Selective woodland exploitation for charcoal production. A detailed analysis of charcoal kiln remains (ca. 1300e1900 AD) from Zoersel (northern Belgium)

K Deforce, Ilse Boeren, S Adriaenssens, J Bastiaens, Luc De Keersmaeker, K Haneca, D Tys, Kris Vandekerkhove

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    Abstract

    A detailed study of charcoal burning activities has been made for the Zoersel forest (Northern Belgium)based on an inventory of charcoal kiln remains, the analyses of wood charcoal and other charredbotanical macroremains and radiocarbon dating of 10 of these kilns. Age determination of the youngestkilns was re ? ned by dendrochronological analysis of trees growing on top of these kiln sites. The resultsshow that, although many kilns were found, charcoal was produced in Zoersel only at certain momentsduring late and post-medieval times suggesting that charcoal burning was not a part of the regularmanagement practice of these forests. The wood used for the production of charcoal mainly consists of taxa of alluvial (alder) forests while the kilns are situated on sites that currently are rather dry, with anoak dominated vegetation. For the older kilns, this contrast could be explained byan important change inlocal soil conditions. The younger kilns may be related to the conversion of alder woodland to grasslandin the lower parts of the domain, with the kilns being constructed in the nearby dryer woodland areas
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
    Volume40
    Pages (from-to)681-689
    Number of pages9
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

    Thematic list

    • Forest management

    EWI Biomedical sciences

    • B430-sylviculture

    Technological

    • identification
    • image processing

    Free keywords

    • palaeo-ecology

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