, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 49-64

Neolithic wooden trackways and bog hydrology

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Five wooden trackways in raised bogs located along a precipitation gradient in Northwest Europe (Ireland, England, The Netherlands and Germany), and all dated toc. 2600 cal.BC, show differences in building method related to variable hydrological conditions in the local bog surfaces. Differences in the bearing strength of the highly humified hummock-hollow surfaces can be largely attributed to differences in the climatically related water content of the peat. Water balance studies, based on current climatic data and using the concept of system-linked discharge, can explain the hydrological differences between the ombrotrophic bogs established by archaeological excavations of the wooden trackways. Active peat growth at the time of construction and building methods used indicate mean annual precipitation values similar to present reflecting the modern rainfall gradient.