Place-names, and the study of them (toponymy), is not a subject I have spent much time thinking about in the past -- but it is something that I am becoming increasingly absorbed by with regard to the sagas, as my Sagasteads project progresses. There are numerous instances in the sagas where place-names are elucidated by a saga-author and connected with events described in a saga narrative. It is possible -- and likely in some cases -- that these anecdotes were invented by saga-authors, or by other figures at some point between the date of a saga's action and that of its written composition, in order to explain how places got their names. But whether or not individual anecdotes about events and places that purportedly led to places acquiring their names are historically 'true', I am finding the 'in situ' saga-fieldwork process of mapping written explanations behind place-names onto the physical topography of local areas to be very engaging and revealing.
|Geirshólmr from Þyrilsnes |