Absolute dating of aeolian sediments in relationship to the development of the city of ghent: first results
Faculty of Design Sciences
MEDITERRANEAN ARCHAEOLOGY & ARCHAEOMETRY
, p. 25-35
University of Antwerp
Today's physical landscape in the Ghent city area (E Flanders, Belgium) is the result of human activity. Previous studies that aimed at understanding the city in its former environmental context focused on reconstructing the hydrographical network. The role of Late Quaternary aeolian processes and landforms has not been considered. Incited by a reappraisal of the evidence in historical records, our study aims at contributing to an improved understanding of the significance of this windblown (micro) relief. In this paper, we report on results from optical dating of two aeolian sequences (near the "Emile Braunplein" and the "Hoogpoort") in the historical city centre. Optical dates of similar to 11 ka - similar to 15 ka indicate deposition during the Late Glacial, and allow refining the Quaternary geological map of the area. Anthropogenic activity on this sediment is supported by a cart mark observed in the upper part of the sediments and post-sedimentary reworking of the top of the "Hoogpoort" sequence. This confirms that Pleistocene aeolian formed elevations were present and at least as relevant to Ghent city's settlement history as a local Tertiary outlier (the "Blandijnberg") and the regional riverine environment.