Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Agriculture on Loess Soils West of the Rhine

Archaeobotanic research by prof. dr. C. Bakels and students on agriculture.

Corrie Bakels

Loess soils provide an excellent substrate for crop raising societies. They attracted the first farming communities of Western Europe, bearers of the so-called Linearbandkeramik culture. Since this start in the early Neolithic, agricultural developments in the loess regions have run their own course, set within the framework of general developments in Europe, but with their own characteristics.

The aim of the program is a longue durée study of the agriculture, with a strong emphasis on crop raising, on loess soils west of the Rhine. The period encompasses the entire period of direct agricultural consumption, which ends in de eleventh century AD.

The study is dependent on the fieldwork of digging archaeologists and, therefore, on their agenda. New data can be only obtained by an alert use of a network of cooperating colleagues in the field. Such cooperation is provided by the ROB, archaeological services of towns (both The Netherlands), the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt (Germany), the Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix at Namur (Belgium), the CNRS-ERA 12 at Paris, the Université de Paris I and VIII and the Directions Régionales des Affaires Culturelles of Lorraine, Picardie, Ile-de-France and Calvados (all France).

Ph.D Dissertations

The Ph.D dissertations produced within the project in the last six years, are:

A.E. de Hingh 2000. Food production and food procurement in the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (2000-500 BC), ASLU 7.

V. Matterne 2001. Agriculture et alimentation végétale durant l'âge du Fer et l'époque gallo-romaine en France septentrionale. Editions Monique Mergoil, Montagnac.

F. Braadbaart 2003. Carbonizatiom of peas and wheat - a window into the past, a laboratory study. Heemstede.

T.Oudemans 2006.


The key publications produced within the project, are:

Bakels C.C. & S. Jacomet 2003. Access to Luxury Foods in Central Europe during the Roman Period: the archaeobotanical evidence, World Archaeology 34: 542-557

Bakels C.C. in press. Nature or Culture? Cereal crops raised by Neolithic farmers on Dutch loess soils In: S. Colledge / J. Connolly (eds.) Early Agriculture

Bakels, C.C. forthcoming. Crops produced in the southern parts of the Netherlands and northern France during the medieval period of direct agricultural consumption. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

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