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The Vikings were not the first colonizers of the Faroe Islands

Church, M.J.; Arge, S.V.; Edwards, K.J.; Ascough, P.L.; Bond, J.M.; Cook, G.T.; Dockrill, S.J.; Dugmore, A.J.; McGovern, T.H.; Nesbitt, C.; Simpson, I.A.

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S.V. Arge

K.J. Edwards

P.L. Ascough

J.M. Bond

G.T. Cook

S.J. Dockrill

A.J. Dugmore

T.H. McGovern

C. Nesbitt

I.A. Simpson


Claire Nesbitt


We report on the earliest archaeological evidence from the Faroe Islands, placing human colonization in the 4th–6th centuries AD, at least 300–500 years earlier than previously demonstrated archaeologically. The evidence consists of an extensive wind-blown sand deposit containing patches of burnt peat ash of anthropogenic origin. Samples of carbonised barley grains from two of these ash patches produced 14C dates of two pre-Viking phases within the 4th–6th and late 6th–8th centuries AD. A re-evaluation is required of the nature, scale and timing of the human colonization of the Faroes and the wider North Atlantic region.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Oct 1, 2013
Deposit Date Mar 23, 2012
Publicly Available Date Jul 25, 2016
Journal Quaternary Science Reviews
Print ISSN 0277-3791
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 77
Pages 228-232
Keywords Faroe Islands, Earliest human settlement, 14C Dating.
Public URL


Accepted Journal Article (486 Kb)

Copyright Statement
NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Quaternary science reviews. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Quaternary science reviews, 77, 1 October 2014, 10.1016/j.quascirev.2013.06.011.

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