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I Wish I was where I was when I was wishing I was here: Mentalities and Materialities in Contemporary and Historical Iceland

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Oscar Aldred


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The North acts as an Other space; somewhere that lies beyond. However, it is also a real place. In this paper, I tease out the parameters that Iceland’s landscape offers for an understanding of the tensions between virtual North and real North. The first part of the paper discusses the context of nineteenth-century antiquarian adventuring to Iceland. Foreign visitors journeyed to Iceland to re-connect with a past that was being lost in the industrialising landscapes of Western Europe. The second part of the paper focuses on present-day archaeological surveys of a group of islands in Breiðafjörður, West Iceland. Drawing on a phenomenological approach and a discussion of nineteenth-century visits to Iceland by travellers such as William Morris and W.G. Collingwood, the paper explores how sagas and other local histories influence the production of archaeological knowledge and place-making.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Aldred O

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Historical Archaeology

Year: 2015

Volume: 49

Issue: 3

Acceptance date: 29/04/2014

ISSN (print): 0440-9213

ISSN (electronic): 2328-1103

Publisher: Society for Historical Archaeology