a1 Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby BC Canada V5A 1S6
Sagas, law texts, court and ecclesiastical manuscripts, the King's Mirror, and later texts of the 17th and 18th centuries provide information on whaling activities in Iceland during the classical period (up to 1300) and later. Most references concern whales washed or driven ashore, rather than hunted in the open sea. Beached whales were clearly regarded as valuable food resources, generating disputes, litigation and other social conflict among the communities of the Icelandic Commonwealth.
(Received March 1984)