Steinunn Kristjánsdóttir: Lost Paths. Climate Changes and the Forgotten Route to Skriduklaustur Monastery, Eastern Iceland

Abstract. – Medieval monasteries were commonly located on major routes, as they were open to everyone in need for assistance. Still, an excavation carried out on the ruins of the Augustinian Skri.uklaustur monastery (a.d. 1493–1554) revealed suchlike institution situated in a remote inland valley of eastern Iceland. However, the business of the brethren directed the focus towards a forgotten path between the southern and eastern parts of Iceland over the Vatna Glacier or Vatnajökull, placing the monastery in a major route. The path was lost in a.d. 1640 because of climate changes but when it was still accessible, the monastery was the first or last stopover when passing the highlands on the way to the south coast of Iceland. The example from Skri.uklaustur monastery demonstrates how the interplay between culture and nature constantly forges human life and society. [Medieval Iceland, Skriduklaustur monastery, ancient routes, hospital, fish bones, Actor-Network Theory]