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Six papers by international scholars reporting on studies of food production and food consumption in the North Atlantic area during the Viking Age and Norse Period. At least three papers are concerned with ways of cooking and storing and discuss different containers. The Norse/Celtic population around the Irish Sea, such as the Hebrides, was familiar with producing home-made pottery and probably spread this technology in the 10th Century to the North Atlantic isles. In addition to containers, another item of importance in the cooking process is the bakestone, used mainly for baking bread. In Shetland steatite bakestones are found in early Viking Age deposits. The Norwegian bakestones are more than a hundred years younger. Rotating quern stones are another important implement in connection with food preparation. Both bakestones and querns point to the growing importance of grain.
One of the important concepts or modes of production in this area is the fisher–farmer concept which is dealt with in another paper. A closer look at marine resources reveals that stockfish became a very important food resource and trade object. Trade, exchange and barter: these terms signal different forms of circulation of goods, which is the theme of the last chapter in the book. Circulation of goods obviously depends on two factors: ships and natural harbor sites. Kolkuós, situated on the eastern coast of Skagafjörður in Iceland, was recently excavated and presents a very important archaeological material.
Gruel, Bread, Ale and Fish is funded by the Danish Ministry of Culture, Northern Worlds Research Program, and the National Museum of Denmark. The editor, Ditlev L. Mahler, is a senior researcher at the National Museum of Denmark, Modern History and World Cultures.
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