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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2019 / MAS DE VIGNOLLES XIV (NIMES, GARD, SOUTHERN FRANCE): DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES ON LAND USE AND MANAGEMENT FROM THE PROTOHISTORY TO THE MIDDLE AGES

Isabel Figueiral, Pascale Chevillot, Mona Court-Picon, Vianney Forrest, Sophie Martin, Hervé Pomarèdes, Philippe Ponel and Christophe Tardy (2019)

MAS DE VIGNOLLES XIV (NIMES, GARD, SOUTHERN FRANCE): DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES ON LAND USE AND MANAGEMENT FROM THE PROTOHISTORY TO THE MIDDLE AGES

In: 18th Conference of the International Workgroup for Palaeoethnobotany, 3-8 June 2019, Lecce (Italy), ed. by IWGP, pp. 70, Universita del Salento.

The enlargement of a commercial centre in the vicinity of Nîmes (Southern France) offered evidence on land occupation and exploitation, from the Iron Age to the Middle Ages. The location of the living and working areas, paths and agrarian ‘structures’ uncovered was conditioned by the problematic topography and environment (humid depression; cyclic flooding) as identified by geomorphology and malacology. The diversity of the plant cover and of land management is also recognized by malacology, which emphasizes the importance of animal husbandry and pasture during the whole sequence, in agreement with data from pollen, beetles and domestic fauna. Concentrations of cattle remains rekindle the idea of a hypothetical link between significant consumption of cattle meat and humid areas. The impact of human activities on the plant cover is recognized in the low frequencies of arboreal pollen recorded since the Iron Age; however, fuelwood was apparently readily available as suggested by charcoal data. Further information on economic activities is provided by archaeobotany. The importance of Cannabis sativa and Linum usitatissimum may explain why this “ecologically problematic” area was exploited. Access to water is essential for the processing of plant fibres. Cereal cultivation, better recognized by palynology than by archaeobotany, appears to suffer fluctuations through time. The remains of Vitis constitute the first material proof of local vine cultivation during the Middle Ages.
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