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. ‘Kredit im deutschen Handel mit den Shetlandinseln im Spätmittelalter und in der Frühen Neuzeit’. Das Mittelalter 27:2 (2022), 347-369.

Holterman, Bart. ‘Norddeutsche Kaufleute in Island im 15. und 16. Jahrhundert’. Island 28:1 (2022), 5-12.


Grassel, Philipp, Holterman, Bart and Mehler, Natascha. ‘Das Forschungsprojekt LIFTE. Über die Auswirkungen internationaler Kommerzialisierung auf periphere Gesellschaften im Nordwesten Europas (1468–1712)’. Deutsche Schifffahrt 1/2021, 23-25.

Holterman, Bart. ‘Vitnisburður frá 1602 sem einsöguleg heimild um alþjóðlega verslun á Íslandi við upphaf dönsku einokunarverslunarinnar’ [A Witness Account from 1602 as microhistorical Evidence for international Trade in Iceland at the Start of the Danish Monopoly]. Saga LIX:1 (2021), 51-82.

Madrigal Sequeira, Noelia. Archäologische Auswertung der Funde aus dem spätmittelalterlichen Schiffswrack Darß 40, Masterarbeit Universität Münster. Münster, 2021.

Madrigal Sequeira, Noelia. ‘The Darss wreck’. in: Arnberg, A., Johansen, O. and Widén, P. (eds.), Under the Surface. Stories from Vrak – Museum of Wrecks, 144-149. Stockholm, 2021.

Mehler, Natascha. ‘Kurz vor Kolumbus’. Die Zeit Geschichte 3/2021, 84-85.


Holm, Poul, Nicholls, John H. and Dirks, Florian. Norfish Dataset: German Herring Fishery 1520– 1790 (2020).

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

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


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:

Mehler, Natascha. ‘Island und Grönland zur Zeit des Adam von Bremen – eine archäologische Spurensuche’. Denkmalpflege in Bremen 16 (2019), 68-82.


Belasus, Mike. ‘Those Bits and Pieces from the Baltic Shores: evidence for medieval shipping along the German Baltic Sea coast from the 12th to the 15th century’. in: Litwin, Jerzey & Ossowski, Waldemar (eds.): The Baltic and beyond. Proceedings of the 14th international Symposium on Boat and Ship Archaeology. Gdańsk 2015, 33-38. Gdańsk, 2018.

Bischop, Dieter & Küchelmann, Hans Christian. ‘Von der Küche in den Graben – Bremens Stadtgraben und die Essgewohnheiten seiner Anwohner an der Wende zur Frühen Neuzeit’. in: Melzer, Walter (ed.). Lebensmittel im Mittelalter und in der frühen Neuzeit. Erzeugung, Verarbeitung, Versorgung. Beiträge des 16. Kolloquiums des Arbeitskreises zur archäologischen Erforschung des mittelalterlichen Handwerks, Soester Beiträge zur Archäologie 15, 137-151. Soest, 2018.

Holterman, Bart & Nicholls, John H. Hansdoc Database. Bremerhaven, 2018.

Mehler, Natascha, Kristjánsdóttir, Steinunn & Kluttig-Altmann, Ralf. ‘The sound of silence – a ceramic horn and its role in monasticism in late medieval Iceland’. Early Music 46:4 (2018), 551-560.

Mehler, Natascha, Hans Christian Küchelmann & 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.


Arge, Símun V. & Mehler, Natascha. ‘Biskupssetrið í Kirjubø og siðaskiftið’. Frøði 2/2017, 4-9.

Belasus, Mike. ‘Connecting maritime landscapes. Or early modern news from two former ‘Baltic Cogs’ (Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, Germany)’. in: Gawronski, Jerzy, van Holk, André & Schokkenbroek, Joost (eds.). Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Symposium on Boat and Ship Archaeology, Amsterdam 2012, 179-184. Eelde, 2017.

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, Belasus, Mike, Holterman, Bart & Küchelmann, Hans Christian. ‘Die Expansion der Hanse in den Nordatlantik im Fokus von Archäologie und Geschichte’. Blickpunkt Archäologie 2/2016, 150-157.


Küchelmann, Hans Christian. ‘Matjeshering or fish soup? Animal remains from a Hanseatic merchants’ site in Bremen’. in: Körösi, Andrea & Szotyori-Nagy, Ágnes (eds.). Hungarian Grey, Racka, Mangalitsa. Papers presented at the international conference honouring János Matolcsi, 25–26 November 2013, 263-270. Budapest, 2015.

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.

Mehler, Natascha. ‘Marine trade and transport-related crafts and their actors – people without archaeology?’. in: Hansen, Gitte, Ashby, Steven P. & Baug, Irene (eds.): Everyday Products in the Middle Ages: Crafts, Consumption and the Individual in Northern Europe c. AD 800–1600, 360-374. Oxford, 2015.

Mehler, Natascha, Belasus, Mike, Holterman, Bart, Küchelmann, Hans Christian. ‘Zwischen Nordsee und Nordmeer – Interdisziplinäre Studien zur Hanse’. Deutsche Schiffahrt 2/2015, 24-28.