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Netherlands
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Arnoldussen S.,University of Groningen | van der Linden M.,BIAX Consult
Vegetation History and Archaeobotany | Year: 2017

Celtic fields are the best preserved and most widely distributed type of prehistoric agricultural landscape in the Netherlands, and occur throughout north-western Europe. In this contribution, data from two excavated Dutch Celtic fields are used to explain the process of bank formation and to unravel the agricultural regime of Celtic fields. To this end, traditional archaeological methodologies and geochemical analyses are combined with detailed palaeo-ecological analyses. It is shown that Celtic field banks were constructed from a mixture of non-local soil, wetland vegetation, dung and settlement debris such as charcoal and sherds. A system was in place in which sods and plants were cut in lower-lying wetland landscapes and which were transported to the settlement, where they were presumably used as byre-bedding, became enriched with dung and were mixed with settlement debris. This mixture was carted to the fields, most likely to be spread across fallow plots as a manuring agent. From this primary, functional location, a composite sediment of agricultural sediments and the added manure was incorporated into the field banks. This process of incorporation was very slow and probably started with the uprooting of arable weeds from the fields, which were tossed to the side against the wattlework fences—together with minute quantities of soil attached to their root clusters. As a consequence of this chain of events, over the course of centuries, banks of anthropogenic sediment came to enclose fields within the Celtic field landscapes. © 2017 The Author(s)


Sanchez-Salguero R.,CSIC - Pyrenean Institute of Ecology | Sanchez-Salguero R.,Swiss Federal Institute of forest | Sanchez-Salguero R.,Pablo De Olavide University | Hevia A.,Forest and Wood Technology Research Center | And 42 more authors.
Dendrochronologia | Year: 2017

The European Dendroecologial Fieldweek (EDF) provides an intensive learning experience in tree-ring research that challenges any participant to explore new multidisciplinary dendro-sciences approaches within the context of field and laboratory settings. Here we present the 25th EDF, held in Asturias, NW Spain, in summer 2014. The course, with 33 participants and 10 instructors from 18 countries included advanced training in dendrochronology skills, an overview of tree-ring broad fields and methodological basics to deal with specific research questions as well as applied advanced micro-projects in dendroarchaeology (DAR), dendroclimatology (DCL), dendrogeomorphology (DGM), forest dynamic (FD) and plant anatomy (PA). The results demonstrated the potential of tree-ring research in the Asturias region. The DAR group researched archaeological samples from different contexts (Oviedo cathedral choir stalls, Segovia cathedral roof timbers, Ribadeo shipwreck ship timbers and Bronze Age site charcoal) and explored the supply of wood in different periods. The DCL group established that the Quercus robur and Castanea sativa ring-width measurements show weak climate-growth correlations, where for many trees this is likely caused by management. The strength of the climatic signal could be enhanced using undisturbed settings. The DGM group found that Corylus avellana and Salix spp. are challenging species for dendrogeomorphological studies. Debris-flow events were detected by the presence of tension wood, growth reduction and scars, and their incidences were also supported by local meteorological data. The FD group found that tree growth decreases with increasing competition, a pattern more pronounced in C. sativa than in Pinus sylvestris forest plantations. The results indicate that wood production could be increased by applying thinning treatments on C. sativa. The PA group showed that xylem conduits and phloem area are organized according to the common needs for water supply to leaves and obtain photosynthetic products, regardless site growing conditions for P. sylvestris and Tusilago farfara. In conclusion, this EDF has been a model for interdisciplinary research and international collaboration that has demonstrated that high-quality research and education can be conducted within one week. The EDFs provide an important service to the dendrochronological community and demonstrate the usefulness of this educational-scientific and multi-cultural experience. © 2017 Elsevier GmbH


Out W.A.,Moesgaard Museum | Hanninen K.,BIAX Consult | Vermeeren C.,BIAX Consult
Environmental Archaeology | Year: 2017

Previous research involving models and age/diameter analysis of branches of modern trees has demonstrated the possibility of distinguishing between managed and unmanaged trees. These findings were then applied to waterlogged wood assemblages from archaeological contexts. The aim of this new study was to reinforce the validity of the models, also with respect to branches of greater diameter than those investigated previously, and to investigate the risk of confusing managed and unmanaged trees by investigating free-standing unmanaged trees, natural shoots of unmanaged trees, and managed trees subject to a long management cycle. The new results confirm that unmanaged trees can be distinguished from managed trees in the case of willow and ash, but show that correct distinction is more difficult in the case of alder. They further indicate that the models are valid for branches of up to at least 23 cm in diameter. The study of branches of free-standing unmanaged trees, natural shoots of unmanaged trees and managed trees with a long cycle demonstrated a substantial overlap in the age/diameter data between unmanaged and managed trees, leading to adjustment of the models. It is explained how branches of both unmanaged and managed trees can still be recognised in archaeological material. © Association for Environmental Archaeology 2017


Our analyses of ceramics from the Neolithic sites near Swifterbant (prov. Flevoland/NL) suggest two distinctive subgroups. This study aims to determine whether these subgroups represent functional categories using botanical analysis (scanning electron microscope) and chemical residue analysis (direct temperature-resolved mass spectrometry). We conclude that there are two functional groups. Group 1 pots are used to cook meals without emmer, while group 2 pots are used to cook meals including emmer. It appears that with the introduction of emmer in the cooking process, traditional meals were transferred to a new type of pottery (group 1), while the nouvelle cuisine ended up in the traditional pots (group 2). This case study is strong evidence that the introduction of emmer in the diet of the Swifterbant people was an innovation embedded in meaningful action. © 2013 Verlag des Römish-Germanischen Zentralmuseums.


Charman D.J.,University of Exeter | Beilman D.W.,University of Hawaii at Manoa | Blaauw M.,Queen's University of Belfast | Booth R.K.,Lehigh University | And 42 more authors.
Biogeosciences | Year: 2013

Peatlands are a major terrestrial carbon store and a persistent natural carbon sink during the Holocene, but there is considerable uncertainty over the fate of peatland carbon in a changing climate. It is generally assumed that higher temperatures will increase peat decay, causing a positive feedback to climate warming and contributing to the global positive carbon cycle feedback. Here we use a new extensive database of peat profiles across northern high latitudes to examine spatial and temporal patterns of carbon accumulation over the past millennium. Opposite to expectations, our results indicate a small negative carbon cycle feedback from past changes in the long-term accumulation rates of northern peatlands. Total carbon accumulated over the last 1000 yr is linearly related to contemporary growing season length and photosynthetically active radiation, suggesting that variability in net primary productivity is more important than decomposition in determining long-term carbon accumulation. Furthermore, northern peatland carbon sequestration rate declined over the climate transition from the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) to the Little Ice Age (LIA), probably because of lower LIA temperatures combined with increased cloudiness suppressing net primary productivity. Other factors including changing moisture status, peatland distribution, fire, nitrogen deposition, permafrost thaw and methane emissions will also influence future peatland carbon cycle feedbacks, but our data suggest that the carbon sequestration rate could increase over many areas of northern peatlands in a warmer future. © 2012 Author(s).


Loisel J.,Lehigh University | Yu Z.,Lehigh University | Beilman D.W.,University of Hawaii at Manoa | Camill P.,Bowdoin College | And 57 more authors.
Holocene | Year: 2014

Here, we present results from the most comprehensive compilation of Holocene peat soil properties with associated carbon and nitrogen accumulation rates for northern peatlands. Our database consists of 268 peat cores from 215 sites located north of 45°N. It encompasses regions within which peat carbon data have only recently become available, such as the West Siberia Lowlands, the Hudson Bay Lowlands, Kamchatka in Far East Russia, and the Tibetan Plateau. For all northern peatlands, carbon content in organic matter was estimated at 42 ± 3% (standard deviation) for Sphagnum peat, 51 ± 2% for non-Sphagnum peat, and at 49 ± 2% overall. Dry bulk density averaged 0.12 ± 0.07 g/cm3, organic matter bulk density averaged 0.11 ± 0.05 g/cm3, and total carbon content in peat averaged 47 ± 6%. In general, large differences were found between Sphagnum and non-Sphagnum peat types in terms of peat properties. Time-weighted peat carbon accumulation rates averaged 23 ± 2 (standard error of mean) g C/m2/yr during the Holocene on the basis of 151 peat cores from 127 sites, with the highest rates of carbon accumulation (25–28 g C/m2/yr) recorded during the early Holocene when the climate was warmer than the present. Furthermore, we estimate the northern peatland carbon and nitrogen pools at 436 and 10 gigatons, respectively. The database is publicly available at https://peatlands.lehigh.edu. © The Author(s) 2014.


Kubiak-Martens L.,BIAX Consult | Brinkkemper O.,Cultural Heritage Agency | Oudemans T.F.M.,Kenaz Consult for Advice and Analysis in Biomolecular Archaeology
Vegetation History and Archaeobotany | Year: 2014

In the coastal area of the northwestern part of the Netherlands, dozens of sites dating to the Single Grave culture (or Corded Ware culture; 2850-2450 cal bc) have been located. Some of the sites have been excavated in the last decades of the 20th century. Within the framework of the Odyssey project of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, the excavated materials from three sites (Keinsmerbrug, Mienakker and Zeewijk) could be fully analysed. The results of archaeobotanical research, including the combined botanical and chemical analyses of organic residues (crusts) in ceramics, as well as the study of isolated remains of processed plant food and charred remains of parenchymatous tissue are presented. It is extremely challenging to find out what kind of food people prepared in the past and to determine actual prehistoric vessel use, to understand what kind of meals people prepared in ceramic vessels, what pots they used for what kind of foods, and if they used the same types of pots for the same foods all the time. The results obtained for the three sites are compared to the existing, dichotomous model developed for habitation of the Single Grave culture in the area, with small special activity sites and large permanent settlements. © 2014 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Kubiak-Martens L.,BIAX Consult | Brinkkemper O.,Cultural Heritage Agency | Oudemans T.F.M.,Kenaz Consult for Advice and Analysis in Biomolecular Archaeology
Vegetation History and Archaeobotany | Year: 2014

In the coastal area of the northwestern part of the Netherlands, dozens of sites dating to the Single Grave culture (or Corded Ware culture; 2850–2450 cal bc) have been located. Some of the sites have been excavated in the last decades of the 20th century. Within the framework of the Odyssey project of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, the excavated materials from three sites (Keinsmerbrug, Mienakker and Zeewijk) could be fully analysed. The results of archaeobotanical research, including the combined botanical and chemical analyses of organic residues (crusts) in ceramics, as well as the study of isolated remains of processed plant food and charred remains of parenchymatous tissue are presented. It is extremely challenging to find out what kind of food people prepared in the past and to determine actual prehistoric vessel use, to understand what kind of meals people prepared in ceramic vessels, what pots they used for what kind of foods, and if they used the same types of pots for the same foods all the time. The results obtained for the three sites are compared to the existing, dichotomous model developed for habitation of the Single Grave culture in the area, with small special activity sites and large permanent settlements. © 2014, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Schepers M.,Groningen Institute of Archaeology | Van Haaster H.,BIAX Consult
Environmental Archaeology | Year: 2015

This paper explores the relationship between standing vegetation and dung from hay-fed cattle and sheep. In an experimental study, hay is retrieved from a known hay field, surrounded by a semi-open landscape of hedgerows, forests and heather fields. The hay is fed to cattle and sheep, after which the dung is collected and from which the botanical remains are analysed, according to archaeobotanical standards. The results from the macro-remains are compared to vegetation relevés from the hay field. The pollen analysis is compared to both the hay field and the surrounding vegetation. Results from the plant macro remains provide an excellent representation of the vegetation in the field itself on the presence/absence level. Pollen analysis reflects the regional vegetation very well and are comparable with 'surface samples'. © Association for Environmental Archaeology 2015.

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