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Chapter 4

Chapter 4

196 4 - VECHT REGION The

196 4 - VECHT REGION The material of the refuse layer is not assigned to the separate phases. It is assumed that the organic remains are mostly related to the Neolithic phase, in view of the changing preservation conditions through time. The variety of the bone and macroremains assemblages indicates that Neolithic subsistence was based on hunting, gathering, fowling, fishing and agriculture. There is not much information available on seasonality. Altogether the site may have had a base camp function and even may have been occupied permanently. 4.5.2 archaeobotanIcal materIalS and methodS The archaeobotanical data consist of pollen samples from the presumed ard marks and macroremains samples. D. van Smeerdijk and T. Vernimmen were responsible for the pollen and macroremains analysis respectively. The pollen analysis consisted of three samples from sandy features that were interpreted as ard marks. Of each sample, a single line of a single slide was counted while the remaining lines were scanned for new taxa; of one sample two lines were counted. Three slides were studied for the identification of pollen grains of cereals. The analysis of macroremains was based on single finds from sieve residues, handpicked samples, samples from the presumed ard marks, samples from deep hearths, a sample associated with a grave, and samples from the refuse layer. The sieve residue samples were collected from sieves with various mesh widths (mainly 2 mm). The samples from the presumed ard marks were sieved dry on a mesh width of 0.25 mm. The samples from the hearths and the grave were sieved on a 1 mm sieve. The treatment of the samples of the refuse layer was based on the sediment of the samples (0.25 mm mesh width for organic sediment and 1 mm mesh width for sand). More details are given in Van Smeerdijk (2001) and Vernimmen (2001). 4.5.3 reconStructIon of the natural vegetatIon The material available for the reconstruction of the natural vegetation consists of pollen analysis from the ard marks and macroremains from the refuse layer. The ard marks are supposed to date to the Neolithic period. The AP/NAP ratio in the three investigated samples varies between 0.3 and 0.55 (Van Smeerdijk 2001), suggesting open vegetation. The number of unidentified pollen grains is however relatively high. The number of wetland taxa (Cyperaceae included here) tends to be larger than the number of dryland taxa. The data do not demonstrate the presence of woodland of dry terrain or large patches of open water. In the local and/or extra-local vegetation, alder carr vegetation may have been present comprising Alnus sp., Poaceae, Cyperaceae, Asteraceae and ferns. Several of the microfossils indicate the presence of shallow pools. The presence of ruderals indicates the presence of open, disturbed terrain. Five samples of macroremains collected in and just above the refuse layer were more or less suitable for reconstruction of the natural vegetation, but only two samples contained considerable numbers of macroremains. The assemblage was contaminated with recent macroremains and neophytes (especially ruderals). The results of this analysis are shown in table 4.12. Most remains were preserved in a waterlogged state. The assemblage is dominated by taxa from eutrophic alder carr, marsh and bank vegetation, suggesting the presence of somewhat open alder carr vegetation. The available data of macroremains do not allow the answering of the question on whether deciduous woodland of dry terrain was present on the dune during occupation (the large number of hazelnut shells could represent natural vegetation or collected hazelnuts). The number of taxa that indicate woodland vegetation of dry terrain is rather limited. This could either mean that the vegetation was very open during all occupation phases or that the assemblage represents only the wetland vegetation during the period of submergence of the dune. In addition to wetland taxa, the assemblage shows a considerable variety of taxa indicative of open, disturbed terrain rich in nutrients. Some of these taxa clearly represent contamination since they were introduced in the Netherlands only after the period studied, for some taxa this remains unclear (e.g. Sonchus sp.), while several other taxa are regularly present at comparable sites in the Vecht region and can tentatively be interpreted as valid finds (e.g. Atriplex patula/prostrata, Solanum nigrum and Stellaria media).

4 - VECHT REGION freq. cont. freq. cont. taxon taxon Ruderals and pioneers of dry terrain Carr and marsh vegetation (cont.) Aethusa cynapium 1 Mentha aquatica/arvensis 1 Anagallis arvensis 1 Menyanthes trifoliata 1 Atriplex patula/rostrata 3 Oenanthe aquatica 2 Chenopodium album 1 Potentilla palustris 1 Persicaria lapathifolia/maculosa 2 r, s Ranunculus sceleratus 2 Polygonum aviculare 1 Schoenoplectus lacustris/ Solanum nigrum 3 tabernaemontani 2 Sonchus arvensis 1 Sium latifolium 2 Sonchus asper 2 r, s Solanum dulcamara 2 r, s Sonchus oleraceus 1 Sparganium erectum 1 Stellaria media 4 Stachys palustris 2 Urtica urens 1 Typha sp. 1 Urtica dioica 4 Crop plants Lemna sp. 1 Cerealia indet. (cf. Triticum sp.) 2c Ecologically indeterminate Carr and marsh vegetation Apiaceae 1 Alnus glutinosa 2 Galeopsis bifida/speciosa/tetrahit 1 Alnus glutinosa, cones 2 Poaceae, stem fragments 1c Rubus fruticosus 1 Ranunculus acris/repens 4 Alisma sp. 1 Senecio sp. 2 Carex appropinquata/paniculata 1 Veronica beccabunga-type 1 Carex hirta/riparia 1 Cenococcum geophilum, sclerotia 1 Carex rostrata 1 Carex rostrata/vesicaria 1 Contamination Carex cf. vesicaria, perigynium 1 Chenopodium ficifolium 3 r Cicuta virosa 1 Cirsium arvense/vulgare 1 r Eupatorium cannabinum 2 Lactua serriola 2 r Iris pseudacorus 1 Descurainia sophia 2 Lycopus europaeus 2 Erysimum cheiranthoides 1 Lythrum salicaria 2 1 = present in one of five samples cont. = contamination 2 = present in two of five samples, etc. r = recent c = carbonised s = subfossil Table 4.12 Urk-E4, mostly waterlogged macroremains, frequency in five samples (Vernimmen 2001). 197

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