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Research Groningen Institute of Archaeology Research Finding Suitable Grounds

Living on the levees

In the (now submerged or buried) research areas, the suitability of different landscapes for crop cultivation will be assessed, as well as the potential changes in suitability over time. From the landscape perspective the project will study levee sedimentation, vegetation cover, soil formation and flooding frequency. Questions to be answered are: were the highest parts of the levees annually or decadaly overtopped? Was the vegetation cover easily removed for land clearing by the early agricultural groups? Were the topsoils suitable for early crop cultivation techniques? The data collected should reveal and map how these factors changed in time and space, and how they progressively altered the suitability of central delta landscapes for clearing and crop cultivation between 6000 and 4000 BC. Moreover, we will look for evidence of human subsistence-related activities in the fluvial landscape zones, as evidenced from micromorphological identification of tillage marks and residue of burnt vegetation and crops.

In the Rhine-Meuse delta, we will choose locations for mechanical coring for sampling levee deposits at different moments in time between 6000 and 4000 BC (off-site as well as proximal to known Neolithic sites). In the Flevoland region, geophysical data and existing cores will be sampled and studied.

The PhD candidate on this project (Elena Familetto) is based at Utrecht University.

Last modified:10 January 2022 1.50 p.m.