservation conditions may have “sanitized” the archaeoentomological record, and any interpretation of past Journal of the North Atlantic 11 2014 No. 26 V. Forbes, F. Dussault, and A. Bain means. In recent studies from northwest Iceland, archaeoentomological and archaeobotanical evidence for down and seaweed were identified in deposits from storage rooms (e.g., Forbes et al. 2013; Mooney 2008, 2009). To test some of the assumptions of the aforementioned “insect indicator for specific activities” approach, Forbes and Milek (2013) investigated insect assemblages from the extant 19th- and early 20th-century turf buildings at Þverá in northeast Iceland. At this site, the function of each room/building and the cultural practices that took place inside them are well documented (Milek 2012) and used to assist the interpretation of insect remains. Although all the samples were dominated by mold-feeders and their predators (the “barn beetles”), statistical analyses revealed differences in the synanthropic component of beetle assemblages from the different rooms and outbuildings. Animal houses were dominated by mold-feeders more or less tolerant to damp and unsavory materials and conditions, while the near-absence of beetles preferring rotting manure was reminiscent of results obtained from modern stable manure on British farms (Smith 1998, 2000). Whether this is attributable to the practice of removing stable manure from animal buildings for use as fertilizer, or to other taphonomic factors (see Smith 1998, 2000) is unclear. Pantry floors contained species preferring drier conditions and facultative pests in stored products, including Cryptophagus spp. and Mycetaea subterranea (Marsham), while the bedroom, kitchen, corridors, and fuel store comprised a more mixed component, incorporating outdoor species, synanthropes, and eurytopic taxa. The results from Þverá identified varying ecological conditions prevalent in the different rooms, but suggested that elucidating room functions on archaeoentomological evidence alone is perhaps unfeasible. Nevertheless, it may be achieved where entomological data is well-integrated with other archaeological and proxy data. Sanitation and living conditions. The advent of better cleaning and building technologies and of a better awareness of the role of insects in the transmission of plant and animal diseases had the effect of reducing the overall number of insect pests in homes, especially in the past 50–60 years (Busvine 1976, Kenward and Allison 1994). Despite this, insects are still common in houses today, and when recovered from old houses, they can be used as proxies to evaluate past living conditions. A classic example comes from Norse Greenland, where the retrieval of many human lice and fleas from floors believed to have formed in animals stalls have been used to suggest that farmers lived hygiene levels undoubtedly reflects our modern-day prejudices (cf. Buckland et al. 1992, 1993). Sheep ectoparasites, including sheep keds Melophagus ovinus (L.) and lice Bovicola ovis (L.), are also prevalent on Icelandic and Greenlandic farms, sometimes in large numbers. One example comes from Stóraborg in Iceland where over 200 sheep ectoparasites were recovered from a drain, raising the question of how these insects were deposited in a closed conduit. Both the mature and immature stages of these insects tend to remain on the fleece of the animal during its life (Marshall 1981), and thus casual losses from stalled animals are unlikely to have resulted in such an accumulation. By integrating archaeological, ethnographical, and entomological evidence, Buckland and Perry (1989) proposed that high concentrations of sheep ectoparasites were deposited with the stale urine used as a cleansing agent in wool processing. When found in small numbers and scattered throughout samples, sheep keds and lice have been interpreted as either resulting from the final preparation of wool or to casual losses from the animals (e.g., Buckland et al. 1992, Forbes et al. 2010, Panagiotakopulu et al. 2007). Buckland et al. (1993) suggested that the entomological record can be used to discriminate rooms and buildings used by the human occupants from those employed to house animals. At Postmedieval Reykholt, ectoparasites from sheep and humans were found together and interpreted as evidence for delousing and wool spinning and/or combing. Since such activities traditionally occured in the stofa (main living room), the combination of sheep and human ectoparasites was interpreted as fingerprinting such an activity area (Buckland et al. 1992:163). At Nipáitsoq in the Western Settlement in Greenland, insect remains have also been used to attempt to identify sleeping quarters. Here, in a sample matrix containing feathers and down, marine littoral and moss-dwelling insects were recovered (Buckland et al. 1983:93–94, McGovern et al. 1983:104), suggesting that down, mosses, and perhaps seaweed were used in this room. Henderson (1818), a British visitor to Iceland during the years 1814–1815, noted these materials being employed for bedding, and therefore this assemblage was interpreted as an indicator of sleeping quarters (Buckland et al. 1983, McGovern et al. 1983). Whether this approach can always be defended is debatable. Down, feathers, seaweed, and moss were used not only as bedding but also as trade products (down and feathers), fuel (seaweed), and litter (moss and/or peat) (e.g., Annandale 1905, Beck 2013, Boucher 1989, Hallsson 1964). They could therefore have been incorporated into occupation deposits through a wide variety of 2014 Journal of the North Atlantic No. 26 V. Forbes, F. Dussault, and A. Bain 12 Buckland and Sadler (1991) were the first to explore the potential of archaeoentomology as a means of distinguishing shielings from permanent farms. They argued that the small-sized, remote, and seasonally occupied buildings could not sustain breeding populations of mold-feeders and their predators commonly encountered on permanent farms. For example, Engihlíð, in eastern Iceland, was interpreted as a shieling due to the absence of “barn beetle” fauna and the presence of the dung beetle Aphodius lapponum Gyll., indicative of the presence of livestock dung (Buckland and Sadler 1991). Lucas (2008) also used the absence of synanthropic insects associated with decaying vegetal matter in samples from Pálstóftir to support his interpretation of the site as a shieling. In both these cases, differential preservation was evident (Buckland 2007a, Buckland and Sadler 1991), implying that the absence of thermophilous synanthropes was perhaps an artifact of taphonomical processes rather than an evidence for the activities conducted on the sites. Moreover, a recent study at the known shieling site of Faxadalur, associated with the larger farm of Reykholt, did recover taxa commonly associated with organic waste such as Latridius minutus (grp.), Cryptophagus spp., Omalium excavatum Steph. and Aleochara sparsa Heer (Vickers and Sveinbjarnadóttir 2013). Contrary to the assumptions of Buckland and Sadler (1991), the presence of anthropochorous insects at Faxadalur indicates that synanthropic decomposers can be transported to shieling sites. As pointed out by Vickers and Sveinbjarnadóttir (2013), a more careful consideration of the taphonomy and mechanisms of dispersal of synanthropes is needed if archaeoentomology is to help in distinguishing shielings from permanent farms. Fossil insect faunas and farm-abandonment scenarios. An important contribution of archaeoentomology to North Atlantic archaeology has been in reconstructing events preceding the abandonment of Norse Greenland. For example, results of the analysis of preserved fly remains from the farm of GUS in the Western Settlement suggested intermittent phases of temporal abandonments and re-occupation (Buckland et al. 1998a, Panagiotakopulu 2004, Panagiotakopulu et al. 2007). Occupation layers at the site are dominated by remains of the primarily necrophagous species Heleomyza borealis Bohe and T. flavipes, a thermophilous synanthrope associated with protein-rich decaying organic matter. Samples from abandonment phases were largely devoid of synanthropic species, and one of these, collected from the remains of the collapsed roof, contained many sheep lice and caddis fly larvae. This find was interpreted as evidence for the formation of a in close proximity with animals (Buckland et al. 1998a, Panagiotakopulu et al. 2007). Indeed Buckland et al. (1998a) advanced the theory that this was a necessity if people had to force-feed the animals with hardly palatable fodder when hay crops had failed. The presence of the fly Telomarina flavipes (Meig.)., whose puparia feed on proteinrich material, in an alcove containing sheep dung at Gården under Sandet (GUS), supports the interpretation of sheep having had a diverse diet that may have included pounded fish (Panagiotakopulu et al. 2007). There are several other cases where insect assemblages were interpreted as evidence for squalid conditions in human dwellings. The species Catops borealis Krog. and Quedius mesomelinus (Marsham) have been used to suggest the presence of foul residues on floors at Stóraborg (Perry et al. 1985), where the presence of fish bones, mammal bones fragments, and wood chips also suggested the deposition of waste and rotting plant materials on dwelling floors (Sveinbjarnadóttir et al. 1980). At Nipaítsoq in Greenland, high numbers of Heleomyza serrata (L.), a fly which breeds mainly in feces, were recovered in some of the living rooms and have been used to argue for unsanitary, squalid conditions (Buckland et al. 1983). The predominance of decomposer species in the 18thcentury floors of the Faroese farm at Toftanes was interpreted as evidence for unsavory indoor conditions as well (Vickers and Buckland 2013). These archaeoentomological reconstructions of living conditions paint a picture of life on North Atlantic farms which concurs with contemporary descriptions (e.g., Henderson 1818, Mackenzie 1811). Yet, such interpretations conflict with studies that recovered clear evidence for cleaning and floormaintenance practices and rather salubrious living environments (Forbes 2013b, Forbes and Milek 2013, Milek 2012). Certainly there is a need for additional data from across time periods and geographical areas before we can really start appreciating how living conditions in turf buildings varied across time, space, and social classes in the North Atlantic region. Transhumance and the identification of shieling sites. Transhumance, a system whereby animals are moved for the summer to remote pastures to reduce pressure on infield pastures, has long been assumed in the Norse world (Sveinbjarnadóttir 1991). Nevertheless, the temporary nature of shieling sites makes them difficult to identify. A variety of methods have been employed for this purpose, including the study of written sources and place-names, landscape archaeology, and pollen analysis (e.g., Albrethsen and Keller 1986, Ledger et al. 2013, Sveinbjarnadóttir 1991). Journal of the North Atlantic 13 2014 No. 26 V. Forbes, F. Dussault, and A. Bain The Archaeoentomology of Palaeo- and Neo- Eskimo Sites Hunter-gatherer subsistence activities and their ecological impacts Early Quaternary-entomological investigations in Greenland tended to focus on environmental changes and the biogeography of insect faunas (e.g., Böcher 1995, 1997). Some of these studies were conducted on samples collected from Palaeo- Eskimo occupation sites or in peat deposits adjacent to such settlements (e.g., Böcher 1998, Böcher and Fredskild 1993, Haarløv 1967) and therefore helped contextualize these sites in contemporary environments. In peat deposits close to Saqqaq occupation layers at Sermermiut in Western Greenland, Haarlov (1967) noted fly puparia and mites (Acarina) associated with natural habitats ranging from moist or semi-dry heathlands and beaches to wet meadows. More than 30 years later, Böcher and Fredskild (1993) examined insect fossils from midden and occupation layers at the nearby site of Qeqertasussuk, also attributed to the Saqaqq culture. They remarked that several of the identified species were well north of their present-day geographical ranges, suggesting that climate was warmer at the time of the Palaeo- Eskimo occupation than at present (Ibid.). In addition to providing an environmental context to archaeological studies, analyses of entomological fossils from Palaeo-Eskimo and Neo-Eskimo sites in Greenland and the eastern Canadian Arctic have begun to illustrate how insects can help reconstruct certain aspects of hunter-gatherers’ life-ways and how these may have affected local environments. Resource exploitation. Material culture and zooarchaeological studies testify to the utmost importance of wild terrestrial and marine animal resources in the subsistence of hunter-gatherer cultures (e.g., Betts 2008, Sørensen 2012, Woollett 1999). Archaeoentomology has also contributed to the understanding of these practices. Insects from cultural layers associated with Palaeo- and Neo- Eskimo occupations have demonstrated the presence of carrion on some sites—for example through the identification of blowfly (Calliphoridae) puparia at Qeqertasussuk (Böcher and Fredskild 1993) and of the carrion beetle Thanatophilus lapponicus (Hbst.) at the 18th-century Thule site of Uivak Point in Labrador (Bain 2000). Finds of ectoparasites have also contributed to a better understanding of how these animals were exploited, processed, and used. Bird fleas of the genus Ceratophyllus have been recovered from Qeqertasussuk and were suggested to be evidence of seabird hunting by Saqaqq people (Böcher and Freskild 1993). However, since bird temporary pool and perhaps the return of stray sheep to the farm. A mummified goat found under the collapsed roof did not contain any synanthropic flies, suggesting that the goat died in the ruins post-abandonment, when the farm was no longer an island of warmth able to support T. flavipes. Archaeological evidence indicates that the room was later rebuilt on top of the animal’s body as the farm was subsequently re-occupied, prior to final abandonment. According to the archaeoentomological data, the inhabitants of GUS may have left the farm during particularly harsh years (op. cit.). A different abandonment scenario is suggested for the farm of Nipaítsoq. Samples interpreted as the penultimate occupation layers in the presumed bedroom and living room were strongly dominated by T. flavipes (Meig.), which was interpreted as indicative of exceptionally squalid conditions in the living rooms, “more similar to a latrine than living quarters” (Panagiotakopulu et al. 2007:304). In the larder, where there were abundant faunal remains, the carrion-associated fly species, H. borealis and Scoliocentra fraterna Loew were also present. A sharp decrease in T. flavipes and their replacement by more cold-tolerant species was considered indicative of an acute temperature change in the rooms, reflecting the rapid abandonment of the farm (Panagiotakopulu et al. 2007). In conjunction with zooarchaeological and palaeoecological evidence, it was suggested that these fly faunas indicated that the occupants of Nipaítsoq were clearly under stress during the last phase of occupation and that, following a long and harsh winter, they slaughtered all their cattle and even consumed their dogs in an attempt for survival (Buckland et al. 1983, McGovern et al. 1983, Panagiotakopulu et al. 2007). The presence of two sarcophagid fly species in post-abandonment layers is also suggested as evidence for the death of the farm’s inhabitants in situ (Panagiotakopulu et al. 2007:304). This rather dramatic scenario relies heavily on the exceptional character of the fossil fly data recovered from the site, especially the abundance of T. flavipes in the living rooms, but there is limited comparative data from other North Atlantic farms (Panagiotakopulu 2004, Skidmore 1996). The archaeoentomological record has certainly clarified the processes by which two of the farms came to be abandoned; nevertheless, whether the demise of the Norse Greenlandic Settlements happened as a result of its occupants having moved back to Iceland, or having died in situ following conflicts and harsh living conditions, still remains a mystery. 2014 Journal of the North Atlantic No. 26 V. Forbes, F. Dussault, and A. Bain 14 1994, 1997, 2003; Smith 1992, 1994). These results imply that hunter-gatherer settlements, with their accumulations of domestic organic waste and decaying vegetation from structural sods and flooring material, undoubtedly created ideal living conditions for rove beetles normally associated with the upper tidal zone or other damp settings. Thus, even though true synanthropic beetles have so far been absent from such contexts (see below), it is possible to envisage the house floors and middens of Palaeo- and Neo-Eskimos settlements as having been similar to those of Norse and later farmsteads, at least from an insect’s perspective. So far, the only synanthropic beetle species to have been identified from a hunter-gatherer site in the region is the minute brown fungus beetle Latridius minutus (grp.), which was recovered from 16th- and 17th-century deposits in Labrador and is therefore likely to have been introduced through direct or indirect contact with Europeans (Dussault and Bain 2010). As discussed by Kenward (1997), the ability of synanthropic species to colonize and establish populations in habitats provided by buildings in northern latitudes is dependent on the size, permanency, and proximity of such habitats and on the frequency and/or volume of trade and contact between settlements. Given the isolation of Palaeo- and Neo-Eskimo settlements and their shortlived nature, the low diversity of anthropochorous insects on such sites is unsurprising. The only truly synanthropic insects recovered from Palaeo/Neo-Eskimo sites are human ectoparasites. The oldest record of the human louse Pediculus humanus L. in the region came from Qeqertasussuk in western Greenland, in deposits dated from the 2nd millennium B.C. (E. Panagiotakopulu, unpubl. data in BugsCEP), long before the arrival of the Norse. Ectoparasites and hygiene studies in Greenland The hygiene practices of Palaeo and Neo-Eskimo groups have long been a focus of interest in the North Atlantic. Ever since the publication of travelers and explorers’ accounts of the Polar Inuit, the perception has been of a dirty, filthy, and unmannerly people (Henson and Peary 1912, Peary and Peary 1893). This view contrasts with those expressed by anthropologists and ethnologists who observed and described daily hygienic practices (Birket-Smith 1976, Rasmussen and Ostermann 1976, Rasmussen et al. 1994). The first opportunity to scrutinize such prejudices came with the discovery of eight Neo-Eskimo mummies in western Greenland. Adult specimens and nits (eggs) of human lice were recovered from the hair and stomachs of these mummies, suggesting fleas live in nests rather than on their hosts (Brinck- Lindroth and Smit 2007, Marshall 1981), these fleas could equally have ended up in the archaeological record as a result of down or feather collection (see Forbes et al. 2013). Plant resources were also integral to Palaeo- and Neo-Eskimo life, used as food, fuel, flooring, and bedding (e.g., Böcher and Fredskild 1993, Zutter 2009). Similar to the Norse, many of these cultural groups also used turf for construction. The influence of these materials is clearly evident in insect faunas from occupation deposits and from midden layers on Eskimo sites. Outdoor insect taxa, including ground beetles (fam. Carabidae), water beetles (fam. Dysticidae), moss-feeding pill beetles (fam. Byrrhidae), and phytophagous weevils (fam. Curculionidae), likely originated from sods, limbs, grass, or other vegetation brought into houses by the Palaeo/Neo-Eskimos (Bain 2000, 2001; Böcher 1998; Böcher and Fredskild 1993; Dussault and Bain 2010). Indeed, insect faunas at Uivak Point are in agreement with botanical analyses (Zutter 2009) that suggest spruce boughs were used as bedding for the sleeping platform or floor covering. Numerous bark beetles (family Scolytidae) including the species Polygraphus rufipennis (Kirby), which attacks recently broken, cut, or fallen spruce and pine trees (Wood 1982), were also identified. Their presence, combined with evidence for wood having been used in house construction, suggest that the Inuit were actively harvesting rather than collecting this local resource (Bain 2000, 2001). The site today is an open, deforested area similar to many contemporaneous coastal locations in Labrador, and these analyses suggest this lack of trees may be the result of human agency. These findings contradict the idea of Inuit people as passively reacting to their environmental settings; instead, insect analyses suggest they created cultural landscapes. Further work on such preconceptions is needed to properly confirm or refute them for North Atlantic hunter-gatherer cultures. The insect faunas from hunter-gatherers’ homes. Archaeoentomological faunas also evidenced the environmental impact of hunter-gatherer settlements at the micro-scale. Cultural layers from the Palaeo- Eskimo site of Qeqertasussuk are dominated by fly puparia and the rove beetle Micralymma brevilingue Schoïdte, a salt-tolerant decomposer species often found on beaches (Böcher 1988, Böcher and Fredskild 1993). These findings are remarkable given that M. brevilingue is rather scarce in Greenland nowadays even though widely distributed (Ibid.). Similarly, studies in Nunavut suggest greater concentrations of mold-related species in house and midden samples than in natural environments (Bain Journal of the North Atlantic 15 2014 No. 26 V. Forbes, F. Dussault, and A. Bain Latest trends The discovery by Bain (2000, 2001) of entomological evidence for Neo-Eskimos’ having exploited fresh wood for sod house construction challenges the view of native North American cultures as living in harmony with nature and therefore having a limited, perhaps invisible, impact on the environment (e.g., Billington 1981; Dickason 1996, 1997; Wenzel 2004). Similarly, the analyses of lake sediments at the Port au Choix National Historic Site in Newfoundland documented vegetation, salinity, and water pH changes that were interpreted as impacts of Dorset activities, including the processing of seal skins near Bass Pond (Bell et al. 2005, Renouf 2011, Renouf and Bell 2008, Renouf et al. 2009). A forthcoming doctoral project by F. Dussault will further explore the idea that hunter-gatherers’ exploitation of animal and vegetal resources available in their environment may have left a “footprint” in the landscape of Newfoundland. Archaeoentomological data associated with Dorset Palaeo-Eskimo occupations at Phillip’s Garden will be used to reconstruct the living conditions in winter sod houses and identify the natural resources locally available for exploitation at Port au Choix. As such, the project will complement lake-sediment proxies studied by Renouf et al. (2009) with finer-scale reconstructions of living conditions and activities inside Dorset houses and in their immediate surroundings. New data from Neo-Eskimo settlements in southwest Greenland (Vickers 2012) and ongoing analyses on Inuit sites in Labrador by Bain also promise to reveal new insights into the nature and scale of the impact of hunter-gatherers’ activities on North Atlantic environments. Since Buckland and Panagiotakopulu’s (2005) review of archaeological and palaeoecological research in the North Atlantic, new insect data from regions that had been largely ignored in Iceland have been studied (e.g., Forbes 2013a, b, c; Forbes et al. 2010; Hellqvist 2013). The analysis of insect remains from 19th-century Vatnsfjörður has established a link between the presence of duck fleas Ceratophyllus garei and eiderdown production, providing a unique means to identify such activities in the archaeological record (Forbes et al. 2013). Furthermore, Forbes’ (2013b) doctoral thesis has revealed the potential for the processes of modernization to be traced using the archaeoentomological approach. The recovery of the earliest Icelandic records of species of subtropical and tropical origin— Ptinus tectus Boield., Cryptolestes sp., and Sitophilus oryzae/zaemais (L.)/Mots—from samples collected at Vatnsfjörður and Þverá indicated that the occupants of these sites were engaged in worldwide the consumption of lice as part of delousing practices (Bresciani et al. 1983, 1989; Hansen et al. 1991). Furthermore, recent research in northwest Greenland examined insect remains recovered from four different houses and allowed the recovery of numerous body and head lice P. humanus and of a single specimen of pubic lice Phthirus pubis (L.) from the site of Cape Grinnell (Dussault 2011). Higher concentrations of human lice were recovered in entrance tunnels than in the living areas and sleeping platforms, and Dussault (2011) argued that these ectoparasite concentrations were the result of human activity, with spatial distribution of parasites influenced by delousing practices. The presence of bird lice of the genus Ricinus (= Nirmus) sp., which spend their whole lifecycle on the body of their host (Séguy 1944), in the main living area and the entrance tunnel, was interpreted as an indication that birds had been prepared for consumption in these areas. Dog lice of the species Linognathus setosus Von Olfers were also identified from the entrance tunnels and living areas, suggesting that dogs may, at times, have been permitted in houses. As these records are from the 13th to 17th century and pre-date European contact, they rule out the possibility of the dog louse having been introduced to Greenland through interactions with Europeans, but it is possible that Palaeo- and Neo-Eskimo groups played a role in its dispersal. These results indicate that ectoparasites were a part of the daily lives of the Polar Inuits and that hygienic practices were known and undertaken by these people. These findings are consistent with the Inughuit oral tradition but contradict 19th-century western prejudices (Dussault 2011, Forbes et al. 2013). The Future of Archaeoentomology in the North Atlantic Archaeoentomologists’ work in the North Atlantic region has contributed new insights into a wide range of questions, from the reconstruction of site-scale economic and domestic activities to the assessment of the nature, timing, and impacts of the complex interactions between humans and their environment. Despite the growing numbers of studies, the archaeoentomological record remains patchy for many reasons, including variable preservation conditions, a lack of adequate funding and trained specialists, limited awareness of the potential of the methods, and logistical difficulties with working on sites of remote locations. However, new and ongoing archaeoentomological projects have started to explore innovative and promising pathways for future research. 2014 Journal of the North Atlantic No. 26 V. Forbes, F. Dussault, and A. Bain 16 trade networks at least from the late 19th century. Additionally, the earliest Icelandic records of the cattle-biting lice Bovicola bovis (L.) were found at Hornbrekka and Þverá and are contemporary with documentary evidence for the import of foreign cattle as part of efforts to improve Icelandic agriculture (Thoroddsen 1919). These results suggest the pursuit of further archaeoentomological analyses on Postmedieval and Modern sites can not only enhance our understanding of the history of human migrations, trade and their role in the dispersal of pests around the world (e.g., Buckland 1981, King et al. 2014), but also reveal how globalization and the implementation of ideas for improvement impacted people’s lives in the recent past. Future challenges The recognition of the value of archaeoentomological research in the North Atlantic region is unfortunately not sufficient to ensure its perennity. Obviously, the possibility of conducting any type of research is dependent on the availability of funding, resources, and suitable facilities. Archaeological excavations are inherently destructive, and only detailed and robust post-excavation analyses on finds, sediments, and biological remains can allow highly detailed reconstructions of past human activity and living conditions. Ideally, provision for such analyses should be conditional to undertaking excavations, but in reality, with limited funding and the “salvage” nature of many excavations, this ideal is difficult to achieve. These problems are exacerbated when undertaking research in remote areas such as Greenland and Northern Canada, where funding needs to cover equipment, transport, and shipping costs, leaving little for post-excavation research. Even though it is clear that the numerous archaeoentomological datasets published since the 1960s have contributed to the awareness and potential of this method, it is still not uncommon for insect remains to be extracted from subsamples of sediment collected for archaeobotanical analysis or from samples that have already been processed. This approach is not ideal, since plant and insect remains do not necessarily preserve in similar conditions and the best extraction procedures for insect remains (paraffin floatation; see Kenward et al. 1980) differ from those used for plant macrofossils. It is fortunate that sampling for archaeoentomological analysis is much less uncommon in the North Atlantic region than it once had been, but we also need to ensure these samples are duly stored, processed, and analyzed. The time, resources, and methods needed for archaeoentomological analyses vary depending on the questions that are being asked and the nature of the sediment sampled. Thus, one way to ensure the best use of archaeoentomology is to include, or at least consult, specialists early in the planning process. This approach requires archaeological project managers to be well aware of the potential applications of insect analyses and to be able to identify whether information derived from entomological remains could help them attain their research objectives. In providing an overview of the types of questions that can be addressed with archaeoentomology in the North Atlantic region, it is hoped that this paper will raise awareness concerning an important but under-exploited methodology and stimulate new ventures for archaeoentomological research in the North Atlantic region and beyond. Acknowledgments Foremost we wish to acknowledge the work of Paul Buckland and the late Peter Skidmore, whose pioneering research in the North Atlantic inspired us to work in this fascinating region. Magnus Hellqvist and Hrönn Konráðsdóttir are thanked for providing access to unpublished material. Collaborators on archaeological excavations in Canada (William Fitzhugh, Susan Kaplan, Daniel Odess, Douglas Stenton, Marianne Stopp, Patricia Sutherland, and James Woollett), Greenland (Geneviève LeMoine and Christyann Darwent), and Iceland (Jesse Byock, Ágústa Edwald, Bjarni F. Einarsson, Vala Garðarsdóttir, Guðrún Alda Gísladóttir, Garðar Gudmundsson, Megan Hicks, Oddgeir Isaksen, Ramona Harrison, Steinunn J Kristjánsdóttir, Gavin Lucas, Tom McGovern, Karen Milek, Guðmundur Ólafsson, Lilja Pálsdóttir, Howell M. Roberts, John Steinberg, Ragnheidur Traustadóttir, Orri Vésteinsson, James Woollett, and Davide Zori) are acknowledged for sampling for insects on their sites! This paper has greatly benefitted from comments from Phil Buckland and two anonymous reviewers. All mistakes and omissions are our own. Literature Cited Albrethsen, S.E., and C. Keller. 1986. The use of the Sæter in Medieval Norse farming in Greenland. Arctic Anthropology 23:91–128. Amorosi, T., P.C. Buckland, G. 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