, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 25-39,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 19 Jun 2007

Neolithisation at the site Brandwijk-Kerkhof, the Netherlands: natural vegetation, human impact and plant food subsistence


Brandwijk-Kerkhof (ca. 4600 to 3630 cal b.c.) is a Neolithic site, located on a river dune in the Dutch Rhine/Maas river area. The natural vegetation and human impact upon it have been investigated by analysis of pollen and macroremains from four cores that are located at increasing distances up to 20 m from the site. The relationship between the strength of human impact on the vegetation and the distance of the cores from the river dune has been investigated as well. The results show that the natural vegetation on top of the river dune consisted of deciduous woodland, while in the surrounding wetlands alder carr and eutrophic marsh vegetation dominated. Human impact of limited strength resulted in more open and disturbed vegetation. There is no correlation between the strength of the evidence of human impact in the pollen diagrams and the distance of the cores from the river dune. The evidence for presence of crop plants from the cores is compared with evidence from the excavation. The first presence of crop plants from ca. 4200 b.c. onwards corresponds with data from other Dutch wetland sites. Large-scale local crop cultivation cannot however be demonstrated.