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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications / A reconstruction of middle Holocene alluvial hardwood forests (Lower Scheldt River, northern Belgium) and their exploitation during the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition period (Swifterbant Culture, ca. 4500 – 4000 BC).

Koen Deforce, Jan Bastiaens and Philippe Crombé (2014)

A reconstruction of middle Holocene alluvial hardwood forests (Lower Scheldt River, northern Belgium) and their exploitation during the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition period (Swifterbant Culture, ca. 4500 – 4000 BC).

Quaternaire, 25(1):9-21.

The analysis of a large number of charcoal fragments from fire places from a wetland camp site of the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition period (Swifterbant culture) now permits a detailed reconstruction of a middle Holocene riverine forest along the Lower Scheldt River (northern Belgium) and its exploitation between ca. 4,500 and 4,000 BC. The identified taxa point towards an alluvial hardwood forest (Querco-Ulmetum minoris Issler 1924) on the sand dune on which the camp site was situated, surrounded by alder carr. The results are compared with palynological and macrobotanical analyses from the same site and from contemporary sites within the area; the complementarity of these different types of data is discussed. The combination of all these datasets results in a detailed reconstruction of the environment and of its exploitation by the Swifterbant culture. The results also show that the Swifterbant people not only depended on these sand ridges for dry settlement locations, but also for firewood collection, gathering of edible plants and most probably for the collection of leaf fodder to feed livestock during winter time.
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