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)

Abstract : 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.
Document type :
Journal articles
Complete list of metadatas

https://hal-univ-tlse2.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01952137
Contributor : Delphine Bousquet <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, December 11, 2018 - 8:30:59 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 29, 2019 - 1:04:42 AM

Links full text

Identifiers

Citation

Christine Rendu, Olivier Passarrius, Carine Calastrenc, Ramon Julia, Muriel Llubes, et al.. 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). Journal of Field Archaeology, Maney Publishing, 2015, 40 (4), pp.461-480. ⟨10.1179/2042458215Y.0000000002⟩. ⟨hal-01952137⟩

Share

Metrics

Record views

268