Drowning as their chance to last: exploring the agricultural potential of submerged Neolithic wetland creek systems

  • Smuk, A. (Speaker)
  • Schepers, M. (Contributor)
  • Marco Madella (Contributor)
  • Maurer, A. (Contributor)
  • Tirsa Komrij (Contributor)
  • Michael Bakker (Contributor)
  • Lucy Kubiak-Martens (Contributor)
  • Elena Familetto (Contributor)
  • Kim Cohen (Contributor)
  • Huisman, H. (Contributor)

Activiteit: Academic presentationAcademic


Preservation conditions are a major factor to consider when trying to explain data produced in archaeobotanical analyses. The Finding Suitable Grounds project seeks to identify areas within wetland landscapes that may have been used for arable farming in the Early Neolithic of the Netherlands (5th millennium BCE). The upper part of these farming grounds must have been drained for large parts of the year, which created unfavorable conditions for the preservations of organic remains, compared to more generally waterlogged surroundings. We apply a multi-proxy approach (macro remains, phytoliths, pollen, micro charcoal, micromorphology, sedimentology, geochemistry, and 14C dating) to cored material from a submerged wetland creek system found buried under younger sediments after geophysical mapping. The coring campaign sampled three major landscape elements: creek channels, creek banks (natural levees), and floodbasins. The wetland character of the landscape is sedimentologically evident, but how wet the banks zones in the landscape were throughout a typical year, and what this implies for exploitation suitability, is unestablished.

This contribution will present the investigation results, taking into account differential preservation conditions, as well as the complex formation processes associated with fluvial environments with an open connection to the coast. Following this discussion, we will address the question of whether we should indeed strive for a re-integration of wet and dry landscapes. Simultaneously, we acknowledge that substantial ecosystem variability is to be expected within both of these broad categories and this variability is potentially meaningful from an exploitation potential perspective. The plant remains identified from the wetland areas enable an exquisite opportunity to reconstruct the broader landscape and its attributes prior to anthropogenic activities, also the human imprints caused by land-use, as parts of the landscape could have offered drier conditions for cultivation within the wetlands.
Evenementstitel29th European Association of Archaeologists Annual Meeting: Weaving Narratives
LocatieBelfastToon op kaart
Mate van erkenningInternational