Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Deconstructing stability. Modelling changing environmental conditions and man-land relations in the Pleistocene landscape of Twente (2850 - 12 BC).

The project Deconstructing Stability aims to improve reconstructions of late prehistoric landscapes and predictive models for the purpose of archaeological heritage management.

Contact
Funding
NWO NWO
Partners

Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (Amersfoort)

Wageningen University: Soil Geography and Landscape group

Research questions

  • Which changes in habitation development and landscape organisation occurred in late prehistoric Twente?

  • Which landscape processes took place during this time span and how do they relate to human activity?

  • Is it possible to develop reliable computer-aided simulations of landscape developments and what are the prospects of this approach in archaeological heritage management?

Project description

Attempts to holistically reconstruct cultural patterns on a landscape scale are scarce. This applies even stronger to the analysis of landscape organisation from a long-term perspective. Also, the quality of such attempts is limited by an underestimation of the changeability of the environmental setting in which cultural processes materialised. The project Deconstructing Stability aims to produce concepts and tools to improve reconstructions of late prehistoric landscapes and, based on new insights concerning human-land relations, predictive models for the purpose of archaeological heritage management. Pilot area is the Dutch Twente region, situated in the eastern part of the Province of Overijssel.

One of the key innovative elements of the research is the application of a landscape evolution model for archaeological purposes. This technique will be used to simulate landscape dynamic processes and analyse the results in relation to habitation patterns. Landscape evolution models may also have a high potential to improve archaeological predictive modelling. Predictive maps are generally based on static images of modern-day physical geographical conditions, instead of taking landscape change into account. It will be tested whether these deficits can be taken away by developing computer-aided simulations of landscape development, and combining these with knowledge on prehistoric land use dynamics.

First results of this project can be found at: Vegetatiereconstructie

 

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