Lynchet-type terraces, loess, and agricultural resilience on chalk landscapes in the UK and Belgium

Pears, Ben; Lang, Andreas; Fallu, Dan; Roberts, Mark; Jacques, David; Snape, Lisa; Bahl, Chiara; Van Oost, Kristof; Zhao, Pengzhi ORCID:; Tarolli, Paolo; Cucchiaro, Sara; Walsh, Kevin; Brown, Antony. 2024 Lynchet-type terraces, loess, and agricultural resilience on chalk landscapes in the UK and Belgium. European Journal of Archaeology. 1-24.

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Lynchets, often the defining component of historic agricultural landscapes in northern Europe, are generally associated with soft-limestone geologies and are particularly well developed on loess-mantled landscapes. To understand their formation and chronology, the authors present their geoarchaeological analyses of lynchet soils and loess deposits at Blick Mead and Charlton Forest in southern England, and Sint Martens-Voeren in Belgium. The lynchets date from the late prehistoric to the medieval periods and were constructed by plough action at the English sites, and by both cut-and-fill and ploughing in Belgium. This has resulted in the preservation of highly fertile loessic soils across chalk slopes, lost elsewhere. Although each example is associated with local/regional agricultural histories, the lynchets’ effective soil-retention capacities allowed them to survive as important heritage features with environmental benefits over millennia.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Soils and Land Use (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 1461-9571
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: agricultural lynchets, historical land use, slope-sediment transfer, loess, luminescence dating
NORA Subject Terms: Agriculture and Soil Science
Date made live: 07 May 2024 10:44 +0 (UTC)

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