The Goths were chieftains of their clans and the district that they or their ancestors had settled. At the beginning of settlement, the chieftains would settle a large area of land and then strategically build farms around the main house, both for defence and for specialising in farming. The farmers were loyal to their chieftain and would normally support him at the parliament. The lawbook Gragas holds a chapter describing the classes and the legal standing of individuals.
The role of the woman was to run the household and to make sure that everything was operating smoothly. Women were the property of their husbands and had nothing to say about their affairs. There were exceptions from this, like in the case of Audur Djupudga which had her own land and was a goth.
The design of the typical settlement house consisted of timber, turf, rock and slab stone. The floor consisted of mud with a long fire in the middle. These houses would have at least two entrances. As time went by, the design developed. Today there are turf farms preserved around the country but it takes a lot of work to maintain them.
Agriculture was the main industry if you could call it that. During the summer months, farmers would send workers to fish. There was no real fishing industry here until the industrial revolution started in 1900. People would work in the farms and utilise everything they could from the livestock. There was some domestic industry in a way of speaking, wool and homespun products were traded and there was some import/export going on.
When the Icelanders adopted Christianity in the year 1000, the role of the church increased severely as time went by. In the beginning the churches were owned by laymen but that changed in 1178 when the bishop Thorlakur came from Norway with instructions that laymen were not allowed to own or control churches anymore. He founded an episcopal at Skalholt, in the southern part of Iceland, and later another episcopal was founded at Holar i Hjaltadal, in the northern part of Iceland. The Church started to collect one tenth of everyone’s income. That was split between the Church, the priests, the bishop and the poor. With this the power of the Church increased dramatically but the power of the goths diminished. The Goths started to educate their sons to become priests and there by turned the tables to their advantage.