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Wood charcoal and seeds as indicators for animal husbandry in a wetland site during the late mesolithic–early neolithic transition period Swifterbant culture, ca 46–4 bc in NW Belgium



Wood charcoal and seeds as indicators for animal husbandry in a wetland site during the late mesolithic–early neolithic transition period Swifterbant culture, ca 46–4 bc in NW Belgium



Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 22(1): 51-60



Analysis of wood charcoal and seeds from Doel sector M , a Swifterbant site (ca. 46 4 b.c.) from NW Belgium, provides information on the environment, plant food subsistence, animal husbandry practices and seasonality of this wetland camp site during the mesolithic neolithic transition period. The results of the analyses of both charcoal and seeds show that the site was located on the top of a sand ridge covered by an upper riverbank forest with Quercus sp., Tilia sp., Ulmus sp. and Fraxinus excelsior, and surrounded by Alnus woodland. Seeds and fruits of Quercus sp., Cornus sanguinea, Corylus avellana, Malus sylvestris and Prunus spinosa probably represent food plants. High numbers of Viscum album charcoal fragments and Hedera helix seeds suggest the use of these plants as leaf fodder, and thus animal husbandry at the site. In terms of seasonality, the use of both Viscum album and Hedera helix is a strong indication that these wetland campsites were occupied during winter/early spring.

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