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Trade in the pre-capitalistic North Atlantic

Map of Iceland by Abraham Ortelius ca. 1590

Trade in the pre-capitalistic North Atlantic

Paper by Orri Vésteinsson

Given at the New University of Lisbon, on November 7, 2018

It is often argued that the island colonies of the North Atlantic owed their very existence to being suppliers of luxury goods for European elites (e.g. walrus ivory, gyrfalcons). The paper examines the evidence for international trade in 14th century Iceland based on excavations of a merchants’ camp at Gásir in North Iceland and argues that while some exports may have caught high prices at markets abroad the producing economies were remarkably immune to market forces.

Orri Vésteinsson is a professor of archaeology at the University of Iceland. Click here to view his Academia.edu page.

Top Image: Map of Iceland by Abraham Ortelius ca. 1590

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