Following the river: Reconstructing the environmental and geomorphological processes forming the Gartempe river valley during the late Glacial and Holocene

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Following the river: Reconstructing the environmental and geomorphological processes forming the Gartempe river valley during the late Glacial and Holocene

Type: Bachelor thesis
Title: Following the river: Reconstructing the environmental and geomorphological processes forming the Gartempe river valley during the late Glacial and Holocene
Author: Boef, Lars den
Issue Date: 2017-08-15
Keywords: Archaeology
Botany
Palynology
France
Late Glacial
Holocene
Abstract: Les Cottés is Palaeolithic cave site located in the Vienne region in South-Western France. It is located near the Gartempe river. Nowadays it is a small river but in the past it influenced the environment in the valley. There is evidence that correlates the river to the site in the form of pebbles and flint but virtually nothing is known about the landscape shaped by the river during occupation of the cave. This thesis is an initial research and tries to comprehend the difficult fluvial landscape here. By mapping the fluvial history research questions can be answered regarding the influence of the environment in the Gartempe valley on human behaviour. With an augering transect eight different units were distinguished of fluvial depositions and erosion and showed the existence of two palaeochannels buried beneath the surface. The oldest channel had an infilling of peat and was studied in the form of a palynological research. The general picture, which consisted of Pinus and Betula, dated the infilling to the Allerød or Preboreal period. This was done by comparing it to several other sites in France which include the same environment. The local environment in this period shows that the channel got cut off and was not active anymore in this phase. There was still open water present but the accumulation of peat was in progress. The valley would have been characterised by wetland conditions. Two phases identified in this thesis could be of interest for the research at Les Cottés. One interpretation is that the terrace in front of the site is older than the research at Les Cottés and this means that the Pleistocene surface would be buried beneath current floodplain deposits. This terrace in front of the site could have been used as an overview point. The other interpretation is that the terrace was shaped after the occupation at Les Cottes. This would mean that the relative height difference between the cave and the site was very small. Both interpretations would have an impact on the archaeology. This shows that the Gartempe influences could have been bigger in the past.
Supervisor: Field, M.H.
Faculty: Faculty of Archaeology
Department: Archeologie (Bachelor)
Specialisation: Botany
ECTS Credits: 9
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/52661
 

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