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Absolute Dating (14C and OSL) of the Formation of Coversand Ridges Occupied by Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherers in NW Belgium

Philippe Crombé, Mark Van Strydonck, Mathieu Boudin, Tess Van den Brande, Cilia Derese, Dimitri A G Vandenberghe, Peter Van den Haute, Mona Court-Picon, Jacques Verniers, Vanessa Gelorini, Johanna A A Bos, Frederike Verbruggen, Marc Antrop, Machteld Bats, Jean Bourgeois, Jeroen De Reu, Philippe De Maeyer, Philippe De Smedt, Peter A Finke, Marc Van Meirvenne, Ann Zwertvaegher


Based on radiocarbon and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) results obtained in the last 5 yr, this paper discusses the absolute chronology of the formation of one of the largest sand dunes within NW Belgium, the Great Ridge of Maldegem-Stekene. Multiproxy analysis of 6 sedimentary sequences points to a complex formation history covering the entire Late Glacial. Dry phases, characterized by eolian deflation and sedimentation, alternated with wet phases in which numerous mostly shallow dune slacks were filled with freshwater. The latter reached their highest water level during the first half of the Allerød, attracting both animals (e.g. European elk) and humans (Federmesser hunter-gatherers). Near the end of the Allerød, all dune slacks finally disappeared as they were filled in with windblown sand (“coversand”), likely forcing prehistoric hunter-gatherers to leave the area.

DOI: 10.2458/azu_js_rc.v54i3–4.16126

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