Fish and Ships

Weblog about pre-modern international trade in the North Atlantic

Welcome to the weblog about research into the late medieval and early modern international trade on the North Atlantic islands. It investigates the economic and cultural connections of merchants from Northern German cities, such as Bremen and Hamburg with the North Atlantic islands of Iceland, Shetland and Faroe during the 15th to 17th centuries. The research is based at the German Maritime Museum (Deutsches Schifffahrtsmuseum) in Bremerhaven in cooperation with the University of Highlands and Islands in Orkney. The research is carried out by four team members, each with their individual research objectives and disciplinary background. With this blog we want to provide information about the current state of our research, and create a platform to make available results and new knowledge. Read more...


The following data, websites, books and articles have been published by the teams of the Between the North Sea and the Norwegian Sea and LIFTE.


Holterman, Bart. ‘Vitnisburður frá 1602 sem einsöguleg heimild um alþjóðlega verslun á Íslandi við upphaf dönsku einokunarverslunarinnar’. Saga (2021 – forthcoming).


Holterman, Bart. The Fish Lands. German Trade with Iceland, Shetland and the Faroe Islands in the Late 15th and 16th Century. Berlin: DeGruyter, 2020. Open Acces –

Holterman, Bart, and Philipp Grassel. ‘Victuals for Fish! The Hanseatic Trade from Bremen and Hamburg to Shetland’. The New Shetlander, Yule 2020, 8–15.


Mehler, Natascha, Mark Gardiner, and Endre Elvestad (eds.), German Trade in the North Atlantic, c. 1400-1700. Interdisciplinary Perspectives. AmS-Skrifter 27. Stavanger, 2019. Including:

  • Küchelmann, Hans Christian. ‘Hanseatic Fish Trade in the North Atlantic: The Evidence of Fish Remains from Hanse Cities in Germany’, 75–92.
  • Mehler, Natascha, Guðmundur Ólafsson, Bart Holterman, Joris Coolen, Ragnar Edvardsson, and Torbjörn Brorsson. ‘Gautavík – a Trading Site in Iceland Re-Examined’, 227–43.


Mehler, Natascha, Hans Christian Küchelmann, and Bart Holterman. ‘The Export of Gyrfalcons from Iceland during the 16th Century: A Boundless Business in a Proto-Globalized World’. In Raptor and Human – Falconry and Bird Symbolism throughout the Millennia on a Global Scale, edited by O. Grimm and U. Schmölke, 3:995–1020. Neumünster, 2018.


Grassel, Philipp. ‘Die späthansezeitliche Schifffahrt im Nordatlantik vom 15. Jahrhundert bis zum 17. Jahrhundert. Das maritim-archäologische Potenzial hansischer Handelsplätze auf den Shetland Inseln, den Färöer Inseln und Island anhand archäologischer und historischer Quellen’. PhD thesis, Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel, 2017. Download (MACAU, Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel)


Mehler, Natascha. ‘The Sulphur Trade of Iceland from the Viking Age to the End of the Hanseatic Period’. In Nordic Middle Ages – Artefacts, Landscapes and Society. Essays in Honor of Ingvild Øye on Her 70th Birthday, 193–212. University of Bergen Archaeological Series 8. Bergen, 2015.