Farm establishment, abandonment and agricultural practices during the last 1,300 years: a case study from southern Sweden based on pollen records and the LOVE model

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The aim of the study was to identify changes in agricultural practices and periods of agricultural expansion and regression during the last 1,300 years in the South-Swedish Uplands. Sediments from the small lake of Skärpingsgölen (1.2 ha) were used to quantify land-cover at a local scale (c. 1 km radius) in 50-year intervals based on pollen analysis and the LOVE model (Local Vegetation Estimates). The results showed a dramatic change in land-cover, starting c. ad 1150, from a grazed, deciduous woodland, dominated by Corylus, Betula and Quercus, to a semi-open landscape dominated by Picea and open agricultural land. A hamlet, situated next to the lake, was probably established during the 12th century, abandoned during the late medieval crisis (late 14th century) and re-colonized during the 16th century. High values of Cannabis-type pollen (up to 10% of the pollen sum) suggest that hemp retting was carried out in the lake from the 13th to the 17th centuries, while elevated levels of microscopic charcoal indicate that slash-and-burn cultivation was practiced during the early 14th and the 16th–18th centuries. The LRA-based estimates of vegetation show that the modern landscape, dominated by managed coniferous woodlands, is very different from the landscape only 50–100 years ago. This type of study is useful for comparisons with historical and archaeological records, and provides sufficient temporal and spatial resolution to identify short-lived abandonments and shifts in agricultural practices.


  • Erik Daniel Fredh
  • Per Lagerås
  • Florence Mazier
  • Leif Björkman
  • Matts Lindbladh
  • Anna Broström
Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • Arkeologern
  • Viscum Pollenanalys & Miljöhistoria
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • University of Stavanger
  • University of Toulouse-Jean Jaurès

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Arkeologi


Sidor (från-till)529-544
TidskriftVegetation History and Archaeobotany
Tidigt onlinedatum2019 feb 9
StatusPublished - 2019
Peer review utfördJa