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Nederhemert-Noord, Netherlands

Bos J.A.A.,ADC ArcheoProjecten | Verbruggen F.,ADC ArcheoProjecten | Engels S.,University of Amsterdam | Crombe P.,Ghent University
Vegetation History and Archaeobotany | Year: 2013

Late-glacial vegetation changes were studied at Rieme, NW Belgium. Human occupation of this cover sand area occurred from the Final Palaeolithic onwards. The research area is situated on the northern side of a large cover sand ridge in an undulating landscape with small ridges and depressions. The past landscape was reconstructed using a multi-disciplinary approach, including geomorphological, sedimentological, loss-on-ignition, botanical (micro- and macrofossil) and zoological analyses. AMS 14C dating provided an accurate chronology for the sediments. Analyses were performed on three sequences located ~200-300 m apart. Our study shows that during the Bølling (GI-1e) wet meadows developed on the sandy soils and groundwater levels increased probably as result of permafrost melting. Shallow pools formed in depressions. During the Older Dryas (GI-1d) shrubs with juniper, sea-buckthorn and willow developed. Many shallow depressions were overblown with sand and deposition of organic material almost ceased. In the early Allerød (GI-1c) open birch woodlands developed. Due to the final melting of permafrost, groundwater levels rose further and ponds with floating-leaved open water vegetation developed. Large water level fluctuations occurred in one of the ponds. Accumulation of organic deposits ceased during the mid-Allerød. Indirect evidence for human occupation during the Allerød (GI-1c) was found in indications of burning of the reed-swamps in combination with the presence of large herbivores. Final Palaeolithic people probably used the northern side of the cover sand ridge as hunting area, while they settled their temporary (base) camps on the steep southern side along the extensive and deeper Moervaart lake. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.

Crombe P.,Ghent University | van Strydonck M.,Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage | Boudin M.,Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage | Van den Brande T.,Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage | And 17 more authors.
Radiocarbon | Year: 2012

Based on radiocarbon and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) results obtained in the last 5 yr, this paper discusses the absolute chronology of the formation of one of the largest sand dunes within NW Belgium, the Great Ridge of Maldegem-Stekene. Multiproxy analysis of 6 sedimentary sequences points to a complex formation history covering the entire Late Glacial. Dry phases, characterized by eolian deflation and sedimentation, alternated with wet phases in which 0numerous mostly shallow dune slacks were filled with freshwater. The latter reached their highest water level during the first half of the Allerød, attracting both animals (e.g. European elk) and humans (Federmesser hunter-gatherers). Near the end of the Allerød, all dune slacks finally disappeared as they were filled in with windblown sand ("coversand"), likely forcing prehistoric hunter-gatherers to leave the area. © 2012 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona.

Van Beek R.,Leiden University | Gouw-Bouman M.T.I.J.,University Utrecht | Bos J.A.A.,ADC ArcheoProjecten
Geologie en Mijnbouw/Netherlands Journal of Geosciences | Year: 2015

Interdisciplinary, landscape-oriented studies from an archaeological viewpoint in the Low Countries mainly concentrate on cultural and economic research questions. Focal points are the physical setting of settlements and cemeteries, land use patterns and subsistence economy. As a result, the collected data are rather site-based and one-dimensional. As a counterweight, this study aims to look beyond the boundaries of settlements and cemeteries by offering a regional and diachronic perspective on the development of the landscape, vegetation and habitation of Twente (the Netherlands) since the Late Glacial. A detailed search for existing pollen data yielded 125 sites containing information from a wide variety of sampling contexts. A series of six evidence-based regional vegetation maps have been constructed by analysing relations between pollen data, soil data and topography. The maps serve as first-stage generalised models that predict regional trends, allow subsequent testing and place site-specific archaeological data in a wider context. The method developed is applicable to other regions. A comparison with contemporary habitation patterns, based on archaeological and historical data, reveals spatio-temporal trends in human influence on vegetation and in physical factors influencing site location. Five maps have been 'translated' into artist impressions. © 2015 Netherlands Journal of Geosciences Foundation.

Birks H.H.,University of Bergen | Van Dinter M.,ADC ArcheoProjecten | Van Dinter M.,University Utrecht
Boreas | Year: 2010

Modern climate in western Norway shows a strong west-east gradient in oceanicity-continentality (coast to inner fjord) and altitudinal temperature gradients that control the regional and altitudinal zonation of vegetation. To discover if similar gradients existed during the Lateglacial and early Holocene, plant-macrofossil analyses were made from five lacustrine sediment sequences in the Nordfjord-Ålesund region selected to sample the present climatic gradients. The macrofossil assemblages could be interpreted as analogues of the present vegetation, thus allowing reconstruction of past vegetation and climates. When the five sites were compared, climatic gradients could be detected. During the Lateglacial interstadial, mid-alpine assemblages with Salix herbacea and S. polaris occurred at the lowland coast and upland inland sites, whereas the inland lowland site had low-alpine dwarf-shrub heath dominated by Betula nana, demonstrating a strong west-east gradient in temperature and precipitation and an altitudinal gradient inland. During the Younger Dryas stadial, assemblages at the lowland coast and upland inland sites resembled high-alpine vegetation, whereas the inland lowland site was warmer with mid-alpine vegetation, demonstrating west-east and altitudinal temperature gradients. Gradients became less pronounced in the Holocene. The early abundance of Betula nana in the inner fjord sites but its rarity at the coast is striking and reflects the oceanicity gradient. All sites became forested with Betula pubescens a few centuries into the Holocene. This forest was probably close to tree line at 370 m a.s.l. at the coast. Inland, there was no detectable altitudinal gradient, with the tree line well above 400 m a.s.l. reflecting the present pattern of tree-line elevation. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 The Boreas Collegium.

Van Dinter M.,University Utrecht | Van Zijverden W.K.,ADC ArcheoProjecten | Van Zijverden W.K.,Saxion University
Geologie en Mijnbouw/Netherlands Journal of Geosciences | Year: 2010

Until recently, most archaeologists assumed that human occupation of the Dutch river area in the Neolithic period and Bronze Age was rare and predominantly seasonal. Settlement and land use were thought to be limited to abandoned alluvial ridges and aeolian dunes. However, recent archaeological research revealed that Neolithic and Bronze Age human activity occurred at many locations in the Rhine-Meuse Delta. Human settlement and agricultural land use in the Rhine-Meuse delta from at least 3200 BC to 1100 AD was much more common than previously thought. Crevasse splay complexes of active and abandoned river systems proved to have provided favourable sites for settlements. These elevated areas were suitable for agriculture, as they were fertile, easy to plough and possessed suitable hydrological conditions. In addition, people could exploit the surrounding floodplain for hunting, fishing or herding their cattle. Furthermore, the river or residual river channel was near for transport. From the start of the Middle Bronze Age B (1400 BC) occupation of crevasse splay deposits in the delta was widespread. Farmsteads were built on splays that varied in size and morphology. Some locations were abandoned after a few decades, while others remained occupied during a much longer period. During the period of occupation, the crevasse splays gradually lost their relatively high position in the landscape due to subsidence and ongoing sedimentation on the floodplain. LIDAR data combined with digital coring databases and/or detailed soil maps have proven to be an excellent method to identify and map crevasse splays and archaeological sites on these. The resulting new maps form a major basis for archaeological prospection and preservation policy.

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