What lies beneath: the value of buried Stone Age landscapes
09 / 2006 - 09 / 2011
Most known Prehistoric sites in The Netherlands are discovered as a result of (partial) destruction of those sites. They are known as surface sites. Their contradictory sites are the ones located on the Pleistocene sands, covered by younger sediments such as marine clay deposits. These buried landscapes hold a vast amount of information on artefacts in their geological and landscape context. The difficulty in researching these Stone Age sites and their landscape settings lies in locating and evaluating them. Unlike surface sites, little or no artefacts are found on the surface to indicate the location or nature of the buried remains. Therefore, these archaeologically important places are very rarely taken into account in the Archaeological Heritage Management (AHM). This study aims to establish a framework within which the Prehistoric landscape beneath today s surface can be evaluated and understood more readily than in the current state. To accomplish this aim, several case studies will be executed in different geological regions in the Netherlands. One such case study, subsidised by the Province of Fryslân , involves pingo-scars in the north of the Netherlands . These ice-age relics have always been regarded as potentially valuable habitational locations for hunter-gatherers, because there would have been dry places to live on, water near by and a hinterland to hunt in. Most pingo-remnants have been filled with organic sediments since then. Currently, these sediments are being dug out in order to create ponds to change the faunal make-up of an area. Because of the lack of accurate knowledge about the archaeological value of these features, potential sources of information are being destroyed. The main aim of this case study is to establish the archaeological value of pingo-remnants through a study of literature and field work. This way, recommendations for future research and preservation can be given. The other part of the projects harbours several case studies in the province of Flevoland . Firstly, a model will be made to assess the value of residues extracted from coring campaigns. The emphasis will be on flint recovered within these projects, because flint is as a rule a reliable indicator for antropogeneous activity. The location and geological/landscape context of the artefacts will be mapped. This part of the project is subsidised by the Municipality of Almere. Using the model mentioned above as a starting point, research will be undertaken into the habitational history of Southern Flevoland . Within this project, use wear on flint from the aforementioned corings and that recovered in past and future coring campaigns and/or excavations will be done. Another major aim of this case study is to reconstruct the sedimentation of so-called Oude Getijdeafzettingen . If these turn out to be comparable with sedimentation processes in Eastern Flevoland (the Swifterbant area), the inhabitation of the area may have been similar.