Pollen- and related proxy-based studies of human–environment interactions during the Norse and later periods within Greenland have primarily involved the investigation of peat, lake and soil deposits, all of which have taphonomic and sampling problems. Many small ponds exist, but they seem to have been relatively ignored in investigations of palaeoecologically based environmental history. To evaluate their usefulness for studies of ecologically related cultural history, especially where sites are in intimate association with the archaeology, a pond in the Norse Eastern Settlement has been examined to investigate three principal questions: (i) Does such a site contain a useful record of environmental history? (ii) Does it offer a record of sufficient resolution and sensitivity for the study of anthropogenic landscape impacts? (iii) Are there any apparent drawbacks to these sequences? Using data obtained from palynological, diatom, sedimentological and radiocarbon analyses, it is concluded that environmental data for each proxy – aside from 14C dating – are clearly capable of being explained in a reasonably straightforward and compatible manner and fulfil the hopes for the sampling medium. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.