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Reconstructing past terrace fields in the Pyrenees: Insights into land management and settlement from the Bronze Age to the Early Modern era at Vilalta (1650 masl, Cerdagne, France)

AuthorsRendu, C.; Passarrius, O.; Calastrenc, C.; Julià Brugués, Ramón ; Llubes, M.; Illes, P.; Campmajo, P.; Jodry, C.; Crabol, D.; Bille, E.; Conesa, M.; Bousquet, D.; Lallemand, V.
offsite dating
landscape archaeology
Issue Date2015
PublisherW.S. Maney & Son
CitationJournal of Field Archaeology 40: 461- 480 (2015)
Abstract© Trustees of Boston University 2015. The building of a solar power station at Thémis, at 1650 masl on the south-facing slope of the Carlit massif in the eastern Pyrenees, led to an archaeological evaluation from April-June 2009. This evaluation covered a surface of 10 ha that included a medieval village as well as the surrounding agricultural land in terraces. Non-destructive archaeological methods were used for the village. A detailed study of the 6 ha of terraces began with a fieldwalking survey, mapping every visible feature, followed by systematic trial trenches. Fifty-five trenches, 11 in the village and 44 in the fields, were opened. The stratigraphies were then compared with a series of 22 radiocarbon dates and eight relative dates provided by ceramic typologies. This combination of surface and buried evidence supported our preliminary hypothesis about the dynamics of the slope. The results suggest the existence of agrarian features beginning in the Bronze Age and reveal that the field patterns were frequently transformed, both in the Medieval and Early Modern periods. The transformations in the terrace fields after the village was abandoned are as interesting as those during occupation because, contrary to the idea of a fixed, unchanging landscape after the end of the Middle Ages, they challenge the idea that mountain zones are marginal spaces by nature, or were marginalized later.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1179/2042458215Y.0000000002
Identifiersdoi: 10.1179/2042458215Y.0000000002
issn: 2042-4582
Appears in Collections:(ICTJA) Artículos
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