Dynamics of Celtic fields-A geoarchaeological investigation of Øster Lem Hede, Western Jutland, Denmark

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Celtic fields are the most widespread type of prehistoric field systems in northwestern Europe. Many questions remain regarding their formation and use, but these may potentially be answered through geoarchaeological investigations. The aim of this study is to contribute to the understanding of the formation of the field systems, the formation of the banks and lynchets demarcating the fields, and the prehistoric land use through geoarchaeological investigations of Øster Lem Hede, one of the best preserved Celtic fields in Denmark. Four trenches dug through selected field boundaries were sampled for geochemical, particle size, thin section, and pollen analyses, as well as radiocarbon and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating. OSL dates show that the investigated banks were formed in the late Bronze Age/early Iron Age (oldest dates: c. 600 ± 140 B.C.), but cultivation predating the field system is also indicated. Particle size and multielement analyses indicate that the banks formed through accumulation of soil from the fields. Dynamic alterations of the layout and field boundaries in the form of added banks and temporarily discontinued boundaries were identified. Geochemistry, pollen, and microscopic inclusions in the soil indicate that the fields were amended with household waste, animal manure, and material from wetlands and heathland. Several different crops were grown including barley, flax, and spurry but also rye appears to have been present in the 2.500-year-old fields.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftGeoarchaeology
Vol/bind32
Nummer3
Sider (fra-til) 414–434
ISSN0883-6353
DOI
StatusUdgivet - maj 2017

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