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Lecture | Geoarch@Leiden

Fire under the lens: Micromorphology of Mesolithic hearth pits

Monday 7 October 2019
Van Steenis
Einsteinweg 2
2333 CC Leiden

Hearth pits, bowl-shaped features with a dark (charred) bottom fill that date to the Mesolithic, are present in large clusters on the cover sand areas of the Netherlands. While hundreds of features have been identified and analyzed, a definitive interpretation of their use and function is not available at present. Using soil micromorphology as a basis for a new comparative approach, ten features from three sites were examined with the aim of contributing to our understanding of hearth pit use.

The study indicates the plausibility of multiple use-hypotheses, including tar production and food preparation, but it is not yet possible to differentiate between these activities on the basis of micromorphological observations. In the conclusion of this presentation, a few suggestions will therefore be made for future research.

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