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Chronology of Wetland Hydrological Dynamics and the Mesolithic-Neolithic Transition along the Lower Scheldt: A Bayesian Approach

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 February 2016

Jeroen Verhegge
Dept. of Archaeology, Ghent University, Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 35, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium
Tine Missiaen
Renard Centre for Marine Geology, Dept. of Geology & Soil Science, Ghent University, Krijgslaan 281 S8, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium
Mark van Strydonck
14C laboratory, Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage, Jubelpark 1, B-1000 Brussels, Belgium
Philippe Crombé
Dept. of Archaeology, Ghent University, Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 35, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium
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The Mesolithic-Neolithic transition in the wetland margins of the southern North Sea basin occurred well over a millennium after the transition in neighboring loess regions. This article investigates the possible role of hydrological dynamics in the presence of the last hunter-gatherer-fishermen in these wetland regions. A Bayesian modeling approach is used to integrate stratigraphic information and radiocarbon dates both from accurately datable archaeological remains and key horizons in peat sequences in the Scheldt floodplain of northwestern Belgium. This study tests whether the Swifterbant occupation of the study area was contemporaneous with hiatuses in peat growth caused by organic clastic sedimentation due to increased tidal influences and local groundwater rise. The results suggest that the appearance of this culture followed shortly after the emergence of a brackish tidal mudflat landscape replacing a freshwater marsh.

Statistics and Modeling
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