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PhD ceremony Mr. M. Schepers: Reconstructing vegetation diversity in coastal landscapes

When:Th 15-05-2014 at 16:15
Where:Doopsgezinde Kerk, Oude Boteringestraat 33, Groningen

PhD ceremony: Mr. M. Schepers

Dissertation: Reconstructing vegetation diversity in coastal landscapes

Promotor(s): prof. R.T.J. Cappers, prof. D.C.M. Raemaekers

Faculty: Arts

The vegetation in the Dutch terps landscape is too simply described in common archaeological literature. The salinity component has received too much attention and brackish grasslands were a major, as of yet neglected, component. This is shown by research of PhD student Mans Schepers. Schepers’ dissertation handles about the reconstruction of past vegetation at the most detailed level. It is thereby not the objective to focus on the developments in vegetation over time, but to create an image as the landscape must have been visible for prehistoric people. As Schepers demonstrates, data and methods from present ecology can be applied to archaeobotanical data successfully and can help to compare between the past and the present.

Landscape and vegetation form a major starting point for the opportunities available in a certain area for a broad scale of human activities, including grazing of livestock, cultivating crops and collecting wild plants. The majority of the analyses are based on seeds and fruits (botanical macro-remains) from two Dutch prehistoric regions. These are the small river system in the present Flevopolder, home to settlements of the so-called Swifterbant Culture in the Neolithic, and the Frisian-Groningen terp region in the period prior to the endikements (700 BC – ca. 1200 AD).

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