Dealing with domestic animals in the fifth millennium cal BC Dutch wetlands: New insights from old Swifterbant assemblages

Canan Çakirlar*, Breider Rianne, Francis Koolstra, Kim Cohen, Daan C. M. Raemaekers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


One classic case study area regarding the transition to farming is the Swifterbant Culture of the Low Countries bordering the North Sea in Northwest Europe, with sites located in the wetlands between Antwerp and Hamburg. The Netherlands’ coastal plain constitutes a major part of this zone. Based on multi-proxy zooarchaeological data and direct 14C dates, we think it is reasonable to suggest that animal husbandry began in the Dutch Delta at the end of the fifth millennium BC. Although foraging remained an important activity at least until 3700 cal BC (as evident at Schipluiden), it is clear that the changing relationships between humans and animals at the end of the fifth millennium are in one way or another related to encounters with domesticates. This period needs to be explored in detail with new methods and multi-disciplinary perspectives on using larger assemblages.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFarmers at the Frontier
Subtitle of host publicationA Pan-European Perspective on Neolithisation
EditorsKurt J. Gron, Lasse Sorensen, Peter Rowley-Conwy
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781789251418
ISBN (Print)9781789251401
Publication statusPublished - 21-Feb-2020

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