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On-site data cast doubts on the hypothesis of shifting cultivation in the Late Neolithic (c. 4300-2400 cal. BC): Landscape management as an alternative paradigm

Jacomet, Stefanie and Ebersbach, Renate and Akeret, Örni and Antolin, Ferran and Baum, Tilman and Bogaard, Amy and Brombacher, Christoph and Bleicher, Niels K. and Heitz-Weniger, Annekäthi and Hüster-Plogmann, Heide and Gross, Eda and Kühn, Marlu and Rentzel, Philippe and Steiner, Bigna L. and Wick, Lucia and Schibler, Jörg M.. (2016) On-site data cast doubts on the hypothesis of shifting cultivation in the Late Neolithic (c. 4300-2400 cal. BC): Landscape management as an alternative paradigm. Holocene, 26 (11). pp. 1858-1874.

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Abstract

This article brings together in a comprehensive way, and for the first time, on- and off-site palaeoenvironmental data from the area of the Central European lake dwellings (a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site since 2011). The types of data considered are as follows: high-resolution off-site pollen cores, including micro-charcoal counts, and on-site data, including botanical macro- and micro-remains, hand-collected animal bones, remains of microfauna, and data on woodland management (dendrotypology). The period considered is the late Neolithic (c. 4300–2400 cal. BC). For this period, especially for its earlier phases, discussions of land-use patterns are contradictory. Based on off-site data, slash-and-burn – as known from tropical regions – is thought to be the only possible way to cultivate the land. On-site data however show a completely different picture: all indications point to the permanent cultivation of cereals (Triticum spp., Hordeum vulgare), pea (Pisum sativum), flax (Linum usitatissimum) and opium-poppy (Papaver somniferum). Cycles of landscape use are traceable, including coppicing and moving around the landscape with animal herds. Archaeobiological studies further indicate also that hunting and gathering were an important component and that the landscape was manipulated accordingly. Late Neolithic land-use systems also included the use of fire as a tool for opening up the landscape. Here we argue that bringing together all the types of palaeoenvironmental proxies in an integrative way allows us to draw a more comprehensive and reliable picture of the land-use systems in the late Neolithic than had been reconstructed previously largely on the basis of off-site data.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Ehemalige Einheiten Umweltwissenschaften > Archäobotanik (Jacomet)
UniBasel Contributors:Jacomet, Stefanie and Ebersbach, Renate and Akeret, Ernst Örni and Antolin, Ferran and Brombacher, Christoph and Heitz-Weniger, Annekäthi and Hüster Plogmann, Heidemarie and Kühn, Maria Luise Marlu and Rentzel, Philippe and Steiner, Bigna and Wick, Lucia and Schibler, Jörg M.
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Sage Publications
ISSN:0959-6836
e-ISSN:1477-0911
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Language:English
Identification Number:
Last Modified:15 Nov 2016 10:11
Deposited On:08 Nov 2016 15:50

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