Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 367–382 | Cite as

The potential of micromorphology for interpreting sedimentation processes in wetland sites: a case study of a Late Bronze–early Iron Age lakeshore settlement at Lake Luokesa (Lithuania)

  • Kristin Ismail-Meyer
Original Article


Lake Luokesa lies in the eastern part of Lithuania and is part of a region of lakes formed by the Scandinavian ice-sheet and its melt waters during the last glaciation. During the Late Bronze–Early Iron Age transition, between 625 and 535 cal BC, a lakeside settlement with an onshore palisade was built on the platform of a carbonate bank. A total of five profiles, each comprising an organic occupation layer and lake sediments at its bottom and top, were examined micromorphologically. In this paper, natural and anthropogenic processes that led to the formation of the individual layers are presented; their possible origins are reconstructed and then discussed and compared to lakeside settlements of the circum-alpine region. This includes the emergence of lake marl, accumulation of organic layers in the settlement area as well as their decomposition, erosion and trampling features and inwash of sand through runoff from the hinterland. Due to the accumulation of the up to 60 cm thick culture layers in waterlogged environments, indications of seasonal deposition cycles could be identified.


Site formation processes Seasonality Human impact Trampling Erosion Geoarchaeology 



Many thanks to Elena Pranckėnaitė and Vykintas Motuza for the numerous ideas, information and geological maps. Philippe Rentzel, Richard Macphailand and Matthew Canti also contributed with their knowledge. For the reviewing and support I want to thank Stefanie Jacomet, Urs Leuzinger, Małgorzata Latałowa and anonymous reviewers. Thanks also to Marlu Kühn, Petra Zibulski and Örni Akeret (IPAS), who helped in determining organic residues during the last 10 years. This evaluation is part of the project ‘Understanding wetland occupation in late Prehistoric Europe’ and has been facilitated and financed by the Swiss National Foundation (Project Number K13K1-117893).

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental SciencesIntegrative Prehistory and Archaeological Science (IPAS), University of BaselBaselSwitzerland

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