- The influence of environmental changes on local and regional vegetation patterns at Rieme (NW Belgium): implications for Final Palaeolithic habitation
- Vegetation History and Archaeobotany
- Volume | Issue number
- 22 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
Late-glacial vegetation changes were studied at Rieme, NW Belgium. Human occupation of this cover sand area occurred from the Final Palaeolithic onwards. The research area is situated on the northern side of a large cover sand ridge in an undulating landscape with small ridges and depressions. The past landscape was reconstructed using a multi-disciplinary approach, including geomorphological, sedimentological, loss-on-ignition, botanical (micro- and macrofossil) and zoological analyses. AMS 14C dating provided an accurate chronology for the sediments. Analyses were performed on three sequences located ~200-300 m apart. Our study shows that during the Bølling (GI-1e) wet meadows developed on the sandy soils and groundwater levels increased probably as result of permafrost melting. Shallow pools formed in depressions. During the Older Dryas (GI-1d) shrubs with juniper, sea-buckthorn and willow developed. Many shallow depressions were overblown with sand and deposition of organic material almost ceased. In the early Allerød (GI-1c) open birch woodlands developed. Due to the final melting of permafrost, groundwater levels rose further and ponds with floating-leaved open water vegetation developed. Large water level fluctuations occurred in one of the ponds. Accumulation of organic deposits ceased during the mid-Allerød. Indirect evidence for human occupation during the Allerød (GI-1c) was found in indications of burning of the reed-swamps in combination with the presence of large herbivores. Final Palaeolithic people probably used the northern side of the cover sand ridge as hunting area, while they settled their temporary (base) camps on the steep southern side along the extensive and deeper Moervaart lake.
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