MesoMag: a geophysical perspective on Mesolithic land use in complex environments.

01 October 2023 → 30 September 2027
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • Landscape archaeology
    • Prehistoric archaeology
    • Methods in archaeology
  • Natural sciences
    • Geoarchaeology
    • Magnetism and palaeomagnetism
    • Geophysics not elsewhere classified
applied geophysics landscape archaeology prehistory mesolithic environmental magnetism geoarchaeology Archaeology
Project description

MesoMag aims to expand understanding of the Mesolithic beyond commonly researched wetlands. By combining environmental magnetism, archaeological prospection, and environmental archaeology, the project will develop novel survey approaches to study hunter-gatherer land use and impact in challenging dryland and mountainous upland settings. Focus will be on detecting fireplaces and fire events, which persistently influence magnetic soil properties. After characterizing the magnetic signal of Mesolithic activities at two references sites in Britain, we will prospect for hunter-gatherer traces across the wider landscape. Combining survey outcomes with magnetic proxy and charcoal analysis, MesoMag will estimate the Mesolithic presence, as well as the impact, intensity, and chronology of fires. Alongside fundamental and methodological research outcomes, it will be evaluated how such data can support modelling spatiotemporal land-use changes during the Mesolithic in future research programmes.