Anthropogenic Heathlands in Prehistoric Atlantic Europe: Review and future prospects

Havananda Ombashi*, Mette Løvschal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Heathlands are unique cultural landscapes that once existed across vast stretches of northern Europe. Their deep-time persistence has formed an intrinsic part of economic and cultural practices. Such a complex interaction requires interdisciplinary approaches, including archaeology, across multiple regions to fully grasp all its aspects. The authors of this article review how research has been conducted in prehistoric heathlands across six nations in north-western Europe and outline the heaths' general characteristics. They discuss the major issues in that research, namely recurring narratives derived from history, an overall absence of consideration of the cultural aspects of heathlands, and a paucity of cross-regional initiatives. They suggest a series of theoretical and methodological approaches to improve this situation across expanded geographical and temporal scales.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Archaeology
Pages (from-to)341-358
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2023


  • Calluna vulgaris
  • agriculture
  • anthropogenic heathlands
  • archaeology
  • palynology
  • pastoralism


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