Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, Brown University, Providence, RI
Deputy Director/Chief Curator
I am an archaeologist whose research has focused, for the past 33 years, on Viking Age and medieval exploration and settlement in Iceland and the North Atlantic. Initially I was interested in understanding the dynamic processes that led to the creation of a short-lived independent Icelandic state during the 13th century but my work in Iceland rapidly led to work on Viking Age iron production and farming. In 1997, I was asked whether I would be interested in analyzing the jasper fire-starters from L'Anse aux Meadows, on the basis of work I was doing in Iceland to trace the movement of people around its landscapes using these "matches" from the pockets of Iceland's Viking settlers. That led to a long-term project on jasper, collaborative work with Canadian colleagues, the development of a comparative collection of jasper and cherts from Newfoundland and the North Atlantic, expertise in X-Ray Fluorescence, and (naturally) to this project.
My current research projects in Iceland are focused on a Viking Age ritual site located deep within a lava cave in Iceland's forbidding interior, a chieftain's farm occupied from the 9th century to the present, and a 13th century fortified outpost inside another cave even farther into the interior. I have collaborated on, or led, projects in Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland, and Alaska, as well as in Scotland and on prehistoric sites around the continental United States, which have provided me with 45 years of experience in the analysis of stone tools.
I am also deputy director of Brown University's Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, where I am in charge of daily operations, research, staff, students, diverse and research-ready collections, exhibition development, and more.